We've cooked up a great kitchen project. Hot pads are small, simple shapes that cry out for mixing and matching. We stretched our possibilities by making a long, two-handed version. Kind of like those "idiot mittens" you used to have as a kid, one mitten on each end of a string running through the arms of your coat. However, we didn't think "idiot hot pads" sounded very good. I don't know about you, but I always set down my potholders on opposite sides of the kitchen so when I need both to pull something out of the oven or off the stove, I never seem to have two within reach. Problem solved, and a very pretty solution to boot!
We suggest you use a thermal batting, such as Insul-Bright to insure you can handle hot pots and pans without yelping. We used just one layer for the two fabric and batting "sandwiches" that make up the pocket at either end, but you could opt for double layers – just remember that you might need to adjust the seam allowance and grade the finished seam to insure a smooth curve.
We used a collection of scraps from our Sew4Home stash, originally from the Pretty Bird collection by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics. Since the variety in quilting cottons is always growing and changing, we chose a few new combinations from Fat Quarter Shop that feature a larger motif that will give you the same bold and beautiful statement on the outer "mitts."
If you are new to fussy cutting to isolate the designs in your fabric, take a look at our full tutorial.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¼ yard cuts or scraps (you need two pieces for each body, both 8" x 31", FOUR 8" x 8" squares for the mitts, TWO 3" x 8" strips for the mitt borders, and one 4" x 4" square for the hanger)
- ½ yard or scraps of thermal batting (one piece 8" x 31" and two pieces approximately 8" x 8"): we used Insul-Bright
NOTE: As mentioned above, you can certainly add more than one layer of thermal protection – just remember that you might need to adjust the seam allowance and grade the finished seam to insure a smooth curve.
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabric
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Tracing or pattern paper
- Download and print the Rounded Corner Template.
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on the page to insure your printout is to scale.
- Cut out the piece along the solid line. Set aside.
- From the tracing or pattern paper, cut an 8" x 8" square. Set aside.
- From the fabric(s) for the body of the hot pad (Orange Twirling Tendrils-front and Spice Meandering Vines-back in our sample), cut ONE 8" x 31" rectangle for the front and ONE 8" x 31" rectangle for the back.
- Using your 8" x 8" template, from the fabric for the mitts (Brown Dancing Flowers in our sample), fussy cut FOUR 8" x 8" squares.
NOTE: The fussy-cutting is most important for the pieces that will become the front of your mitts. Choose and center a large design; we picked a large flower with bits of eye-catching blue on its petals.
- From the accent fabric (Garden Stripe in our sample), cut:
ONE 4"x 4" square for the hanger.
TWO 3" x 8" strips for the mitt borders.
NOTE: If you use a directional print as we did, think about which way you want your print to appear. For example, we wanted our stripes running horizontally.
- From the thermal batting, cut ONE 8" x 31" rectangle for the body. We'll cut the batting for the mitts later.
- Layer your three body pieces flat on your work surface in the following order: thermal batting, back panel RIGHT side up, front panel WRONG side up. The fabric layers are right sides together.
- Pin the Rounded Corner Template in place on one end. Align the side edges and bring the curve very close to the raw edges. Pin and carefully cut.
- Repeat to round the opposite end.
NOTE: We cut through all layers at once to insure our pieces would match up perfectly for sewing. However, for the mitt pieces below, we recommend cutting these one at a time to insure your designs are centered and to lessen the chance you'll cut one backwards.
- Place the two 8" x 8" squares that will become the front of your mitts side by side. Adjust the two pieces until they are mirror images of one another.
- Place the Rounded Corner Template on the outside right edge of one square, aligning as you did above for the main section. Pin and cut.
- Without moving the pieces, place the Rounded Corner Template on the outside left edge of the opposite square, aligning as above. Pin and cut.
- It's important to keep track of your lefts and rights so the mitts are correctly cut to fit on each end of the hot pad.
- Repeat steps 11-14 to cut the mitt lining pieces (on the right in the photo below).
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Assemble the mitts
- Pin a 3" x 8" strip right sides together with the inside straight edge of each front mitt front piece. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open and flat.
- Match up the opposite 8" side of each strip with the inside straight edge of each mitt lining piece. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open.
- You now have two flat mitt pieces. Fold each one in half, matching all raw edges and creating a clean-finished fold along the border edge.
- Use one folded piece as a template to cut TWO pieces of thermal batting. Remember, we promised you'd do this.
- Un-pin the layers and sandwich a batting piece between the exterior and lining layers of each mitt, making sure all the layers are smooth and flat. Using a ¼" seam allowance, machine baste around the raw edges. Do not stitch along the folded border edge.
Assemble the front layers
- Place the batting down first on your work surface, place the front body piece on top, right side up. Place a finished mitt on each end. Keep the raw edges of all the layers flush. Pin the layers together and the mitts in place.
Create the hanger
- Find your 4" x 4" fabric square. Fold it in half diagonally. Stitch ½" from the folded edge. This creates a tiny bias strip, which will make it easier for the final strip to fold smoothly into a loop.
- Trim the remaining fabric to ¼" from the seam. Turn right side out and roll the seam to the center back. Press well.
NOTE: We used hemostats to turn this tiny tube with ease. For more on this technique, see our full tutorial on Turning and Pressing Skinny Straps & Ties.
- Fold the hanger loop in half and pin it in place at the center top of the hot pad body. To find the center, simply fold the hot pad body in half and mark the top center with a pin.
- The hanging loop should be right sides together with the hot pad body, in other words, the seam of the loop should be facing up. Adjust the loop so the pointy raw edges extend beyond the raw edge of the body. You'll trim them off later.
- Layer the hot pad back piece right sides together with the assembled front.
- Pin all around through all the layers, removing and then replacing the pins that were holding the front layers and mitts together. Leave an approximate 6" opening along the edge opposite the hanger. Just to make sure you're paying attention, in the picture below that opening is shown at the top of the photo.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter of the hot pad. Go slowly around the curved ends, stopping as needed, with your needle in the down position, to slightly adjust your presser foot position if needed. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 6" opening.
- Grade the seam allowance and clip the curves. Do not trim back the seam allowance along the opening.
- Turn right side out through the opening. Use your finger or a long blunt tool, like a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner, to help smooth out the curved ends.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin in place and slip stitch closed.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson