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Patchwork Trivets with Circular Quilting

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I remember having a drawer full of trivets growing up. There were elaborate crocheted ones my grandmother had made as well as tacky souvenir versions from one or more family vacations. I inherited a few, but when I decided I wanted more, I discovered they must have fallen out of favor as a kitchen accessory because they were rather hard to find. Perhaps the hot pad is supposed to be a stand in, but their square shape and smaller size just isn't as functional. A generous round trivet is by far the winner when it comes to providing an easy, effective way to protect your table's finish from hot serving dishes or from cold dishes that can "sweat." This project is our personal mission to revive the terrific trivet! Ours is a pretty patchwork pattern with pie-shaped wedges in a full circle. We provide free downloadable patterns for the front wedges and the back circle.

One trivet takes just a few pieces from your scrap stash, and gives you a chance to do some pretty circular quilting. We used the Janome Circular Sewing Attachment, a great way to make perfect concentric circles.

We also show you how to combine monofilament thread in the top with regular sewing thread in the bobbin to achieve a "hand look" to your quilting stitches. The clear monofilament creates the look of wider spacing to the stitching. This is an optional technique; you can certainly use regular thread in both the top and the bobbin and simply lengthen your stitch. 

If you don't have this cool Circular Sewing Attachment (although it is one of our faves to consider!), you can also use a Walking Foot and Quilt Guide Bar to achieve the same effect. As shown below, we made a second set of circular trivets in a new colorway, using this alternate technique. The project was part of our popular Re-imagine & Renovate series, and includes step-by-step photos for the alternate technique. Link to it here.

Each trivet features six different fabrics; it's a great exercise in blending prints and colorways. Finish with a rick rack border and a handy hanging loop. We dipped into our S4H stash to pull cuts for the pink and blue trivets from the Vintage Modern collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics. The autumn themed trivet used leftover layer cake squares from the Curio collection by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics. Both are older collections that are no longer readily available, but we're sure you have lots of great options already sitting on your stash shelf. 

You'll use a number of quilting techniques during the steps of this project. If you are new to quilting, check out our five-part Quilting Basics series for all the tips you need to get started with success.

Our trivets finish at approximately 10" in diameter, excluding the rick rack.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Quantities shown are for ONE trivet, which finishes at approximately 10" in diameter, excluding the rick rack.

  • FIVE coordinating Fat Quarters (18" x 22) or Fat Eights (9" x 21") or Layer Cake Squares (10" x 10") or approximate 7" x 7" scraps for 10 of the top wedges
  • ONE coordinating Fat Quarter (18" x 22) or an approximate 13" x 16" scrap for two of the top wedges plus the trivet back
  • ½ yard of 44" wide low loft batting or two 12" x 12" scraps
  • 1 yard of medium rick rack
  • ¼ yard of ½" wide cotton twill tape or similar for the hanging loop
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Clear monofilament thread; optional for "hand-look" topstitching/quilting technique explained below
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Tape measure
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Trivet Back and Trivet Wedge patterns.
    IMPORTANT: Both pattern will print on ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page to insure your printout is to size. 
  2. Cut out the two pattern pieces along the solid lines.
  3. Using the pattern as your guide, plan a fussy cut for each wedge so it has a nicely centered design.
  4. Cut out TWO wedge shapes from each of the SIX fabrics for a total of 12 wedges. 

    NOTE: Be sure to watch the grain direction of your fabric. Your pieces will have some stretch to them, so handle each one with care to retain its shape. And, don't cut more than two layers at one time to insure the edges are a consistent size.
  5. From the remaining sixth fabric, which is for both wedges and backing, use the pattern to cut one circle on the fold.
  6. From the batting, cut TWO 12" x 12" squares.
  7. Lay out the wedges in a circle to form the trivet top. Follow our pattern as shown in the drawing above or create your own. Each pair of fabrics should be opposite one another around the circle. Alternate colors and size of motif to create a look that's pleasing to you. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the trivet top

  1. Separate your wedges into six sets of two, placing each pair right sides together.
  2. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch one pair together along one long side. You can stitch the pairs one at a time or chair piece them and cut them apart as we did. 
    NOTE: We're using our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot, which makes all the ¼" seams quick and consistent. This is particularly important when working with triangles in order to insure all your center points will come together perfectly.

    NOTE: If you are new to piecing, check out Quilting Basics Series. All the sections are excellent for quilting beginners; Part 4B covers chain piecing.
  3. Press open the seam allowance.
  4. Because you are sewing wedges, you will have points, like little "ears," at the end of each seam. Trim away these "dog ears" from the point.
  5. Repeat with the remaining five pairs.
  6. Break the finished pairs into two sets of three: one set for the top of the circle, one set for the bottom of the circle. Make sure your pairs are still in the proper order you decided upon above.
  7. Place the first two pairs right sides together. Pin along the inner raw edges.
  8. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the pairs together along this one side. 
  9. Press open the seam allowance and trim the dog ears. 
  10. Select the final pair in the top half sequence. Place it right sides together with the sewn set. Pin along the remaining inner raw edges, carefully matching the seams at the point. 
  11. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the wedge shapes together to create the top half circle. Press open the seam allowance.
  12. All the points should come together ¼" up from the straight edge of the half circle.
  13. Repeat to create the bottom half circle.
  14. Pin the two halves together along the center line.
  15. Sew together, using a ¼" seam allowance to complete the full circle shape. Again, be super careful to match the intersections of the seams.
  16. On the back, you can use your seam ripper to remove just a couple stitches on both sides of the seam at the very center. This will allow you to swirl the seam so you can press everything nice and flat. This is a quilting technique called pinwheeling. 

Batting and rick rack

  1. Find the back circle and the two squares of batting.
  2. Place the back circle on top on one square of batting and trim the batting to match the back circle.
  3. Machine baste the two layers together, staying within the ¼" seam allowance with your basting seam.
  4. Place the patchworked top on the other square of batting and trim the batting to match the top circle.
  5. Find the length of rick rack.
  6. Pin the rick rack around the entire outside perimeter on the right side of the trivet top. The center line of the rick rack should be ¼" in from the raw edge of the circle. Pin the rick rack in place. Overlap the ends on a seam line and trim away any excess rick rack. 
  7. Machine baste the rick rack in place, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  8. Find the length of twill tape. Trim it down to approximately 6". Fold it in half, matching the raw ends. 
  9. Center the tape within one of the wedges. The raw ends of the tape should be flush with the raw edge of the circle. Hand or machine baste in place. 

Sew front and back together

  1. Layer the front and back right sides together. The rick rack and the twill tape loop will be sandwiched between the layers. Pin in place.
  2. Stitch with the trivet top facing up so you can follow along in the existing ¼ " rick rack basting seam. Stitch all around the trivet, leaving an approximate 3" opening for turning. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the 3" opening.
  3. Clip the curves. Turn the trivet right side out through the opening. Using a long blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner, gently smooth out the curved seam. 
  4. Press well, turning in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin the opening in place.
  5. Slip stitch the opening closed, hiding your stitches behind the rick rack.

Circular quilting

  1. To get a pretty "hand-look" to our quilting stitches, we set up our Janome machine for a hand look stitch, using monofilament thread in the needle and all purpose thread to match our trivet in the bobbin. The clear monofilament creates the look of wider spacing to the stitching. This is an optional technique; you can certainly use regular thread in both the top and the bobbin and simply lengthen your stitch. 
  2. Attach the circular sewing attachment to the machine, following the manufacturer's instructions. 

    NOTE: Janome has a nice video on the attachment info page that shows how to use their Circular Sewing Attachment
  3. The Janome Circular Sewing Attachment, and most other circle sewing devices, has a pin positioned at the center of the circle. 
  4. Adjust the distance from the needle and secure the attachment. 
  5. Our trivet has four lines of stitching. The outermost line of stitching is 4" from center, and subsequent lines are 3", 2" and 1", creating concentric circles of quilting. 
  6. With monofilament thread, you should always sew at a slow speed. The layers of batting provide a very stable circle for this technique and no other stabilizer is needed. 
  7. When the stitching is complete, steam lightly to flatten the trivet. Stitching concentric circles tends to distort the shape.
  8. If you do not have a Circular Sewing Attachment, you can use a compass or create your own circle templates and draw four circles on the trivet to follow with your stitching. Since you are working on the right side of the fabric, make sure you use a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe/wash away or vanish with exposure to the air. As mentioned above, you can also use our alternate technique with a standard Walking Foot and Quilt Bar.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

Section: 

Comments (14)

BarbaraP said:
BarbaraP's picture

This is my next project for Christmas gifts.  Trivits are always needed in our kitichen.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@BarbaraP -Thank you! They'll make lovely gifts 

Karen L. said:
Karen L.'s picture

Love these trivets and boy do I need to make a few of them! My current ones are really ratty looking. You could even make them for different seasons or holidays by choosing the right fabrics. Oh dear, more projects on the never ending list but thanks anyway.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Karen - Thanks! We love adding to your project list!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Thank you! We hope you'll give it a try. Sewing in circles is kind of fun!

Vicki D. said:
Vicki D.'s picture

Very cute & useful pattern!  In the close up photos, it almost looks like home dec fabric.  Also, the cut wedges almost look as if they were cut with pinking shears or something that prevents raveling? 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Vicki - Both palettes were made with just standard quilting cotton. And, the cuts were all straight cuts - no pinking. I think what you may be seeing in the close-ups is the shadow of the slight raveling of the fabric's cut edge. We hope you'll give the pattern a try. 

Teresa A. said:
Teresa A.'s picture

This pattern makes a beautiful trivet but is there a fabric that can be substituted for the batting (or added) that would protect your wooden table from a sweating dish.  Often times the moisture goes through the fabrics.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Teresa - Thank you! The batting is a pretty good protector, but you could try a thermal batting, like a InsulBright or similar - or you could add an interlayer of a water resistant fabric to the batting, like a PUL or ripstop. 

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Have you seen those cloth tortilla warmers that retail for $25 and up? This pattern could be adapted to make them in festive colors. Fun.

Donna Hamende said:
Donna Hamende's picture

I haven't been to this site in a long time. Health issues. Now back to sewing and have found so many projects on this and Janome site. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Donna - Welcome back to S4H! We're happy to hear you're ready to sew!