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ScrapBusters: 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. Today's ScrapBuster 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. The project takes just a few little pieces from your scrap bag, and gives you a chance to do some pretty circular quilting. We used the Janome Circular Sewing Attachment, an easy way to make perfect concentric circles.

We dipped into scraps from our Kitchen Confections series, which featured the Vintage Modern collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics, to make a set of two trivets. 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. 

Today's project also uses a number of quilting techniques. If you are new to quilting, check out our great Quilting Basics series for all the tips you need to get started with success:

Quilting Basics - Tools, Notions & Other Stuff You Need - Part 1 of 5

Quilting Basics - Rotary Cutting & Trimming - Part 2 of 5

Quilting Basics - Quilt Blocks from Squares, Rectangles & Triangles - Part 3 of 5

Quilting Basics - Piecing Quilt Blocks by Machine Part 4A of 5

Quilting Basics - Piecing Quilt Blocks by Machine Part 4B of 5

Quilting Basics - Quilting The Quilt - Part 5 of 5

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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 approximate 7" x 7" scraps for 10 of the top wedges; we used five Fat Quarters in Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics:
    Pink Trivet 
    Hopscotch in Melon
    Gumdrop in Melon
    Blossom in Cream
    Wish in Melon
    Swirl in Pebble

    Blue Trivet
    Vintage in Cream
    Swirl in Sky
    Wish in Sky
    Gumdrop in Pebble
    Hopscotch in Sky
  • ONE coordinating Fat Quarter (18" x 22) or an approximate 13" x 16" scrap for two of the top wedges and the trivet back; we used one Fat Quarter in Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics: Dots in Cream for the Pink Trivet and Dots in Sky for the Blue Trivet
  • ½ yard of 44" wide low loft batting or two 12" x 12" scraps; we used 2107 Natural One™ batting from Pellon
  • 1 yard of medium rick rack; we used gray for the blue trivet and soft pink for the pink trivet
  • 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)
  • 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: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  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 the seam open.
  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 one side.
  8. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the pairs together along one side. 
  9. Press the seam allowance open 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 one side, 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 the seam open.
  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 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 edge on the right side of the trivet top. The center line of the rick rack should be ¼" 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. Baste in place. 

Sew front and back together

  1. Layer 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 pillow, leaving an approximate 3" opening for turning. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the opening.
  3. Turn the trivet right side out through the opening.
  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 MC8900 QCP for a hand look stitch, and we used 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 that shows how to use their Circular Sewing Attachment. View the video here
  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. The concentric circles tend 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.


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



Comments (15)

Teresa D said:
Teresa D's picture

I cant get the pattern to print of correctly either. The line that is suppose to be 8" is only 6" Do I need to increase the pattern?

anne.adams said:
anne.adams's picture

@Teresa D: The line is 8" -- we just re-confirmed and all is well. You need to be sure your printer setup correctly to print at actual size:

1) Change to Portrait or Landscape if necessary to insure the pattern lays correctly on the page.

2) Be sure you are printing at 100%. DO NOT SHRINK TO FIT, or FIT TO PAGE (terminology is dependent on your browser).

More info is available here:

Jane Menges said:
Jane Menges's picture

Love this patchwork trivet with circular quilting!!  I want to use up my scraps.

But the graphics will not print.  Wo sad.  Can this be corrected?   

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

@ Jane Menges - We have tested both the print button as well as the pdf button and both are working correctly , delivering all the instructions as well as the photos. These buttons are located at the top right hand side of the article just across from the date. 

Donna Wheeldon said:
Donna Wheeldon's picture

Did you know that you cannot download the pattern because an advertisement keeps popping up and will not close off?  I want to do this project but cannot get passed this advertisement.


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

@ Donna Wheeldon - Any advertisement you are seeing is not connected with S4H. We do not allow any pop up advertisements. Unfortunately, it is likely something on your end, perhaps a function of your browser or another item that has gotten embedded in your system. We run a three different scanners nightly that report any malware on our servers. We re-tested this particular pattern link from multiple browsers and it is working correcting. 

Noel said:
Noel  's picture

  Thanks for tutorial,  always wanted to do some of these, now can,


gladtidings4all said:
gladtidings4all's picture

Love this great tutorial thanks for the detail step by step for us visual beginner sewers! Much appreciated!

Holly Brown said:
Holly Brown's picture

Very cool - thanks for the tutorial, especially with regards to adding the ricrac.

Sandy Gray said:
Sandy Gray's picture

This is so cool! Great for housewarming basket!

Rabia Malik said:
Rabia Malik's picture

Great work. I am impressed with your sewing skills. 

Thelma said:
Thelma's picture

These trivets are so pretty! I'm putting them on my Xmas gift-making list! 

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