Monday, January 7, 2013

Merry & Bright Potholders {Tutorial}

I've been really enjoying working with these absolutely quirky and bright prints from the Little Kukla and Frippery fabric collections lately. Julie, my blog sponsor at the Intrepid Thread, sent me a bundle of 8 fat quarters to create some fun projects with. The first tutorial I shared on Friday using these prints was more of a traditional pocketed potholder, with sewn binding and straight-line quilting. Today I have a completely new project and tutorial to share that uses different fabric choices and alternative sewing techniques to create yet another set of cheerful potholders for your kitchen. The Merry & Bright Potholder Set is all about focusing on fun hand sewn details and creating interesting designs with your quilting. 

I am also excited to have the chance to giveaway a bundle of the prints I used to make my projects! You can enter the giveaway here (open until Wednesday night, Jan 9th).

Merry & Bright Potholders

Materials Needed:
  • 4 coordinating fat quarters
  • 16" x 16" of all-cotton batting (larger scraps work well for this project) *Note: All-cotton is important for safety reasons. Don't use polyester*
  • 8" x 16" piece of Insul-Fleece interfacing (manufactured by Pellon)
  • 14 prepared 3/4" paper hexi templates (download PDF template here) *Note: print at 100% with no scaling*
Other Notions:
  • Copier paper for hexi paper pieces (I used cover stock)
  • Printer
  • Erasable/ removable marking pen
  • Walking or darning foot for quilting
  • Coordinating quilting thread
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Contrasting basting thread
  • Coordinating thread for hand sewing

Cutting Instructions:

Merry & Bright Potholders

  • 4 - 8" x 8" pieces of all-cotton batting 
  • 2 - 8" x 8" pieces of Insul-Fleece 
Merry & Bright Potholders

Sewing Instructions:

Merry & Bright Potholders

(1) Grab both of the 9" x 9" fabric squares in Print A and two pieces of batting. Measure and mark 1/2" in from the edge of the fabric pieces on all four sides. Then pin one piece of batting to both pieces of fabric using the 1/2" markings as your guide for placement. Sew 7/8" in from the fabric edge on all four sides. Note: Make sure to measure your seam allowance in from the fabric edge (not the batting) since the batting can shift slightly while sewing.

Merry & Bright Potholders

(2) Then grab both of the 10" x 10" fabric squares in Print B & C. Pin them right-sides together and draw a diagonal line from one corner of the square to the opposite. Sew 1/4" on either side of the line. Cut along both diagonals (along the marked line and along the opposite unmarked diagonal) to create four triangles. Press the triangles open and lay them out in pairs to form two hourglass blocks.

Merry & Bright Potholders

(2) Then sew the triangle-shaped halves of the hourglass blocks together. Make sure to pin along the center seams to ensure sharp, accurate points. Press the seams open and flat and trim the blocks if needed to 9" x 9" square.

Merry & Bright Potholders

(4) Taking your finished hourglass blocks, measure and mark 1/2" and 3/8" in from the edge of the fabric on all sides, on both blocks. Then layer one piece of batting and one piece of interfacing on top  of the wrong-side of each block using the 1/2" markings as a guide. Make sure the interfacing is on top of the stack. Pin the batting and interfacing in place and sew around all four sides of each square using a 7/8" seam allowance from the edge of the fabric.

(5) Then grab your sewn batting and fabric squares from Step 1 and pin one of each of these to the prepared hourglass blocks, right-sides together. Sew along the 3/8" marked line on the hourglass blocks around all four sides making sure to leave a 3-4" opening in the seam for turning*. After sewing the seam, clip the corners and turn right-side out, pressing as needed. Finish the opening used for turning by hand with an invisible ladder stitch.

*Note: I started sewing my seams about an inch in from the corner of the pinned squares to make it easier to sew the opening closed after turning. I also marked my 3/8" seam allowance rather than measuring it from my sewing machine guides to make it easier to see and accurately sew. The thickness of the batting/ interfacing can make it difficult for the presser foot to ride on top of the layers, so I adjusted my needle position to allow the presser foot to ride next to the batting instead.

Merry & Bright Potholders

(5) Next grab your trimmed paper hexi templates (you need 14). Using your favorite English Paper Piecing technique*, wrap and baste all 14 hexies using your 2" inch fabric squares in Print D. Press your finished hexies flat, then stitch them together in groups of 7 using an invisible whipstitch to create two flower-shapes (see above).

*Note: If your are new to English Paper Piecing, I have written a tutorial here showing how I prefer to baste and sew hexies.

Merry & Bright Potholders

(6) Press both flowers flat once again and carefully remove your basting stitches and paper. Then pin your flowers in place on top of the sewn potholder squares about 1 to 1.5" in from the edges of the potholders. Next sew around the outer perimeter of each the flower and the inner perimeter of each central hexi to secure them. This will create a nice quilted texture on both the front and the back of the potholders (see below).

Merry & Bright Potholders
Merry & Bright Potholders

(7) Finally, finish the potholders with some additional quilting to secure the front and back of each together. Draw a couple simple leaf shapes to add to the hexi flowers as shown or choose another design instead. Using a walking or darning foot (depending on which you prefer) quilt over your drawn design. Remove any residue markings after quilting and press to finish.

Now go put your beautiful potholders to use, because these babies are done! : )

Merry & Bright Potholders 
Merry & Bright Potholders


  1. I love the colours! especially print A

  2. Fabulous tutorial! I love the mix of the prints in this - the floral and stripes and of course the fab hexie flower! thank you for a great tutorial!

  3. Great tutorial. Love the bright cheery materials. What a great idea putting hexis on the corner.

  4. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!


    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

  5. Very pretty!
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE bright colors .... and its time for new potholders in my kitchen. Your tutorial arrived just in time. My interest in hexies is spiked, too! Thanks for the opportunity!

  7. Cute pot holders! I love the quilting on them.

  8. Adorable the hexies...will have to give it a try!!! Thanks for sharing :)


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