Seasonal Sewing · sewing

Scrappy, Strippy, Quick Holiday Potholders

Today is Scrappy, Strippy Potholder Day in my series of tutorials about Christmas Crafting. You can still make these! The $6 Strippy Potholders I made were one of the more popular items on my one-night Craft Bazaar table. So I wanted to share with you how easy and enjoyable they are to make!

Bazaar table close up

I know you’re busy, so let’s make this fairly quick!! If you’d like to read more about my Bazaar makes, including my pricing philosophy and criteria for the items I made, click here.

The Materials You’ll Need

How to Make Scrappy, Strippy Potholders

  1. Decide on a size for your potholders. I decided on 9″ square, but they were all a little different since I was working with leftover fabrics.
  2. Pro Tip: Select the fabric(s) you want to use for the back of your potholders and first cut backing for as many as you will be making. That way you won’t accidentally cut strips out of  your backing fabric and not have enough left! (Ask me how I learned that hint!)
    Mixed Potholder
  3. Using a cutting mat and rotary cutter, randomly cut strips of fabric a little longer than the size you decided on in Step 1. They must be longer since you will be re-cutting and squaring up once your strips are sewn together. I cut my strips anywhere from 1″ to 2″ wide for a scrappy look. If non-symmetry makes you twitch, cut your strips all the same width!
    Green and Red
  4. Now to the serger with you, if you have one. Sew your strips right sides together, long side to long side, with a 1/4″ seam. I stacked my strips next to me and just grabbed them semi-randomly as I sewed. It’s best to vary the order between colors, solids and prints and large prints and small prints so they’re not matchy-matchy. Each one of my potholders is delightfully different!
  5. Once your strips are sewn, hop up to the ironing board and press all of the seams, front and back. You’ll want to press seams away from the lighter colored fabrics to avoid show-thru’. Otherwise it doesn’t matter which way they are pressed.
    Mixed Potholder
  6. Now it’s time to cut your newly sewn “fabric” into fronts for your potholders. Use your back(s) as a pattern and cut as many fronts as you’ll need. Short sections of sewn strips could be turned different directions and re-sewn as a variation.
  7. Batting time! Cut one piece of Insul-Bright AND one piece of Warm & Natural for each potholder you are making. Again, you can use your back(s) as a pattern.
    Hanging Loop
  8. Optional: Cut 1-1/2″ wide strips of fabric to use as hanging strips for your potholders. Fold in half lengthwise and press, then fold long edges to the center, press again and fold in half, so the cut edges are inside. I top stitched mine about 1/8″ from the open edge, then cut them into 3″ lengths.
  9. Okay, layering time and this is important! This is the order that the four layers of your potholder MUST be in to create actually protective hand helpers.
    1. Potholder Back, wrong side up
    2. Insul-Bright – both sides are the right side, so either one up is fine
    3. Warm & Natural or whatever Cotton batting you are using
    4. Potholder Front, right side up
  10. If you are adding a hanging strip, sandwich the ends into one corner. Ends even with edge of layers; hanging strip “loop” pointed to the inside of the stack.
    Stack o unfinished potholders
  11. Make a stack of all of your layered, ready to be sewn potholders. This will help with speed for sewing. You can use pins or Wonder Clips to hold the layers together, but I HIGHLY recommend the Wonder Clips. They hold well and you don’t have to struggle to work a pin through four layers. One pin or clip on each side of your square should be sufficient and will help make your sewing quick. But, of course, if you need more, use more!
  12. Back to the serger (or sewing machine) now. Sew around all four sides with a 1/4′ seam allowance, leaving about a 3″ opening on one side for turning.
  13. Pro Tip: Stitch and turn just one potholder first to make sure you layered properly before you serge through the whole stack. (Again . . . ask me how I learned that tip!) Once you’ve confirmed your layering ability, sew up the whole stack before you get up from the machine. This is elf assembly line time!
  14. Take a break, grab something nice to drink and carefully turn your potholders right side out. I did not trim my corners before I turned the potholders, but you could if you’d like. Are my corners nicely pointed? Nope. Does it matter? Nope.
  15. Put your drink down and press your potholders, turning the seam allowance to the inside at the opening.
  16. Pin or clip the opening closed and thread your sewing machine with matching or coordinating thread. And, if you have one, put the Walking Foot on your machine. It’s your best “sew-thru’-layers” friend!
    Top Stitching
  17. The next step is closing the opening and top stitching and you have options.
    1. I hand stitched my openings closed because I wanted to top stitch 1″ from the edges. I just like that look. I found it quicker to hand close the opening and just sew the 1″ line of top stitching. I was all about speed while I was making things for the Bazaar.
    2. If you want, you could top stitch 1/8″ from the edge to close your opening, then do the 1″ top stitching, too. Or just leave it with the 1/8″ line.
  18. And . . . you’re done! Stop, breathe, admire deeply and either wrap or sell those little beauties!! Keep a few for yourself, too!

More Important Stuff: As always, please Shop Local, but if you can’t find Wonder Clips, click here, for Insul- Bright, click here, Warm & Natural Batting, click here.

Cinnamon Roll Tree

These were so easy and I don’t know why I don’t just make all of my own potholders. Honestly, the ones I’m using in my kitchen right now are pretty gloomy and trashed, so I really should gift myself with a few new ones under the tree this year. This lovely Cinnamon Roll Tree would have been even tastier with new potholders, right?!

Festive Sewing to you!


Moment of Further Truth:
This post includes affiliate links and I may receive a small payment if you make a purchase using that link. Thank you if you do – it helps to keep The Sewful Life stitching along and I sincerely appreciate your support. All opinions are solely and truly mine and I only gush about things I love!



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