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Quick & Easy Hot Pad Tutorial

Posted by  ·  September 3, 2011  ·  Last Updated: September 3, 2011

Hi friends. I’m Amy from Diary of a Quilter. I write a blog about my quilting fetish, fabric addiction, and other sewing/crafty projects that I squeeze in around the regular family hoopla that accompanies 4 kids and a busy husband. Fortunately they are all extremely patient with me and my constant projects.
Diary of a Quilter
I’m excited to participate in this year’s Holiday Bake, Craft, and Sew Along. Nothing like getting a jump start on Christmas.  As much as I enjoy all the cutesy stuff that arrives from friends at Christmas, I especially love gifts that don’t get stale and are useful everyday. A couple of years ago a friend gave me some new hot pads and I was so excited to have something new and attractive to use instead of the old hot pads hiding in the drawer next to my oven.
So today I thought I’d share three quick and easy variations for making hot pads for a useful Christmas gift.
The first version is the easiest.  Take two 9″ squares of fabric and a 9″ square of batting. (I used a thicker, low-loft batting like Warm & Natural.  You can buy it by the yard at most big-box sewing stores.)  You could also use some heavier decorator-weight fabric to make the pads more durable. A lot of times you can find great decorator-weight fabric remnants for really cheap. You can get 4-5 squares out of a 1/4 yard of fabric.
Now match fabric squares right-sides together and lay the batting square on top.
Line up the squares and pin together.

Sew a 3/8″ seam all the way around the square, leaving an opening about 4″ wide for turning right-side out. After sewing clip the corners off (but don’t clip the stitching.)

Turn fabrics right-sides out with batting in the center. Tuck open ends inside and pin. Press the fabrics to make sure that everything lies flat and then top stitch all the way around the outside edge. This will close up your opening and give a nice finished edge to the hot pad. I stitched one more square in the middle to keep the layers from slipping apart and Voila! You have a nifty hot pad.

Another quick method creates 5 hot pads at once (or more, depending on the size of the pieces of fabric you use.)  In this case I used 2 coordinating 1/4 yard pieces and a piece of batting that was 43″ x 9″.

Press both pieces of fabric and the batting before you start.  Take the backing piece and lay it face down on a clean surface.  Spray lightly with Basting Spray (available at most sewing supply stores).  You may want to do this outside to prevent sticky spots in your house.

Trim the batting so that it is slightly smaller than the backing fabric and lay it carefully on top of the backing, smoothing out wrinkles.

Carefully trim the front fabric to a width of 8 1/2″ (or slightly smaller than your backing fabric and batting – you want to be able to see the edges of both backing and batting fabric after you lay down the top fabric).  Lightly spray top of batting with Basting Spray and carefully place your front fabric on top, smoothing out any wrinkles.

Then I carefully quilted some parallel lines to hold all the layers together nicely. The stripes on this fabric worked great as a guide, but you could mark lines with a disappearing marking pen or just eyeball the quilting lines. Basically it’s nice if you have a few lines at least 2″ apart – but you could do more if you like. Or this is a great chance to practice your free-motion quilting skills.

(I bought this Cosmo Cricket “Early Bird” fabric last year.)

When fabrics and batting are nicely quilted use a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out the hot pads. I cut five 8 1/2″ square hot pads out of a 1/4 of a yard of fabric.

You will need to use some kind of binding to finish the edges of these hot pads.  A contrasting fabric looks really cute. You’ll need a 2 1/2″ x 42″ strip for the binding. Here is a simple machine-binding tutorial to help you with this part. This picture demonstrates pinning the binding fabric on. See top or bottom picture for finished look.
Finally, if you’re like me and you’ve got fabric scraps coming out of your ears (not literally) than you could make some really cute pieced hot pads.  Start with a 9″ backing square of heavier weight fabric and a 8.75″ square of batting.  Spray baste the batting to the back side of the backing fabric and sew your strips directly onto the batting and backing using the same method as this Table Runner Tutorial. (Which would be another fun Christmas gift!)
Trim the edges and bind like the previous version.
And there you go – three versions for making hot pads.  Tie one of these up with a couple of favorite recipes and you have a quick, useful gift.

Another idea: if you’ve got friends who like to sew themselves, you could make another fun, fast, and useful gift using this magnatized-pin dish tutorial.  They’d be great a great paper-clip holder for teachers too!

It’s been fun to hang-out at Skip to My Lou today. Come visit me anytime at Diary of a Quilter! Especially if you want to learn to make a quilt – I’d love to show you how!

Filed Under: Gifts to Sew

Leave a Comment


  1. Lori L Piorkowski
    Friday, November 23rd, 2018
    Your form for chrstmas emails won't go away and stays on top of post. Can't read it and I don't want to sign up for emails. In fact I can't even see what I'm typing!! Make it go away!
  2. Vera Longe
    Saturday, February 24th, 2018
    I am interested in sewing the hot pads.

    Thank You
  3. Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
    This post presents clear idea in favor of the new people of blogging,
    that actually how to do blogging.
  4. leslie
    Monday, September 5th, 2011
    if you use two squares of cotton towel scraps between the fabric, your hand won't get burned ever. i've made a lot of these for gifts and everyone is always commenting on how they never get burned with my pads vs. others

    love you fabric choices. great tutorial.
  5. Debbie
    Sunday, September 4th, 2011
    I agree with Natalie. I would definitely use something like "Insolbright" Batting inside the potholder. Unless, of course, you are only using the for decorations. I like to use a layer of the thermal batting and a layer of Warm and Natural.

    Thanks for the tutorial! Loved it!
  6. natalie
    Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    the ONLY thing i would *definitely* change would be to use a thermal batting and a heat resistant fabric (like ironing board cover) to use on the back. it might not be the prettiest, but it makes SUCH a difference when you're taking those really hot dishes out of the oven.

    other than that, i LOVE how the hot pads came out!
  7. mountainmama
    Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    SO cute! But looks like alot of work for a potholder (that's just me) :)
  8. Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    I love all of the versions, Amy!! It's so nice to be able to have options depending on how much time is available to complete the project.(I tend to put things off until the last minute!) Another reason to love this sew~along...thanks so much for getting me going! Smiles~Beth
  9. Suzanne
    Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    Those are really great gift ideas.
  10. Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    Making personalized hot pads for holiday or house warming gifts would be awesome. Thank you for the lesson.
  11. Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    Thanks for the tutorial. I desperately need to make some hot pads!
  12. Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    Great tutorial - thanks Amy!!
  13. Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    Great job Amy! These are my favorite teacher gift during the holidays. It's nice to have a few quick-finish projects like these in between quilts, too! I keep meaning to make oven mitts too...my hands are burned to bits!
  14. Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    I really like the quilted one. Very pretty. I bought some thermal batting to make hot pads last year and just didn't get to it. You've given me motivation to try again this year!

    And I can't wait to check out that magnetized pin dish! Very cool.
  15. Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    This is something I have been wanting to learn to make! Thanks for the tutorial!

    You can link this up at Show & Share, if you'd like--

    And I have a fun new giveaway going on now as well--