Potholder Tutorial and the Fusible Thread Trick!

Posted by & filed under BERNINA, Free Mini Classes, Home Decor, Quilting, Tutorials, Uncategorized.

If you weren’t able to make it to our free mini-class on how to make potholders, or you just want a reminder of what we covered in the class, check out the tutorial below. Potholders are a quick and easy way  to brighten up your kitchen decor!

To make these cute-as-a-button potholders, you’ll need:

  • Two 12″ x 12″ squares of plain 100% cotton fabric (we used white muslin)
  • One 12″ x 12″ square of 100% cotton batting
  • One 10″ x 10″ square of cute 100% cotton print fabric
  • Two 10″ x 10″ squares of Insul-Bright batting
  • One yard 1/2″ double fold bias tape
  • Thread in a color that will stand out against your plain fabric, we are currently loving the Mettler Neon threads!
  • Fusible thread
  • Scissors
  • Water- or air-soluble fabric marker
  • Seam gauge

The first step to putting the potholder together is to free motion quilt your muslin and batting together. Once completed, this square will be used for one side of your potholder.

Get ready for some free motion quilting fun! Start by placing your 12″ x 12″ square of batting in between your two squares of plain muslin to form a quilt sandwich.

You’ll want to thread your machine with a thread color that will pop against the plain fabric background. If you need design inspiration for free motion quilting patterns, check out this super handy site. Lower the feed dogs on your machine and put your darning foot on.  In our mini-class we, used the Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) for this step.

The BSR foot guarantees a more even stitch length, which is especially handy if you are new to free motion quilting and haven’t mastered the smooth movements required when free motion quilting with a darning foot.

You will want to cover your square with the free motion pattern of your choice, but don’t worry about getting to close to the edges. We purposely cut this piece larger than ultimately needed so that you wouldn’t have to try to quilt right up to the edges of the square.

Next, you are going to make an even bigger “sandwich”, now incorporating your cute printed fabric and Insul-Bright squares, along with the square you just finished free motion quilting. Make your new sandwich by laying your squares down on a flat surface in the following order:

1. free-motion quilted square, face down

2. two Insul-Bright squares (we originally used only one square, but two is better to make extra-sure you’re protecting your hands when picking up hot things!)

3. printed fabric square, face up

Your free-motion quilt square will be larger than your Insul-Bright and printed fabric squares. Trim your free-motion quilt square so that it is the same size as the other squares.

Using a water-soluble marker or chalk, draw a line 1/2″ away from your cut edge. This will be your basting guide.

Use a lid or something similar as a guide for drawing on rounded edges.

Baste all layers together along the line you just drew.

Trim seam allowance to about 1/4″.

Next, wind a bobbin with fusible thread and place that bobbin in your machine. Your top thread does not need to be changed.

Unfold your bias tape and line it up so that the top of your unfolded edge lines up with the cut edge of your fabric.

Baste in the fold line all the way around, stopping right before the bias tape meets the end you started with, leaving a bias tape tail that you will later turn into a loop for hanging your potholder.

If you flip the potholder over you’ll see the fusible thread from your bobbin, you are about to see its magic, as it glues your bias down, while you get ready to stitch over it again.

Fold your bias tape around the edge of the potholder and position the edge of the folded bias tape so that it meets up with and just covers the fusible thread stitching. Set your iron to a high heat setting and use lots of pressure and steam to fuse the bias tape down. This will hold the bias tape in place and line it up perfectly with the bias tape fold on the other side of the potholder.

Next, change your bobbin thread back to your regular thread, and change your machine stitch to a wide zig zag.  Position the potholder under your presser foot with the bias tape that you just fused facing up, lining up the center guide of your presser foot with the edge of the bias tape.  Sew a zig zag stitch all the way around the potholder.

When you get to the bias tape tail, unfold the tape and fold the raw end over once.

Then re-fold the tape and place the end that you just folded over the spot where the bias tape tail and bias tape end overlap in order to create your potholder loop.

Line up the folded edge of your loop with the edge of the bias tape.

Continue your zig zag stitching over the loop edge, securing it in place.

Congratulations! Your gorgeous new potholder is finished! Huzzah!

8 Responses to “Potholder Tutorial and the Fusible Thread Trick!”

  1. Teresa Coates

    Super cute! What a great trick with the fusible thread; I’ve been curious what I’d use it for and now I know. I’m using that next time instead of hand-stitching the binding (way too time-consuming anyway!).

  2. Arly

    Thanks so much for the fusible thread trick…can’t wait to try this!

  3. Judy

    Oh, great tutorial!! This just might be the thing I need to overcome my strange fear of free motion quilting. And fusible thread, wow, I have got to find that to try too. Thanks a bunch!!!

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