a view from the laundry pile…

…it's all about perspective.

Upcycling a pot holder

on May 23, 2012

After only 6 years, I finally got tired of looking at our ratty, old pot holders. Sure, I could go out and buy 2 new ones but where’s the adventure in that? They’re not ripped or damaged, they’re just really, really ugly. So, rather than toss them out, I decided to make new ‘covers’ for them. I’m going to take the one of the left and make it into the one on the right. Neat trick, huh?

First, I washed the  pot holders so I’d, at least, be starting with clean ratty, old pot holders. I wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go on these so, with one of them, I cut it apart, using a seam ripper, and used just the heat-resistant material on the inside and discarded the outer fabric. The other one I left ‘as is’ and covered the whole thing (this is the one that I’ll be describing here — the process is, basically, the same and has similar results — one is just thicker than the other).

For each pot holder, you’ll need 6 pieces of fabric; 4 for the top, 1 for the bottom, and 1 you’ll never see that goes under the top piece (it’ll make sense as you go along). I cut all the fabric squares about an inch larger than the pot holder, itself (in case I had any problems as this was just as much an experiment as it was a new project for me). Take the 4 top pieces and fold them in half, iron them shut, creating a nice seam down one side, and set them aside. (If your pot holder has a holder, snip it off.).

The placement of the fabric: First, take the piece you’ll never see and place it face down. Then put the pot holder on top, centering it. Now take the piece you’ll use for the outside bottom and place it face up on the pot holder (I love this fabric – “The Dysfunctional Family” by Michael Miller). Next is the ‘pattern’ for the top. You’ll be making a checked pattern, based on the photo below, making sure the folded edge of the fabric is toward the center (this creates a finished edge).

Once the fabric is in place, pin the edges, really well, to make sure the fabric doesn’t slip while you’re sewing it (I suggest checking it as you go – it’s always easier to rip out a little bit of thread than a lot…). Placing the sewing foot right along the edge of the existing pot holder, sew all the way around the edges. Trim off any excess and snip the corners off (to keep from getting too much fabric bunched up in the corners), making sure not to cut into the seam you just sewed (been there, done that…more than once).

Once all the edges are sewn, turn it inside out from the top and, using a semi-pointy but not sharp object (I used a chop stick), gently push the edges and corners out and, if you’re really excited about it, you can iron your “new” pot holder flat.

I’ve used mine twice, since yesterday, and am really happy I did this. Goodbye ratty, old pot holders.


(And, before anyone cries “thief!,” my idea to upcycle was based on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sipzCAflJQ8 – a great tutorial if you get stuck with any of my directions).


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