December 16, 2009

Chenille Potholder Tutorial

My friend Barbara just called.
Barbara: So, your sewing on the chenille potholders---where is the tutorial?
Me: How do you know I'm doing that?
Barbara: I see all the fabric for making them on your blog picture. So, where is the tutorial?

For Barbara, and for everyone who would like to make the "Chenille Potholders".

Ingredients Needed: Good quality cotton fabric for the back of the potholder: It can be whatever you want. Kitchen themed---or not. Have fun picking out the backing fabric!

Batting: Regular cotton batting like Warm & Natural or "Insul-Bright" which is a heat resistant type batting used for this type of project. When I first started making these potholder several years ago I used regular cotton batting. I have since switched to Insul-Bright as I like how it adds insulation to the potholder, and a nicer firmer feel to the potholder after washing and drying.

Top Layers of the Potholder: A variety of homespun plaid fabrics. You will want at least 3 or 4 different plaids, or I have done them as solids with only one homespun fabric. Thread: Neutral thread for stitching the chenille lines, and thread to match the Wright bias binding, or your own binding. Binding: I used to make my own bias binding, and you can if you wish. But I now buy Wrights Bias Tape Binding. 7/8" Wide Single Fold in 3 yd. packages. You can bind 3 chenille potholders with one package of 3 yds. of binding and have a bit left over. Matching thread for the binding. A good Chenille cutter. I like the small Square Olfa Chenille cutter. The blade can be rotated with a built in dial so you get a lot of use from one cutter blade. Small sharp scissors for making the initial cuts on the homespun fabrics to start the chenille cutter across the fabric.

Your sewing machine Walking Foot to stitch the lines to create the chenille, and your regular sewing foot for sewing on the bias binding. Rotary cutter, cutting mat and square ruler.

You can buy all the supplies needed at JoAnn fabrics.

Your washer and dryer with a load of jeans or towels to fluff your finished Chenille Potholders!


Step #1 The Layers:
Cut your potholder backing 9" square. the back of the potholder can be any type of fabric. It is the first layer or back of the of the potholder. This fabric is placed right side down. Cutting batting or Insulbright batting 9" square. The first layer of Homespun fabric is cut at 9". The remaining 3 layers of homespun fabric that creates the chenille top of the potholders is cut to 8.5". Use your machine walking foot to create channels of stitching approx. one half inch wide diagonally across all the layers of fabric and the batting. Start at one corner and stitch to the next. Then continue stitching rows until the entire surface a series of channels.
Step #2 Sewing the Chenille Channels:
Attach your machines walking foot and a neutral thread top and bobbin. Sew 1/2" channels diagonally back and forth across the potholder layers. You can also use the edge of your walking foot as a guide. It is approx. 1/2" between each channel.

#3 & 4 Snipping the Edges:
Make small approx. 1/8" cuts with your scissors along the edges of the channels you have created in the first 3 layers of the homespun cotton fabric. This makes it easier to use your chenille cutter. Be careful to not cut the 4th layer of Homespun which is your inner layer of the potholder and the layer of fabric you will see inside the potholder after it is chenille.

Step #5 Squaring the Potholder:
After you have snipped and used your Olfa Chenille cutter on the first three layers of fabric square the potholder to measure 8" square

Step # 6 Starting to Sew on the Bias Binding:
You can make your own custom bias binding, but I prefer to use Wrights Bias Tape. Wide Single Fold 7/8" wide. It comes in many solid colors. Turn the potholder so that the back is facing you. Unfold your bias binding and find the first crease on the left of the edge of your potholder and the edge of the bias binding. Adjust your needle sew in this crease. Start sewing at one of the back corners of the potholder. Pay attention to the channels you have sewn. Where you start sewing will determine the diagonal direction of the chenille and how it appears when it's washed and completed. I like the channels to go diagonally with the corner loop.

Step #7 Sewing the Bias:
Start sewing near the crease of unfolded bias binding at the corner. I place the edge of my foot right on the bias and potholder edge and move the needle just over the crease to sew. Sew to just within 1/4" inch of the first corner of the potholder.

Step #8 Mitering the Corner of the Bias:
With your bias binding unfolded start your miter just like on a regular mitered quilt corner. Flip up, finger press, and fold down. Start sewing right at the edge where you folded the biase down. (white thread is so you can see the stitching)

Step #9 Mitered corner:
This picture shows the completed bias binding mitered at the back of the potholder. Continue doing this to all the corners until you get to the last corner. This last corner is where you will form the bias hanging loop. Read on.

Step #10 Back of Last Corner:
This is where you started sewing and this is where you will end. BUT, just before you stitch right up to the corner, stop and roll over and refold the original bias binding fold so that it is now folded neatly to the front of the potholder. Secure with pin or finger press to keep the binding turned to the front if needed.

Step #11 Bias Folded Under:
This picture shows the starting point of the bias on the back neatly folded over to the front of the potholder. Now lay the remaining unfolded bias flat against the neatly folded bias at the corner. Stitch right off the corner edge. Clip your threads.

Step #12 The Binding Tail: You can now flip over the potholder and measure 4" from the completed corner. This 4" inches of bias binding tail hanging there will become your loop to hang the pothlder. Finger press the very tip of this 4" inches of bias e to the inside fold so that it will not fray. Refold the bias binding using the original creases as a guide.

Step # 13 Unfolded Bias Stitched to Corner:
After you have stitched the bias binding all around the back of the potholder stopping at the corner. Measure 4 inches of unfolded bias binding starting at the corner. Cut, this 4 inches of binding. This will form the hanging loop eventually.

Step #14 Stitching down the Bias Tail:
Starting at the finger pressed edge of the bias binding sew towards the corner of the front of the potholder. Stay just on the left edge of the bias and sew onto the corner and continue stitching. Pulling the bias around to the front of the potholder as you stitch holding it in place as you sew. Mitering all your corners as you go just like you did on the back.

Step #15 Completing Bias Hanging Loop:
After you have taken the bias binding loop and formed your hanging loop stitch it down to the front of the binding. Reinforce stitch this a few times. Now you have completed your potholder hanging loop

Completed Potholder with Hanging Loop:
Once completed wash and dry the potholder(s) to form the chenille. Reaching into the dryer and pulling out a potholder! You never know what the different homespun fabrics will look like once they chenille! Have fun!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful tutorial! I have had the chenille cutter for several years, but haven't done anything with it. Perhaps it is time. Great blog!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting such a detailed tutorial. I'm looking forward to giving it a go over the summer holidays.

Purple Pam said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I wondered how you made those darling potholders that you sent me. They are so cute in my kitchen. Thanks again.

Pat from Florida said...

What a super tutorial. I love the detail you give. I'm going to try some after the holidays.

Pat from Florida said...

I made my first one today. It's in the washer now. Do you mind if I post a link to your blog on my blog when I post a photo?

rona_duncan said...

For those of us with a longarm, or shortarm, quilting machine, here is what I did for my chenille hotpad Christmas gifts.
Loaded a large piece of muslin on the frame. Laid out the layered fabric squares on point and put on the horizontal channel lock. Sew, sew, sew. Advance. Sew, sew, try to match previous sewing line. Sew, sew. Trim apart and cut the strips.
Dug in the stash for all leftover binding from previous projects and bound all hotpads. Passed them out on Christmas and everyone was pleased.
Great stash buster, as I used cotton fabrics and homespuns when I had them. Omitted the batting portion but some could have used it for additional padding.
Great tutorial with all of the pictures.

Buffy in Santa Rosa said...

What a perfect are such a great contributor to the sewing world. And I love your little dog.

Darlene said...

Thank you for your wonderful tutorial on making chenille potholders. I am a novice with the sewing machine and your directions were very clear and the pictures made it so easy to follow.