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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: blackie
Date: 11-29-2006, 08:11 PM (1 of 10)
OK. I want to make sturdy potholders but I never like how they turn out. Does anyone have any solid tips on quilting small squares of fabric? (I'm making 8" unf. pot holders).

Here's my method. I cut out the 8" square of my FF. Then the "batting" (two layers of that heat-resistant stuff) and the backing are cut from larger pieces - about 1" larger all around. I safety pin the layers together then quilt, using my walking foot and 1" in between channels.

Even taking this care it seemed like the layers "puffed up" esp when I was near an edge. The end result is my lines aren't as nicely dones as I would like. Was 1" too close or ... ?

One nice thing about these is that provided I do the binding right, they really are going to last a long time and be quite sturdy.

For reference, I usually don't quilt my own quilts unless they're baby quilts... (I hire 'em out)... and I can never get my stitch length all that regular.

Help, anyone? I need a potholder Goddess (or God)!
see the mundane life of a housewife.
User: blackie
Member since: 03-31-2004
Total posts: 594
From: HeyJudee
Date: 11-29-2006, 08:43 PM (2 of 10)
Well I've never actually made a quilted pot holder but if you have put two layers of batting, then it is quite thick to sew thru. What stitch length are you using? When I machine quilt thick batting, I usually lengthen my stitch length...usually 3.6 or sometimes even higher. Another thing I would do is change the pressure applied to the foot. I have a dial that is at 3 when doing regular sewing. But I usually change to 1 when machine quilting.

Another thing that you could try, if you have some, is to spray baste the top and bottom to the batting and pin the layers after that to help prevent it from moving.

Maybe others will be along to give you more suggestions. Good Luck.
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: Chrysantha
Date: 11-29-2006, 09:53 PM (3 of 10)
I made some quilted pot holders and my lines are straight. I think you need to dial your presser foot pressure up a bit. I used my regular walking foot, 3.0 stitch and went slow. Don't watch the 'outside' of the potholder, watch the line you're doing, otherwise you go 'off'...(also use a denim needle, goes through all the fabric and batting better.)
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: CodyGramma
Date: 11-30-2006, 07:33 AM (4 of 10)
I made a bunch of potholders last summer and what I ended up doing is this: first I stitch a line down the center from one side of the potholder to the other at the 4" mark.. from there I start in the center of the potholder and work my way out to each of the next two sides, then from the center again work my way out to each corner, then I start at the middle of one of the sides and stitch to the next middle of the side, going all around the potholder (making a square in a square type of design)... then I bind the potholder. I hope this is clear enuf to understand for you. Good luck!
User: CodyGramma
Member since: 04-22-2005
Total posts: 133
From: DorothyL
Date: 11-30-2006, 08:24 AM (5 of 10)
I stippled (I think that is the correct term). No straight lines.
I'm not much of a quilter. I believe it is an evil temptation and I shall not succumb.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: esrun3
Date: 11-30-2006, 03:34 PM (6 of 10)
Oh but Dorothy you would love it and what better excuse than quilting to enlarge your stash??!!!
User: esrun3
Member since: 12-02-2004
Total posts: 2345
From: HeyJudee
Date: 11-30-2006, 09:32 PM (7 of 10)
While reading CodyGramma's explanation of how she quilts it, I thought of another tip...when sewing the straight lines you should be sewing one line in one direction then sewing the next line in the opposite direction. This will help prevent wrinkles appearing in the fabric between the lines. I think it was in my class I took to make my quilted diaper bags/changing pad where I was given this advice.
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: beachgirl
Date: 12-02-2006, 04:18 PM (8 of 10)
I'm sure you already know but just in case someone doesn't. DON'T use polester batting in a potholder. Use cotton batting only. Instead of batting you can also use pieces of your older terry towels. They work great.The good heavier parts that are left that is. I've made lots & they wear great.
User: beachgirl
Member since: 08-31-2004
Total posts: 615
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 12-03-2006, 05:22 PM (9 of 10)
With that much batting, you need to really lengthen your stitch.. As the expert told us a couple of years ago, 'the stitch length is measured by amt of thread used to make a single stitch, so if you have it going through a thick batting as well as 2 layers of fabric, it will make a shorter "looking" stitch because so much of the thread is in the vertical position, not the horizontal.. Do you have a walking foot?? That would help the most, also.. That is on my wish list for this Christmas.. :bg: :bg: :bg:
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: blackie
Date: 12-03-2006, 10:36 PM (10 of 10)
Libby, your stitch length comment makes perfect sense! And yes, I am using a walking foot.

I'm going to print out these tips for next time I make a couple potholders. Thank you all who responded.
see the mundane life of a housewife.
User: blackie
Member since: 03-31-2004
Total posts: 594
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