Saturday, March 24, 2012

The 20U makes Pot Holders.. how droll.

I was down to my last two pot holders. My dearest had set fire to number 3 and scorching number 4, effectively shortening its useful life to nil. Long ago, she acquired potholder material where it took up an almost permanent residence in her fabric stash. When I commented on the loss of the two potholders, the materials suddenly appeared stacked on my side of the bed. Today I decided to learn to sew with my Singer 20U by making quilted pot holders.

I had no idea there was a little bit of science in potholders. Between the wrong sides of a tough fabric shell, there are two layers of heat insulation material. The insulating material has a shiny almost metallic side and a fuzzy stuff side. Fuzzy sides together, Shiny sides to the WS of the fabric. That's four layers of material in an 8" x 8" potholder with parallel stitch lines that are 1" apart. The first potholder was not so good. The feet dog would pull the lowest layers, but the presser foot really didn't keep up well with the top two layers. OK.. so I pinned the next potholder, but still had a bit of slippage. Then I decided to alternate the direction of stitching starting in the center and working my way out to the edges. The results were much better, but it was tedious cutting the four layers of material. It came to me that I could make one large pad 17" x 17", and then cut it into quarters. This worked well.

Next came binding the tape to the edge. I wasn't able to rig up my tape binder to the 20U, so I put it on my walking foot Sailrite. Using 1" tape, I thought I might have a nice neat 1/2" rolled on all the edges.

The results are not what I'd hoped for. The corners were miserable. On most of the potholders, I had to go over the corners again with a little edge stitching. Oh well, it was fun sewing on the 20U.. and they are only just potholders. These do feel thicker than the ones that caught fire.



  1. Potholders are hard. I had a potholder and oven mitt making spell a while back and I wasted a lot of time on what seemed like a simple item. Heresy to say it, but this may be one thing that makes sense to buy! I think you needed a general purpose walking foot (not a heavy duty walking foot machine like your Sailrite) for the quilting. That helps control the layers pretty well.

  2. I'm so glad to find out that I'm not the only one who struggles with potholders! I thought surely they would be a piece of cake. They're more difficult than any other sewing project. The bias is just dreadful, no matter how much basting or how many pins I use. Oven mitts are easier, but those still try my patience.