Tuesday, December 04, 2012

DIY: Easy Patchwork Potholder (a sewing tutorial)

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I participated in a potholder swap hosted by the editors of Sew News and Sew iT All magazines.  

For my partner, I sewed this simple patchwork potholder which I named "No Two Alike" in reference to the embroidered shisha mirror snowflake embellishment.  (Check out this post to learn how to embroider shisha mirrors.)
 embroidered shisha mirror snowflake patchwork potholder
This is an quick and easy project.  It makes a great gift alone or paired with some of your homemade goodie or treasured recipes. 

To begin, choose up to six coordinating fabrics, three for the front squares, one for the front strips, one for the binding, and one for the back side.  I used fabrics from a FreeSpirit fat quarter bundle.

From the cotton fabric cut:  Nine 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" squares, six 1" x 3-1/2" strips, two 1" x 11" strips, one 11" x 11" square and one 1-1/2" x 48" for binding (piece if necessary).  
From the Insul~Bright cut:  One 11" x 11" square.
From the cotton batting cut:  One 11" x 11" square.

Use 1/4" seam allowances.
Stitch a 1" x 3-1/2" strip to a 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" square (this will be the left side square).  Stitch a 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" square to the strip (this will be the center square).  Stitch a 1" x 3-1/2" strip to the other side of the center square.  Stitch a 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" square to the strip (this will be the right side square). Press seams to one side. Continue until you have three rows.

Stitch a 1" x 11" strip to bottom of top row.  Stitch center patchwork row to other side of strip. Stitch a 1" x 11" strip to bottom of the center row.  Stitch bottom row to other side of strip.
Place potholder back fabric square on a flat surface with wrong side facing up.  
Place Insul-Bright on top of potholder back.
Place cotton batting on top of Insul-Bright.
Place potholder top on cotton batting with right side facing up.
Pin all layers together. 

Stitch through all layers to secure together. 
Stitch in the ditch along the seams between patches and strips.

A view from the backside.

Square up potholder trimming off excess fabric and batting if necessary.

Make enough binding to go around the perimeter of the potholder, plus 1" for overlap and 2" for the potholder hanger.

Cut a piece of binding 2" long.   Stitch diagonally to back side of potholder.

Add binding. 
With right sides together, position the binding strip along the potholder lower-edge center, matching raw edges.  Beginning 1" from the short edge of the binding, stitch the binding to the potholder. At each corner raise the machine needle, turn the fabric, and fold the binding up and back down over itself to form a mitered corner.  Continue along all four edges and corners.

When you get to the end, fold the binding back 1/2" toward the wrong side and finger press. Lap the beginning end over the folded end and finish stitching the binding to the potholder.

Fold the binding toward the wrong side of the potholder enclosing the raw edges.  Stitch in place.  If you prefer, slipstitch in place.

You now have your own embroidered shisha mirror snowflake potholder to give away or use when baking warm treats on cold winter days.

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

DIY: Embroider shisha mirror snowflakes (a tutorial)

Recently I participated in a winter-themed potholder swap organized by the editors of Sew News and Sew iT All magazines.   
When I discovered my partner was interested in the blue/gray/white color scheme I pulled out a fat quarter bundle and got to work. The color scheme reminded me of our crisp, cold, below-zero January days when the snow-covered ground sparkles under the winter sun light. Thus the addition of the embroidered snowflakes with shisha "mirror" centers.  These are actually mylar circles, not glass pieces.

It's been awhile since I had embroidered shisha mirrors. (Oh alright, true confession...I haven't embroidered shisha mirrors since my teen years - which has been "awhile".)  I had a couple of false starts before I it came back to me so I documented the process to help me remember in the future.  You might find it helpful also, so here goes.

Embroidering shisha mirrors. 
I'm going to refer to them as mirrors, although they are mylar circles.  

Glue mirror to fabric to help hold it in place.

Thread a needle with three strands of embroidery floss.
Stitch two vertical lines across the mirror.

Stitch two horizontal lines across the mirror creating a box grid.

Stitch another box grid diagonally across the mirror.

Place the needle under the thread grid pattern.
Take a small stitch in the fabric. Be sure to keep the thread under the needle.

Pull the thread tight completing the stitch.
Continue placing the needle under the grid pattern, taking a small stitch in the fabric and pulling the thread tight.

Cover the grid completely creating a circle of stitches securing the mirror to the fabric. 

Embroider snowflake "legs" around the mirror. 
(Yes, I know I should have embroidered six versus eight and made them symmetrical.  But I liked this look. But if your preference is to be more realistic go for the symmetry. )
Embroider snowflake legs around shisha mirror

Using a contrasting thread color and a running stitch, embroider a circle around the mirror.
Embroider circle around shisha mirror

Using a contrasting thread embroider little "crystals" along the snowflake "legs".


Didn't I tell you it was simple?

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