How To: Corner Pocket Hot Pads

IMG_0066To go with my sister’s new fabric napkins, I also decided to use the scraps to make a set of hot pads. Here’s how I did it!

Gather your materials:

  • fabric scraps
  • 1 terry kitchen towel
  • thread

Take out your tools:

  • ruler
  • iron
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • scissors

1. Cut two 5 inch fabric squares from your scrap fabric for the corner pockets. (Photos of each step appear after the written instruction.)

IMG_00572. Cut 2 inch wide fabric strips. You will need an approximately 40 inch long strip. The easiest way to do this is to make a snip into the selvedge and tear across the width of the fabric. Do this once at the very edge of the fabric to be sure you’re fabric grain is straight. Do this again 2 inches below the first snip. You can piece strips together to achieve enough length or even use purchased bias tape. (Sorry for the weird coloring of this picture. I’m not sure what happened and did the best I could to edit the coloring.)


3. Cut your kitchen towel. I found that two 7 inch squares worked well for the size of my hand, but you could cut a larger or smaller square. I also, after trial and error, found that it was easiest to sew the binding if you trim off the towel’s edges because they are thicker than the terry cloth body of the towel.

IMG_00564. Fold your pocket squares in half to form triangles. Press and then edgestitch along the fold.

IMG_00595. Press the long edges of your strips to meet in the center to form binding. Use a pin to create nice, even-width binding. Stick a long pin into your ironing board cover, slide your fabric strip underneath with the folds in position, stick the other end of the pin into your ironing board cover on the other side of the fabric strip. Pull the fabric strip underneath the pin as you press it. (I recently read about this tip somewhere and have forgotten where. I used it for the first time with this project and found it easier and less fiddly than using a bias tape maker. I have a feeling that this technique will be my new favorite method of making binding.)


6. Place the pocket triangles in two opposite corner of your towel squares; the stitched edges should be parallel to one another. Pin the binding strips around the towel/hot pad body. Tip: Be sure that a tiny bit more fabric extends to the bottom side of the towel/hot pad body so that as you stitch you are catching the top and bottom of the binding. At the corners, overlap the excess created by turning the corner. Leave extra binding extending.

IMG_00627. Stitch around all four sides, about 1/8 inch from the inner edge of the binding, to secure the binding around the hot pad. Start stitching about 2 inches from the beginning of the fabric binding (you’ll need the ends loose so you can sew them together a little later). At the corners, I found it somewhat difficult to be sure that I was catching both sides of the binding. This tip made it easier: Stitch past each corner by one or two stitches, then backstitch to where you want to turn your corner. Make sure your needle is down in the fabric, then lift the presser foot and turn your fabric. Stitch to the next corner and repeat for the remaining sides. Stop stitching an inch or so before you reach your starting point.

IMG_00638. Twist the excess at the beginning and end of your binding strips so that they are right sides together. Determine where they should meet to complete the trip around the hot pad and place a pin in that spot. Sew the strips together where you pinned. Trim the excess and finish sewing the binding.

IMG_00649. You’re done! Give your hot pad a try as you make something delicious.

Some ideas for variations:

  • make the hot pad a circle or other shape instead of a square
  •  use matching thread instead of contrasting colored thread, especially if you are less confident of sewing the binding on straight
  • use purchased bias tape instead of making your own strips
  • add an extra loop of fabric at one corner so that you can hang up your hot pad