I am a fan of both giving and receiving handmade gifts. My go-to gift for colleagues and friends is the potholder, dishcloth combo. It can be dressed up to look pretty, but it’s definitely a practical gift that nearly everyone can use.
There are a number of ways to approach the potholder as a sewing craft. My favorite is to use placemats and dishtowels from the thrift store. Placemats are usually made from heavy materials which work well for potholders, and towels are also thick enough to provide heat protection. Be aware of the thickness of the potholders. Thicker materials often result in needle breaks, or sometimes, the needle will not sew the thickness at all.
For this project, I used a half yard of novelty fabric and some new microfiber towels from the dollar store. If you prefer using new materials, I suggest sourcing towels at the Dollar Tree. There is a wide variety available to include washcloths, dishcloths and shammies in both the kitchen and automotive sections of the store.
Start by folding the fabric into four quarters. Place on a cutting mat and trim all four sides to make even.
Cut the rectangle into two pieces: 2.5″x9″ (for the loops) and 7.5″x9″ (for the potholder).
Cut the towels into 4, 7.5″x9″ pieces.
Place one piece of the potholder fabric on top of the towel piece, right side up. Place another potholder piece on top, right side down. Pin all three layers together in the corners.
On a cutting mat, measure two inches down in one corner and cut an angle. This area will be used to turn the potholder out and where the loop will be placed. Do not sew the angled corner in the next step.
Sew around the perimeter of the potholder, leaving the angled corner open.
Clip the fabric along the three corners of the potholder. This reduces bulk in the fold and allows the corners to lay more flat.
Turn the potholder inside out. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are on the outside and the towel lining is on the inside.
Press the potholder, using steam and flatten all the seams. At the angled corner, fold the fabric in and press.
Now to create the loops. Fold the small strips in half and press. Knot the end of a piece of yarn or ribbon and place into the fold of the strip. Sew the yarn knot into the end of the strip to use as a tool to turn the strip right side out. As the long side of the strip is sewn, be careful to not sew over the yarn.
Use the yarn to gently turn the strip right side out and trim the yarn end. Press flat.
Make a loop from the strip and insert the ends into the angled corner of the potholder; pin.
Sew the perimeter of the potholder, taking care the loops are firmly sewn into the angled corner.
I like to crochet dishcloths while listening to the news. This pattern is 30 chains wide, two single rows, followed by 5 double rows, followed by two single rows (Sorry, I don’t know how to read a crochet pattern). They are made from cotton yarn and are extra big! The dishcloth is rolled, then wrapped in a potholder, and decorated with a ribbon. I fill a basket with them and leave them in the lounge area with a holiday note.
It’s also fun to pick out fabric specifically to personal likes and hobbies, or for specific holidays (like the Thanksgiving fabric pictured).