Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Matryoshka Potholders - A Tutorial

I promised all of you that my next post would be a project and I have one-uped myself by making it a Tutorial. Although it did take me a couple of days to get this one online...
I am back out at work, and although the internet is slow I think I will survive the next three weeks.
This tutorial is for basic potholders with a motif. Of course you can make these withough a motif or you can do a quilted version like I did a while back HERE.
The first step is to cut out your main fabric. I made my squares 8X8 although you can do any size or shape with this project.  I LOVE my new Olfa cutting mat and ruler that Aren bought for me as early birthday presents since I will *sadly* be at camp on the big day.

You will need to cut four squares of your main (or "self") fabric in order to make two potholders. I always want to make sure that my hands (and the hands of anyone who may be using my potholders) are protected and for this reason place denim pieces inside my potholders. My mum had the misfortune of purchasing a beautiful pair of quilted potholders many years ago only to find that they were barely useable as the maker had only used batting in between. Take care of your hands. If you don't have denim then use another thick fabric. Cut two pieces for each potholder you plan on making.

You will still need some batting to give your potholders a cute *poufy* look. Again - two pieces for each of the potholders you plan on making. All of these pieces should be cut to the same size/shape as your self fabric pieces as you will sandwich them together when you sew them all up.

Next cut long strips 2 inches wide from your self fabric. The length of strip you need depends entirely on the size/shape of your finished potholder. Cutting these on the bias (diagonally) will make it easier to maneuver  them onto the potholder but if you don't have enough fabric for this don't sweat it. You can still make do with "unbiased" strips. I am so clever - the Queen of lame puns.

As a note: I had to sew a couple of shorter strips together in order to make a strip long enough to finish the edge of my potholder. You may need to do this too. It is fine and will still look wonderful when it is finished. Trust me.
Next choose a motif. Or choose no motif. Or do whatever you want. I chose Matryoshka as I am planning on selling Matryoshka themed items in my upcoming-but-as-yet-nonexistent Etsy store.

If you are using motifs you will now need to trace them onto your contrasting/coordinating fabrics. I am only showing you the tracing/fusing from the undersides of the dolls as this is a fairly repetetive and easy to grasp process. Use fabric pen that disappears or chalk but please please do not use permanent ink! This could ruin the look of your motif. Don't cut out all of the little pieces just yet.

You still need to fuse them onto your fusible webbing! Cut around the motifs leaving a small border so that you won't have to waste too much fusible. Now iron the fusible onto the fabric and then cut out around your shapes.

Repeat as needed until you have all pieces of your motif cut out. Now arrange them on your potholders and iron them down. Looking good already!

I always like to sew down the pieces I have fused on with my machine. I think it is good practice as with too many washes the glue from the fusible is liable to come undone and your work of art will be ruined. Also there will be fraying. Yuck. Here you can see I am sewing around the doll with a contrasting white thread. It really made the motif stand out.

You can skip this step if you want. After sandwiching all of the layers together (top-batting-denim-denim-batting-bottom) I serged the edge of my potholder so that all of the layers would be held together before I bound them. This ensures that I follow my shape and that the potholder doesn't turn out wonky. If you don't have a serger you could also baste the layers together.

Now to the binding. Sew the strips of binding face down onto the potholder. This is the bottom edge of my potholder (no motif). If you have not cut on the bias you may want to clip your fabric in at the corner so that it will turn more easily. Just don't clip too far! You will need to make sure that where you start sewing on the binding you leave enough that it can be turned under so there will be no raw edge showing where the binding meets.

Now flip your potholder over and fold the binding over the edge and under itself to create a beautifull finish. Sew along the edge of the binding. If you like you can make a loop by looping the binding around the corner. You will have to remember to do this when you are first sewing the binding on or you won't have enough to do so. A clean edge is also a nice touch on a potholder so you may want to try that too.
Don't worry if the topstitching on the front doesn't match the seam on the bottom. This gives your potholder character!

And there you have it - a beautiful potholder or set of potholders!
It is nice to be able to customize the decor in your home and this is one way to add a personal touch in your kitchen. They also make wonderful gifts!

Enjoy this project and keep enjoying those lovely summer days. I would love to see any versions that you yourself whip up. Ciao for now!


Tracy Krauss said...

I love the way you show your projects step by step. also, the potholders are very cute!

Lydia said...

Thanks! These ones have loops on them as oppossed to the ones I gave you which don't.... sorry :)

Maria Isabel said...

I love these! SO cute!

Penny said...

That is a real cutie :)
Found you at Totally Tutorials.