Potholders were probably the very first item that Mama taught me to sew when I was a little girl. She would lay a piece of fabric down and then we would use our scrap material, neatly layered over the fabric until we felt it was thick enough. Finally, we would lay another piece of fabric on top of the layers and start machine quilting. Anything is fine. The point is to sew around to hold all of those little scrap pieces in place. We would sew straight lines across, usually at one inch intervals; then up and down. After the quilting was done, we trimmed the edges to make them straight, sewed around the edges and finally, add bias tape around the edges. Potholders are great beginner projects for children.
A few decades down the road from those early days and I'm still making potholders. The embroidery machine is funny about how many layers of fabric it will stitch. I am working on that. I started off hooping some plastic. The heavy plastic is sturdy and after the satin stitches are applied, you can pull the item away from the plastic with a clean edge. I sew a single stitch line around the shape of the potholder. Then I apply 2 layers of fabric. Put that back in the machine and sew another line around the shape. Take the hoop off the machine and trim the excess fabric. This is just like an applique. Then put the hoop back into the machine and stitch the middle design. Depending on the size of the middle design, you may want additional quilting. This is the time to stitch the stipple. Then take the hoop off the machine and add a couple of layers of fabric to the bottom. I just pin the fabric to the plastic but make sure the pins are far away from the path of the needle. Put the hoop back in the machine and sew another outline. Take the hoop out and trim the edges. Then I take 2 pieces of fabric, folded in half and pin them so that the folded edges meet in the middle on the back of the potholder. Pin in place and sew another outline and trim. Finish with your satin stitch. The reason for the folded pieces is to put your hand inside, creating a mitt.
Yep, that's a lot of trimming and putting the hoop in and out of the machine. You can save time and effort by not doing the "mitt" and just pin all of your layers of fabric on the bottom before the quilting and let the machine run to the end. I'm still working on more layers of fabric. Yes, I know I could and should probably use batting. In fact, the machine doesn't have a problem with batting at all and I would get the thickness much easier. Let's face it, I'm stubborn and I want to use up that scrap fabric. Anyway, I'm still perfecting the process and hope to have lots of beautiful potholders on sale at the Arts & Wine Festival this year.
C'est tout, mes amis