Introduction: Turn Your Old Towels Into Pot Holders in 30 Minutes

About: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I enjoy working in the yard, sewing, cooking, quilting, gardening, and creating. I do this to keep my sanity.

Turn stained and  torn dish towels into pot holders in about 30 minutes.   This project can be made with almost everything you already have in your home.  The beauty of this pot holder is it does not require a pattern, hemming or turning .  The towel is the pattern.  The hem is already in  and the folding technique requires no turning.  The unique thing about it is you can use any stained towel for the inside.  You can also use a torn towel if it is not real bad.  You can use a stained towel for the outside if  it folds into the potholder where it can't be seen. 

These instructions are for  making a potholder about 6 1/2 X 7 1/2 inches long with a loop to hang it when you are not using it. 

This makes good use of old towels without using them as a cleaning rag.   It is fast and simple to make.  You will need some sewing skills either by hand or machine. It makes a great gift for any cook.

This pot holder would be a nice  project for a sewing group to make as a fund raiser.   A few women could whip these out in a hurry.  The more you make the quicker you get.     

Step 1: Supplies Needed

  • A stained, torn, or new pre-washed cotton dish towel.  Terry cloth is not a good option for this dish towel. 
  • A good size towel is 15 1/2 x 26 long.  Making a potholder about 6 1/2 X 7 1/2 inches long.
  • An old cotton dish towel, bath towel, or wash cloth.  Terry cloth is OK for the padding.
  • One 2X 4 inch matching or contrasting fabric scrap.  This will be used for the loop to hang the pot holder.  (Optional)
  • Matching thread.
  • Needle if you are hand sewing it.
  • Tape measure.
  • Straight edge.
  • Pins.
  • Scissors.
  • Sewing machine.  (optional)
  • Iron and ironing board.  It is optional but very helpful with best results. 

Step 2: Practice Folding the Towel

Follow the pictures to practice folding.  I hope these instructions are easy to follow.

Step 3: Ironing the Folds

The purpose of folding and ironing the dish towel is to give you lines to follow so you can see as you are re-folding the dish towel into a pot holder.  It will save time when you go to cut out the dish towel you will be using for the padding.  It will also help keep the  pot holder edges even.

Choose the best looking towel for this step because It will become the outside of the pot holder .

Press well.  This will crease a line to follow.

Open the towel.

Fold one side of the towel lengthwise to the center.

Fold the remaining side lengthwise almost toughing the center.

This is what it should look like. 

Step 4: Ironing the Folds

Fold the towel in half again (the opposite direction).

Press well.

Open it out and fold one end toward the center.

Press well.

Fold the opposite end toward the center just so the ends touch.

Press again.

Step 5: Ironing the Folds

This is what it should look like.

Step 6: Cut the Batting.

Double the old towel.

After the dish towel is pressed into the final folds, lay it over the old towel or batting , using the dish towel as a pattern.

Cut around the old towel being careful not to cut the dish towel.  If you are new to sewing I would mark the old towel or batting  using  a straight edge before trimming it. 

Cut the old towel slightly larger than the dish towel. 

You will have 2 squares slightly larger than the folded  dish towel. 

You will use this piece for the batting or padding that goes in-between the layers of the pot holder.

Step 7: Placing the Batting

Carefully open the folded towel two layers, leaving only one layer left folded. 

Place the batting in the center of the dish towel making sure it does not stick out over the dish towel. 

Trim as needed.

Re-fold the dish towel until you have a square shaped pot holder. 

Set aside until step 10.

Step 8: Cutting and Folding the Loop.

Cut a 2X4 inch strip of the matching or contrasting fabric.  This will become the pot holder loop to hang the pot holder.

Fold it in half lengthwise and press well.

Open it flat to view the center crease. 

Fold each edge lengthwise toward the center fold line.

Press well.

Fold in half lengthwise again to make a thin long strip. 

Press well.

Step 9: Sewing the Loop

Machine stitch or hand sew the long open edge of the strip,  the width of the presser foot.

There is no need to back stitch. 

Press well. 

Step 10: Pinning the Loop.

Pin the loop in the center of the pot holder layers about where you want it to hang.

Step 11: Sew the Edges of the Pot Holder.

Beginning at the center of the pot holder sew all the way around the pot holder pivoting at the corners.

To pivot at the Corners you stop just before the end of the edge you are sewing, ( lift your presser foot turning the fabric in the sewing direction you will be sewing,) without lifting your needle.  Put the presser foot down and continuing sewing pivoting at the corners.  
Repeat this method until you reach the area where you have already sewn.
Overlap this area to secure the seam.

Remove the pot holder.

Trim any loose threads.

When pivoting at the corners make sure your seam edge will be the same width or it will not look nice.
Remove any pins before you sew any seams,  because sewing over them can cause a broken needle or other complications.

Step 12: Iron Pot Holder

Iron the pot holder for a nice finished look.  (optional)

Step 13: Pot Holder Tip

Stores are selling microwave pot holders used for dishes that retain the heat when removed from the microwave.

I have dishes that are microwaveable, but they are very hot when I try to re-move them from the microwave.

I use gardening gloves for removing my dishes because they are thin enough to hold a coffee cup handle.

I do not recommend using them for the oven though, traditional ovens are too hot.

Step 14: Final Thoughts

Nice job! Now you can make a pot holder for yourself and make gifts when you need some.

The more you make the faster and better you get.

I am working on a variety of pot holders that may interest you.

I have posted instructions to make a lavender embroidered sachet, tote, inner tube purse, how to fold fancy dinner napkins, table arrangements, Quilts, and more! So please keep in touch!

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy sewing and all the fun things you can find to do!

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