DIY Home + Garden

Published on January 2nd, 2012 | by Julie Finn


How-to: Sew a Nine-Patch Potholder Entirely from Stash and Upcycled Materials

nine-patch quilted potholderAs part of my handmade holiday, I tried to make gifts for friends and extended family entirely out of stash and upcycled materials (I almost succeeded–for the rest of those on my list, thank goodness that they still sell lottery tickets on Christmas Eve!).

Potholders, while not as simple to make as my beeswax ornaments, are still quick to sew up, are appropriate gifts for almost everyone, including the dude at college who heats up the occasional pot of Ramen and the little kid who loves to bake cookies with her mom, and, best of all, they make good use of the decade-old ratty bath towels that I’ve been dying to replace for, oh, eight years or so?

Have any ratty bath towels or blankets or other thick fabric to upcycle? Have some stash cotton to rescue from your scraps basket? Read on to find out how to turn that stash into potholders!

lay out the fabric squares to preview your patternThese are nine-patch potholders, which consist of a checkerboard pattern made of nine squares–five of one color/pattern, and four of a different color/pattern. Your squares can be any uniform size–multiply the length of the side of one square times 3 (the number of squares in a row) and subtract 1.5 from that number (to account for the quarter-inch seam allowance on each side of the squares) to calculate the finished length of all four sides of your potholder.

For instance, these potholders that I’m sewing (under the close supervision of my cat) have a nine-patch pattern in which each piece is 4.5″ square. I multiply that by 3 to get 13.5″, and subtract 1.5 from that for seam allowances, to calculate that my potholders will measure 12″ square when finished. This is a bit oversized for a potholder for an adult (and certainly too big for a potholder for a child), but will also allow the potholder to serve as a trivet on the table, since we often serve our dinners straight from the oven to the table.

Don’t you love how making something by hand lets you have it exactly the way that you want it? I do!

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About the Author

I’m a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I’m interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it’s manifested–making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

One Response to How-to: Sew a Nine-Patch Potholder Entirely from Stash and Upcycled Materials

  1. Susan says:

    Loved your simple but excellent idea for potholders. I’m gonna whip some up for myself and even make some for next year’s Christmas so, for a change, I’m ahead of the game. Instructions are well written, nicely illustrated and fun, as always.

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