23 February 2011


Hi, friends! I made an oven mitt about a year ago (almost exactly to the day) and since then I've been getting requests for a tutorial. Now, I get a little bit of grace because I was 37 weeks pregnant at the time, so I wasn't on top of much except for growing, delivering and nursing a tiny babe for quite a while after that. But, I definitely can't let a year go by without checking this off my list, right?

So, here it is. With eleventy-billion photos and lots of very helpful details. Promise me you'll send photos of yours if you make one?! I LOVE getting your photos of things you've made with my tutorials!

The supplies:
1/2 yard
Insul-Bright insulating batting - you can buy it at JoAnns. It's also great for ironing board covers or flat iron cases! See picture below.

  • 1/2 yard pretty cotton fabric (I've used both quilting weight and home decor weight, and both seem to do fine.)
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric. I've used chenille, home decor fabric and flannel. I like the flannel because it's soft, but Ryan says he feels safer with the chenille. Really you could cut up an old sweatshirt for this, it won't be seen at all.
  • coordinating thread
  • scissors (and snips if you like to cut your threads with tiny scissors)
  • sewing machine
The process:

Begin by cutting two 11"x14" pieces out of each of your three fabrics. This will make a total of six 11"x14" pieces.

I had white flannel handy today, so that's what I used for my lining fabric. Nice and soft!

Cutting the Insul-Bright.


And cutting my main fabric. Isn't it pretty? It's an old Anna Maria Horner home decor fabric (Trellis in teal). It's out of print and I'm not sure it's available for purchase anywhere anymore, sorry. :(


Once you've got everybody all cut out, go ahead and give them a good pressing. You'll be glad you did once the stitching starts!


Alright, now it's sandwich time!

(I realize my fabric isn't pressed in these photos. Please ignore that. Iron them first and have nice, straight fabric to make sandwiches with!)

Make two sandwiches in the following order:
Pretty fabric, Insul-Bright, lining fabric (felt in my case).


It should look like this:


Now flip them over, smooth them out nice and tight and pin the sandwiches together with your pretty fabric facing up.

(Yes, I know what you're probably thinking. You really should have built your sandwiches in the opposite order to begin with, then you wouldn't have to flip them. That would just be too easy!) :)


Now we're ready to stitch!

Grab a nice, coordinating thread.


And head over to your machine.

(Yes, I usually sew with my computer beside me. Especially for long projects, I like catching up on tv episodes on Hulu or sermon podcasts while I work. Also, I get a lot of email. So I like to be able to respond to things as they come in so I don't drown in my inbox. If I'm not multi-tasking I'll implode.)


Also, since you may ask: the machine I'm using here is a very basic Janome. I bought it at a yard sale this summer for $10. I like the brand and it gets the job done, but it's far from a dream machine. I use it because it's what I have right now while I save my Etsy shop earnings up for something that has more than 6 stitches. A girl can dream! :)

Back to the tute.

Set your stitch length to long. Or, you know, if you have more options than short, regular and long, you can go ahead and increase your stitch length to longer than usual. We're doing just basic stitches here. And since they're not construction stitches, this tedious part will go by faster with a longer stitch.


We're going to be quilting these sandwiches together. There are a lot of different ways to do this, but for today, we're going to go with a simple diagonal stitch.

Begin in one corner of the rectangle stitch at a 45-degree angle. You won't quite make it to the other corner since this isn't a square and that's just fine.

The important thing here is to keep your fabrics all pulled tight as you stitch so they don't bunch or pucker.


Once you've made your first line of stitches cut your thread and start back at the top. Using your first line as a guide, make your rows roughly 1/2" - 3/4" apart.

Just keep on trucking until you get all the way to the corner edge. (this is where a nice episode of House or 30 Rock keeps you entertained).


Once you get to the corner, flip your rectangle over and continue your rows until you reach the other corner as well.


Do the same thing to your other sandwich. And, of course, trim all of your threads when you're through! (Or, in this case, don't. You'll be cutting all the edges off soon enough anyway...)


Isn't that pleasing?




Okay, while we're admiring the diagonal stitching I guess it's as good a time as any to note that there are lots of ways and styles of quilting your fabrics together. I've done a couple of oven mitts with spiral stitches (one looser and another one with tighter spirals), but you can get creative here. If you're feeling super lucky, try to stitch a star or something! Or after you finish your diagonal stitches, try diagonal the other way to make a grid.



Okay, the grid makes me feel nervous and tired just thinking about it.

The point is, this is an area where you can get creative if you like. And don't make it too difficult. This has the potential to be very simple and fun, so enjoy!

Now comes a fun step!

Print the 2-page PDF below. Cut out the pieces and align them at the crosshairs. Then, tape the two pieces together to make your oven mitt pattern.

Now, lay your two newly (and beautifully!) quilted sandwiches on your sewing table with their right sides together. (That means with the pretty fabric sides facing each other.)

Place your oven mitt pattern piece on top of the stack and trace around it with a marker. (I extended my marker lines at the wrist all the way to the bottom so that I could adjust the length of the mitt at a later step.)

Then pin the pieces together so they won't shift while you sew.


Back to the machine. And, the fun stitching!

Stitch the oven mitt shape, following your marker lines. Use a regular-length stitch and be sure to backstitch when you start and stop so that things don't fall apart when you turn things right-side-out.


There's something so simple and elementary about tracing the lines like this. So pleasing!


Now, cut out your oven mitt! Allow a 3/8" seam allowance or so. You may need to clip the curves a bit, but be careful not to snip into the stitching.


That was fun! And, it's starting to look like an oven mitt! Yay!


Okay, now turn it right-side-out. Get your hand in there and push everything out really well.


Ooh-de-la-lee!! Looking lovely!


And didn't this work out nicely? My side seam lined up so well!


Now we just need to finish the bottom edge. You can either buy some 1/2" double fold binding or make it yourself.


I cut a strip of 1-3/4" wide white fabric and used my bias tape maker to whip some up. (currently one of my favorite gadgets!)

24" of bias tape should be plenty.


So much fun!

Once you've run it through the 1" bias tape maker, fold it in half and press it one more time so it's 1/2" wide and all of the raw edges are enclosed.


Okay, you'll want to cut a 5" piece of your double fold binding and stitch it closed on the long edge to make the loop for your potholder to hang from. (You can skip this step if you don't want a loop.)


Before we attach the binding to the bottom edge of the mitt, it's a good idea to even up all the edges with scissors or a rotary cutter.




Now let's attach the binding to enclose the raw edges of the mitt. Just nestle the wrist of the mitt into the crease of the bias tape and stitch it on.


It's a little scary because you want to be catching the bias tape on the top and the bottom with your stitch. But be brave - and if you're really nervous, just stitch closer to the fold. That will be fine.


When you make it all the way around to the beginning you can tuck the two raw edges of the little loop you made into your stitch so it's in there tight.

And when you get to the end, just cut off your excess binding and fold it under to conceal the end and stitch it the rest of the way.


You know what's next, right? It's the part where we get to do our happy dance and touch hot things without hesitation or fear! We're finished!


Congratulations, y'all!

Also, congratulations to Oliver who begged for permission to have a photo of himself using an oven mitt like a big person - pulling a muffin pan out of the oven. Mommy loves you, bud. {seriously, the oven was off - don't worry!}


Happy oven mitt making! And please let me know if I was unclear at all in my directions. I'll do my best to help y'all trouble shoot if you have any problems.


{Note the newly-painted black kitchen! I'm in love!}


mandiegirl said...

Love it Raechel! It's beautiful!

Molly @ Me and Madeline said...

Your black kitchen is FABULOUS!! And so is the tute! Bookmarked. Thanks!

Tracy said...

love the kitchen!

Christine said...

Sorry I cast doubts about this tute--it's great! In case anyone wonders, Prudent Baby has a couple of FABULOUS bias tape tutorials: one for making your own (w/o a bias tape maker) and one on a couple of methods of sewing it on. If you're like me and want to swear anytime you use the stuff, I would suggest heading over there before trying it for the first time. Maybe I'm just making it too hard. It's possible.

I'd like to try one using free-motion quilting. My new machine has a presser foot for that and I'm itching to try it out. Might be the perfect opportunity.


keight dukes said...

perf! yours are the only sewing tutorials i read for entertainment. must say i LOVE the cutesy teeny framed flaggie pennants above the sewing machine AND i am jealous that your sewing machine has flair accents. lastly, i never saw a single episode of house in my life until i started sewing. now i think i have seen almost every single one (well, heard...i only look away from the sewing during really interesting parts). and i think you know my feelings on the other show you mentioned.

Rita said...

Please tell me where I can find some of the BEAUTIFUL fabrics that you use!! I love them!

Sherah said...

I'm not a sewer... but I am a buyer... I would LOVE to buy one of those oh-so-cute mitts from you.... please tell me where I can do this! :)

anniepmaki said...

love this tutorial! I am a fulltime working mom of a 3yr old boy and my hubby gifted me with a sewing machine 5 years ago, which I have only used to practice stitches. Whenever I look at your blog, I dream about the time to sew something but just never get to it. So reading it gives me HOPE! someday someday that someday will happen!

Rachel said...

Uhhhh.... what in the world!!! I was just about to write a post on my blog about my kitchen. It has white cabinets with BLACK WALLS(except mine are chalkboard)!!! How awesome and creepy! Check out my blog in a bit to see how similar!! I seriously can't get over this!!! Haaa! Love the mitt, the boy, and the kitchen!


Andrea said...

I thought I was the only one out there who watches Hulu episodes and catches up on missed sermons while I sew! Great to know I'm not the only one :) Love the tutorial too

Ashley said...

You are so cute. Love this tutorial, and thank you for doing them! You totally inspire 3 1/2-months-postpartum me to do fun projects again (or at least think about them again, ha). I did make one of your headbands for my daughter a few weeks ago and it turned out so cute! I even got felt from the Etsy seller you recommended and of course went a little crazy with the colors. LOVE the black kitchen!!!

Alyssa said...

I"m loving your kitchen! I'll have to try your way of making mitts. I was inspired by your post last year and made two of my own just by tracing my old (and holey) oven mitts. One I can barely shove my thumb into and the other was intended to be a gift but turned out so badly I kept it myself. I'm newly inspired! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Cute oven mitt! I love love love the pattern you chose! Btw, adorable headband! Can your stuff get any cuter? =)

Maryellen said...

WOW when I first starting reading your blog. I could not imagine black walls. I kept thinking what in the world? Then when I saw it. I love it. And the white walls looks so good. You are so talented and brave . . . it paid off !

Sarah said...

Where is your headband from? I thought maybe you made it and had a tut on it, but no such luck. It looks like cotton fabric; I made some out of satin, but I like this look too!

Raechel said...

Sarah - my orangey headband is from Charlotte Russe. I think it's some kind of polyester/manmade fabric of some kind. Sorry, no tute except for maybe directions to the mall :)

Brei said...

your style makes me drool...just a bit. I love it. And way to go with making your home look like it belongs in a fairytale. I have nevah evah seen such a perfect balance of colors that are neutrals and are famously drab(your rainbows of grey- and I mean that in the most beautiful sense of the word...if that's possible) and bright pops of luscious hues. Honest.

Amy's Avenue Blog! said...

I have had this saved forever to do and I am going to try it today!!! Thanks for the beautiful post and the great motivation. As always, your family is just precious!

Kaytea said...

I'm making this right now and I can't seem to download the PDF without having to pay $5. Is that right, or am I doing it wrong!?!? Help!

Raechel said...

Kaytea - were you able to figure it out? You definitely shouldn't have to pay!

Kaytea said...

I did figure it out! The husband upload a document so we got 24 hours for free. I made the mitts and my MIL loves them. I forgot to take pics, but as soon as they send me some I'll post them! Great tutorial!