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Potholders for the church fair

cookymom | Posted in General Sewing Info on

It’s September so I starting my church fair sewing.  Last year I tried to make 7 in square potholders.  There were a few problems…Any ideas so I can overcome them?

Layers were top fabric, Insul Brite, warm and natural and bottom fabric.  I machine basted the four layers together.  They shifted so I pulled them apart and pinned them together.  The layers shifted again and don”t understand why. 

When I basted on binding, fabric moved again. 

Should I fuse the battings together?  Use cotton flannel in place of warm and natural? 

Is there a best or favorite size for potholders?

The next attempt was an envelope sewed on all sides with a 3in opening fro turning. the fabric shifted on that one as well.   I am using a bernina activa to sew and it appears not to have a pressure foot.







  1. charm | | #1


    I have always use walking foot to sew more than one layers of fabrics. it helps to even feed the top and bottom of the fabrics without shifting it. and most of all keep the thread tesion smooth not tight.

  2. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #2

    Cookymom, would it not be easier to do the fabric first then cut to whatever size you want? Then bind the edges. Cathy

  3. starzoe | | #3

    My method of sewing potholders is this: cut the first piece (top or bottom piece about half an inch added all-round, be sure to cut it on the straight of the goods. Place this piece onto all the layers except the other main fabric. Don't cut the layers to size when you do this, have extra hanging over (not much, 1 cm is enough but have the straight of the goods on all of them. Now you have (1) top, (2) filler(s). Sew an X in basting stitch (or do it by hand) from corners to corners.Next you can do one of two things: on the straight again, cut an exact size from main fabric, put it face down right sides together with the other main fabric and sew it to the layered fabrics, leaving a turning opening. Cut away the extra. Iron, turn then close the opening.OR place the second main piece on the bottom, wrong sides together, now you have (1) right side up (2) filler(s) (3) right side down. Sew all around. Now trim off the extras and use binding to finish.If I am in a rush I usually make potholders with slightly rounded corners, they are easier to bind with a bias binding.

  4. MaryinColorado | | #4

    "It appears not to have a presserfoot"?  This may be the problem.  For piecework and most general sewing you will need the presserfoot as it hold  the fabric and helps move top fabric/ along with the feed dogs under the fabric.  , check with the local dealer to see what is available for your machine.  Some basic feet would include a straight stitch only foot, a zig zag or stretch stitch foot, a zipperfoot, a buttonhole foot, etc.  I think the website is http://www.berninausa.com   Hope this helps.  It's so nice of you to sew for the church!

    You can do freemotion quilting and stitching without the presserfoot, but you then totally control the fabric with your hands or a hoop, still putting the presserfoot lever down to engage the tensions. 


    1. cookymom | | #5

      Hi Mary,

      It was a blond day when I posted.  I have a new Bernina, Activa 230, and my old Kenmore had a button on the top that let one adjust the pressure, lighter for sheer fabrics and heavier for thick woolens.  Everything has been moving as I tackled this easy project and I have been so frustrated because I can't find the same adjustment on the Bernina.  Part of it this old brain....and a newish machine that frustrates me.

      Visited the dealer with samples Saturday and, as other posters have advised me, will try the walking foot again.  After that it's time to get the machine looked at.

      Everyone that contributes here offers very understandable, solid advice on sewing so I appreciate your comment.  When I'm puzzled, this is the spot I go to for answers.



      1. MaryinColorado | | #6

        I looked up your machine at http://www.berninausa.com.  Congratulations!  It seems to have alot of nice features that you will have alot of fun with!  Yahoo!  Very cool!  Good luck on your potholders. 

        Sometimes I use Sulky KK 2000 Spray Adhesive to keep layers together and prevent shifting.  I put the item in a cardboard box so it doesn't get the spray on the carpet.  I'm very sensitive to most but this one doesn't bother me.  It only lasts about a day on the fabric and is easy to reposition layers and respray if necessary.  Don't get the sprays on other items. 

        Also maybe work from the middle of the potholder out toward the edges when quilting. 

  5. sewchris703 | | #7

    I've not used Insul Brite but I've not had any shifting with 2 layers of Warm and Natural. I use quilt squares for the top layer, 2 layers of Warm and Natural, either a coordinating print for the bottom layer or muslin. Machine quilt and bind the edges. I use safety pins to keep all the layers together as I machine quilt. I like my pot holders on the large size so I make them 9".Chris

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