Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chenille Potholders

These are pot holders that I make from recycled clothing. I used a old pair of jeans and a old shirt. The only important thing to remember when deciding what to use is to make sure that the fabric content is 100% cotton. Cotton, when cut on the bias will frey readily, giving it the desired chenille effect and it will not melt like polyester or other synthetic fibers will.
Cut the jeans open on the inside of the leg seam to lay them flat. I used 6 inch squares, but the size you choose depends on the size jeans you are using, and the desired finished product. Each pot holder has four squares of jeans for the center, one square for top, and one square for back. In the picture you can see that I used a square of jeans for the top for the pot holder on the left, and a square of the striped fabric (from the old shirt) for the pot holder on the right. I used squares of striped fabric for the back of both of them. Set the backs aside. Layer four squares of jeans and one top with right sides all facing up. With a sewing machine, sew lines a half inch apart. Sew diagonally from tip to opposite tip first. Then turn the potholder around sew the next line across. Sew all lines on one side, then the other side, turning the pot holder each time a line is sewn. If you sew all lines in the same direction, the material will "walk" on you, and you will have a twisted potholder that is not the size you wanted.
After all lines are sewn, the hard part begins. With sharp scissors, cut thru the top and three layers of jean material leaving the bottom layer intact. The cutting is done between the seam lines as centered as possible. You can cut a few layers at a time, or all four at once if your hands are strong enough.
Place the backing square on the back side and pin in place at the corners. Cut bias tape 2 1/2 inches wide (I used the sleeves of an old work shirt to make the bias). The length of bias tape needed for each pot holder is approximately one yard. Iron bias tape in half. With raw edges facing out, place the end of the bias tape at the top corner of the top side of the pot holder. Use 1/4 inch seam allowance to sew bias around the pot holder rounding corners. Make sure that the end of the bias tape is sewn across the beginning of the bias tape to the edge of the potholder so the raw edge will be hidden when tape is turned. Leave about four inches of tape at the end to make the loop.
Trim rounded corners, turn tape to the back and blind stitch it down. Continue blind stitching the extra 4 inch tail of tape and whip the end down on the back of the pot holder to form the loop.
Run pot holders thru the washer and dryer to make the cotton jeans material poof up, giving your pot holder that chenille effect. If it isn't poofy enough when it comes out of the dryer, use a brush and brush across the seam lines to help the jean fabric to frey.
I make these and sell them at a little shop in town. They are very popular and sell for $5 for a set of two. They also make nice gifts. One pair of jeans (adult size jeans) usually makes two sets of pot holders.

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