Last minute Christmas ideas…tutorial on making a pot holder or trivet from fabric…

It’s getting closer to Christmas every day that goes by and I had a last minute gift idea for those of you who like to wait till the last minute… (who me?) Seriously, I have been known to be cross stitching up in my bedroom while everyone else was downstairs visiting… not fun!

This is an easy tutorial and can be done using any kind of panel prints you have or even just pretty fabrics…the techniques are the same. It is the same process whether you are making coasters, potholders or even a wall hanging… I had this panel of gingerbread people in random squares and decided to do my trivet using it.


I cut out the squares that I thought I’d like using the border around each square as my guide. I pressed the wrinkles out of them, and then picked a pretty bright green fabric from my stash for the backing, that I thought would work well with the colors in the prints…


Next I laid my prints on top of the green and cut a piece of fabric larger than my print…no need to be exact; just cut it roughly 1 inch or so bigger than your print.


If you want to make a potholder that is actually heat resistant, you might try Insul-Bright from JoAnn Fabrics. It’s that silvery fabric that resembles ironing board covers. I have used it before on some potholders I made for gifts. I tried to add a link so you could see it, but it wouldn’t work…I didn’t have any this time, so my tutorial will proceed without using it, but just wanted to let you know about it.

Next lay your print on a piece of fleece, batting, flannel layers…whatever you have and pin it in place. You can make it several thicknesses of fleece if you want. Cut around it randomly so it’s a bit larger than your print.


Now thread your machine with a thread color that is compatible with the background you will be stitching on. I chose a soft yellowish color since the background of my prints are that color… set your machine to a slightly smaller stitch and begin stitching around the design in your print… I did mine about 1/4″ or so away from the design…no need to be precise…just stitch around the whole design.


It should look something like this when you are finished…


Trim off the fleece even with your border…and very carefully trim off the corners ONLY OF THE FLEECE about 1/4″ at a diagonal… this keeps your corners from being bulky…



Next trim off your threads where you started and stopped, or better yet, pull them through to the backside and tie them off…
Then flip your PRINT design face side down so it’s “kissing” the RIGHT side of your backing print.


Then stitch around the piece, using your sewing machine “foot” as a guide along the fleece. Make sure to leave about a 2″ opening somewhere along the design. You can see I left an opening at the bottom of my piece.


Next you’ll want to carefully trim away the backing fabric everywhere even with the rest of the piece EXCEPT where you have your opening. This just gives you some extra fabric to tuck inside when you close it up…


Now you can carefully turn the whole piece so the outside shows. This is the fun part…seeing what it’s going to look like.


I generally use a crochet hook to carefully push my corners out… see…by trimming away that tiny bit of fleece at the corners you can have wonderfully precise pointed corners…


Flip it face side down and using your iron push the backing just a little bit to the back side so it doesn’t show so much from the front. It’s not super important, but it does look neater from the front side if you have the backing so it doesn’t show.


Take that little 2″ section and tuck it inside and press it flat, then whip stitch it shut…



I decided to stitch around the brown edging on my print… you can do this on yours if you have a border, or if you don’t, just stitch the same distance away from the edge all the way around.


Here’s the back side….


…and here’s my finished trivet, potholder or coaster… whatever you want to use it for…


Okay, now who’s going to give it a try? Just don’t wait till Christmas Eve…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings and Merry Christmas,
~ Jeanne

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  1. Great Little tutorial! I think I may have some Christmas fabric to use up too!

    • Hi Kathie,
      If you’re a fabric “hoarder” like I am, no doubt you have some fabric!!!
      Thanks for reading,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Charlotte Trayer says:

    You do a great tutorial, Jeanne, with nice close-up pictures of the details (such as where you cut away the corner of batting but not the fabric).

    I have made potholders, too (although not as cute as these!), and I did make sure all my materials (batting as well as fabrics) were 100% cotton, since polyester will melt at high temperatures. I have a purchased potholder whose outer fabric is at least part poly, and it has a couple of holes melted in it. I may remove the cover and put a new cover on it, as the batting does seem to be cotton, so I may as well reuse it, right?! LOL

    Sometimes I use spray adhesive to keep the layers from shifting when I am quilting, too. Not everyone likes those, though, and you do have to make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area.

    • Thanks Charlotte,
      I was going to make them anway, so I thought why not make a tutorial of it. I only wish I could have gotten the link to work for the Insul-Bright fabric, so everyone could have seen it. Well, I’m off to get my house finished as I have a party tomorrow night… you’d never know it though…
      Blessings to you and Merry Christmas,

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