We sewers are always looking for a new creative idea. When we discover something that works that is fun and can make our projects better, we love that kind of idea. I was making folded star hot pads the old fashioned way by drawing out my lines and measuring the center points, basting the points by hand, and felt it was time-consuming and tedious. There had to be a better way to make a folded star hot pad, so I challenged myself to figure it out.
There are things in life that have a ripple effect that move us from what we do a certain way to doing things differently forever. Take sliced bread. It was only 100 years ago that the first bread-slicing machine was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa. Within 18 years, the notion of packaging sliced bread was introduced nationwide by Wonder Bread. The entire bread market was changed by one little invention. I like to think Rohwedder invented this machine because he was tired of hand cutting his loaves of bread and needed to speed up production. Whatever his motivation, his idea changed the world.
My pattern will help everyone who wants to make a folded star hot pad. I can show you how to make it easier, better, and faster. The simple method I’ve come up with is based on a copyrighted printed interfacing template that is a ruler—a ruler that is the foundation of the hot pad itself. You do not have to measure the distance between each triangle to form the star points. You can machine sew the entire project after you position the points. You do not have to sew the star points to keep them in place until the end. You do not have to tear out the foundation. All of these shortcuts make the hot pad easy, accurate, fast to make, and a project that will be successful for almost everyone—even beginners.
It is so exciting when you have moments where “the light bulb turns on.” Many refer to these times as “Ah-ha moments.” I experienced this myself when developing the PlumEasy Folded Start Hot Pad. I get to experience this moment over and over again in my classes, as my students discovered how simple it was to make something that looked hard but turn out so easy!
During one class, a student’s star was not straight, points were crooked, and not symmetrical. Looking at it, I could see immediately that she had made the first layer of triangles crooked so that the rest of the layers accentuated the error. I told her that it was not a problem; we proceeded to pull it apart and glue it down again straight. All of the students were watching me and their reaction was stunned silence. It was an “Ah-ha” moment. They had no idea you could redo it if it wasn’t right. But since they were using washable glue that comes apart easily, they didn’t need to be afraid to start over if they made a mistake or even if they wanted to change the color of the fabric or the order of the layers.
So What Makes My Method Different?
Tips and Tricks
There are a few Do’s and Don’ts for a hot pad project.
- Read the pattern instructions completely before starting. This will have your fabric requirements and many more sewing instructions. Note that the refill interfacing packs do not contain the pattern.
- Select fabric that has high contrast and does not have too large a print. For the inner layers, only ½” shows so consider that when selecting fabric. Solids or tone-on-tone are great.
- Cut your fabric accurately and fold/iron your triangles as perfectly as possible.
- Trim frayed edges if they have hanging threads.
- Spray starch the triangles if they will not stay flat or are puffy.
- Leave a small space in each triangle fold for stitching.
- Use a fresh washable glue stick and not a rubbery one that is dried out.
- Consider the over/under position of the triangles and make them consistent.
- Look at your hot pad before sewing it and make sure you are happy with it. You can tear it apart and glue it again if you made mistakes. It will go faster the second time.
- If possible, use a walking foot.
- Don’t stretch the binding strip at all, but pin it in place gently.
- Don’t let your binding strip hang loose and sew it on as you go; pin it in place and it will not stretch. Sewing it on with it hanging loose will cause it to stretch as you try to ease a straight strip into a circular shape. If you sew it like that, the round hot pad will not lay flat.
Embellishments or Alternate Designs
- Add rick-rack before binding
- Mix up your fabrics, for example, try a rainbow effect
- Try moving the spacing between layers to add or subtract for emphasis
- Make the hot pad scrappy
- Use crazy fabric on the back
And a couple last DO’s…
- Buy extra foundation interfacing templates to make more hot pads. They are sold 3 in a pack at FabricDepot.com Once you learn how to make these, you will get addicted and want to make them for everyone.
- Be creative and make your hot pads surprising and fun. See some fun examples below or at PlumEasyPatterns.com’s gallery of pictures.
Bread has been around for 1000′s of years, but only 100 years ago someone figured out how to slice it. The folded star hot pad has been around for decades but we’ve figured out how to make it easy, fast, and better than ever. We hope you’ll give it a try!
|Scrappy Smaller Sized Hot Pad
|Monochromatic with only three layers.|
For additional information, visit our website and go through our online tutorial at: www.plumeasypatterns.comDeborah Miller of PlumEasy Patterns is the pattern designer and creator of
the foundation interfacing template for making the EASY Folded Star Hot Pad.
PlumEasy Patterns is based in Modesto, California.