I’m super excited to be writing my first crafting post for you all. I haven’t even begun cutting and sewing but I am already having more fun just feeling as if my readers (aka. my mom and boyfriend for now) are crafting with me. I’ve been wanting to get a group of friends together for a weekly or monthly crafting party where we can all DIY in one space. Being with other people makes the process that much more fun and makes me feel less guilty for spending hours alone in my room with sewing machine in hand.
For today’s project, I’m going to be making oven mitts as a belated Father’s Day gift (sorry dad…). I have never made oven mitts before and have yet to use insulated batting in a sewing project so I’m pumped to see how this turns out.
For those of you unfamiliar to sewing, batting is a cotton padding that goes between layers of fabric to add some weight, cushion and structure. Insulated batting is used when making things that need to resist heat. If you are new to sewing, don’t be intimidated by batting. I’m a six month old sewer who used to be afraid of the batting and polyfill section in the craft store. I finally faced my fears last week and purchased my first batting to make placemats (more on that to come). The placemats came out great and the batting was super easy to work with on my machine. I even bought extra so I can make my first quilt soon.
When venturing to do crafts, I could scroll Pinterest for hours. I am a pretty indecisive person in general so an overwhelming amount of choices is not good for me. I end up spending hours searching for what I’d like to make instead of actually making something. My antidote: books! I was never a reader as a kid–which probably explains why I didn’t frequent the public library–but that place is a treasure trove of craft ideas. Stumbling upon sewing books in the library was like stumbling upon a gold mine. There are enough projects to feel like I have options but not too many to overwhelm me. I currently have Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay checked out and am going to be sewing today’s project using her “Two at a Time Oven Mitt” pattern. I am tweaking her recipe a bit and will take you through the steps I am taking to the finished product!
Step 1: Pick your fabric! Perusing the fabric store is one of my favorite parts of sewing. I have to hold myself back from buying all the fabric I see and stick just to what I need for the project at hand (unless there is a really great deal…).
I had trouble narrowing down which color I wanted to use for the bias tape that lines the edges of the mitt. I ended up going with the bronze gold on the left. I bought the maroon fabric with the writing “Coffee, work, wine, repeat” as a remnant piece for about 40 cents the other day and wanted that to be the focal piece of the oven mitt. I played around with a few different fabrics that could serve as the back and lining of the oven mitt and found this awesome calico print! It’s called “Keepsake Calico IP Peacock Feathers” for anyone interested in using it (it’s on sale online right now too!). I love it–and bought a bit extra to make something for myself later.
All in all, I bought 1/2 a yard of the peacock print, 1/2 yard of the bronze gold, and a 1/2 yard of insul-bright insulated batting. I already had my “Coffee, work, wine, repeat” piece and some cotton batting at home. I used about 9″ by 15″ of my “Coffee, etc.” fabric and about 9″x35″ of my cotton batting.
Step 2: Fabric cutting time! Virginia Lindsay’s “Two at a Time Oven Mitt” pattern is genius if you want to make a quick set of oven mitts. Of course, I have chosen to complicate things. Instead of cutting four pieces total, I am going to cut eight because I want to use different fabrics for the back and front of my mitt as well as different fabrics for the front and back linings. Pictured below are the four pieces I cut for the back part of the oven mitt:
- 9″x20″ piece of exterior fabric (peacock)
- 9″x20″ piece of insulated batting
- 9″x20″ piece of regular cotton batting
- 9″20″ piece of lining fabric (peacock again)
Next, I am cutting the front piece that becomes the pocket for your hand to go in. Considering you don’t see the fabric lining the front piece, I am cutting a plain color (pictured below) instead of wasting the patterned fabric. Make sure to cut your exterior fabric carefully if the fabric should be seen in a specific direction. I messed up cutting the “Coffee, etc.” fabric initially by cutting so the words read horizontally. I then realized they would read sideways on the finished product. It all good though, I have since recut and moved on.
Here is a picture of the front piece cuts:
- 9″x15″ piece of exterior fabric (maroon “Coffee, work, wine, repeat”)
- 9″x15″ piece of insulated batting
- 9″x15″ piece of regular cotton batting
- 9″15″ piece of lining fabric (plain red)
With conceptualizing and cutting complete, let’s get the show on the road.
Step 3: Fabric sandwich! Lay your pieces on top of each other in this order: exterior fabric right side down, then insulated batting, then regular batting, then lining right side up. You will end up with two separate sandwiches if you do it my way. Yum!
Step 4: Pin! It’s time to pin those sandwiches together so that we can start sewing. I am using safety pins to go through all layers. Thank you Shea Henderson of School of Sewing who taught me that on my placemat project.
Step 5: Now you are ready to sew/quilt through the layers. Using my walking foot, I am going to sew curved lines through both pieces. I don’t care for perfect curves so I am improvising here. The curves are a bit funky and misshapen, but look awesome in the end (you can’t really mess up here). I will definitely be playing around more with squiggly quilting lines in the future.
Step 6: Cut and strut! Cut the fabric sandwiches in half as I have done pictured below and then clean up the edges so that the final proportions on the peacock fabric squares are 8.5″x10″ and the final proportions on the maroon fabric squares are 8.5″x7″.
Step 7: Make your bias tape. Blahhh. I hate having to pause to make bias tape when the end seems so near, but it is necessary. I am going to cut three 2.25″ x width of my fabric strips to make my bias tape. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make bias tape for those that are curious. If you start following the tutorial right after the video about halfway down the page, that’s how I make my bias tape. I’m pretty sure I don’t make it exactly right, but I’m fine with that for now.
Step 8: Attach bias tape to top edge of maroon squares. I am folding my bias tape around the top edge of the fabric square, pinning, and sewing across using my machine.
Step 9: Pin front piece to back piece and cut pieces into oval shape. I have pinned the front and back pieces together with safety pins and am using Virginia Lindsay’s pattern to create the shape of the mitts. However, you can easily make your own pattern by cutting out a paper oval shape, placing the paper on top of the squares and cutting the excess fabric around the edges. Now the mitts are really coming together!
Step 10: Baste the pieces together. I have sewn around the edges using a basting stitch (aka. a straight stitch at the maximum stitch length on my machine) to secure the front piece to the back piece before binding all around to create the finished piece.
Step 11: Finish by binding the edges! I have used two different methods for binding (one on each mitt). I made the first mitt and realized it looked a bit sloppy so attempted a different binding technique for the second. The first method I used is to sandwich the bias tape around the edges with paper clips and sew all around. However, the bias tape is bunchy and a bit funny around the edges. It still looks okay as a finished product, just not as clean as I’d like… I used a different binding technique for the second mitt which I like much more. I pinned one side of the bias tape all around, sewing one side up (as pictured below). Then I folded the rest of the bias tape around to the backside of the mitt and sewed it down using my machine. It is neater and easier. Wahoo for new techniques! Dana of Made Everyday seems to use both techniques too.
And walah! Five hours later and I have two beautiful, fun and funky oven mitts! Having these two under my belt, I’m pretty sure I could shorten the process to about 2 hours next time (and hopefully even shorter with more experience). I had some glitches with cutting, binding and figuring out how to deviate from Virginia Lindsay’s pattern to meet my design needs. It’s all a part of the process and fun. Can’t wait to make a set of these for myself! Hope you enjoy them Dad!