Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Tutorial: Magic Squares Tutorial

As promised, here is the "Magic Squares Potholder" tutorial.  Directions are from Susie Q, the same fun quilter who brought us "Susie's Magic Binding."

Here's what you'll need:

  • (1) 8 1/2" square fabric for the back
  • (4) 8 1/2" squares fabric for the front (2 each in coordinating fabrics)
  • (1) 2" X 6" strip of fabric for the loop (optional)
  • (1) 4" square contrasting fabric for the "eye"
  • (1) 8 1/2" square Insul-Brite interfacing
  • (1) 8 1/2" square COTTON batting (optional)
  • Water soluble glue (I use Roxanne Glue-Baste-It)
  • Matching or contrasting COTTON thread
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Walking foot (optional)

Before we begin, why? you ask, do I shout COTTON?  Because polyester batting conducts heat (ask me how I know this) and polyester or nylon thread will melt.  'nuff said.

1.  Center 4" square of "eye" fabric on batting if you're using it, on Insul-Brite if you're not using batting.  The Insul-Brite people recommend a layer of cotton batting in addition to the Insul-Brite, because Insul-Brite is "heat-resistant" not "heat-proof."  I didn't use the additional layer of batting. Be sure the "shiny" side of the Insul-Brite is toward the back side of your hot pad!

Use Glue-Baste-It to secure "eye" or machine baste around the square.

2.  Make loop.  Press 2 1/2" X 6" strip of fabric in half lengthwise.  Fold each long side to the center fold and press.

  • Top stitch along each long edge (twice if you're Mary).

  • Fold loop in half to form a 3" loop, set aside.

4.  Fold each of the four top layer fabrics in half diagonally and press.  Set aside.

5.  Layer all fabrics in this order:
  • Batting (if using)
  • Insul-Brite with "eye" side down.
  • 8 1/2" square backing fabric, right side up.
  • Loop, raw edges aligned with top raw edge of back.  You can either center the loop, as we did, or place it at least 3/4" from the corner.  pin in place.

  •  Now layer the top four triangles so the apex of a triangle is in each corner of the back.  

  • Slip the edge of the second triangle under the first, the third under the second, the fourth under the third and the first under the fourth.  This will form an "X" in the center.

6.  Pin all layers together and stitch through all layers at approximately 3/8" - 1/2". Trim seam and corners.

7.  Turn everything inside out, using a crochet hook, "purple thang" or whatever comes to hand to push out corners. 

8.  Press so edges are flush with each other, then top stitch outer edges. 

9.  Fold back centers of top edges to form a "cathedral window" opening and pin in place.

10.  Top stitch along curved edges.

11.  Hang and admire!

Thanks, Susie, for the great pattern.  And thanks, Mary, for being my pattern tester!

From the desk of your


  1. These are fabulous, love this design! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I can actually say that I made some of these a few months ago!!! If I can do it, ANYONE can! Thanks for the tutorial. :o) I was trying to explain this to a lady who works at a local quilt shop that I visited today. You can also make coasters or "wine" coozies with charm packs using similar steps (just fold the squares in half rather than making triangles).

  3. Boy am I ever grateful you posted this! Today I am sitting down, enjoying the Sabbath, and I decided to sew some gifts. I started to lay out my potholders and forgot if the backing was right side up, etc. LOL Thank goodness I have this to refer back to as a template! I haven't sewn any potholders since March, and I have found with sewing, if you don't do it often enough, you forget certain steps.

    God bless and have a restful Sunday, Aunt Marti! You are my new favorite blog! :)


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