How to make String Pieced Potholders (Quilted Potholder)

Everyone needs potholders!  It is an indispensable item in any kitchen.  You can never have too many. 

Our tutorial, today, is on how quick and easy it is to sew potholders with leftover jelly roll strips from other projects using string piecing. Our DIY potholder pattern is a generous size so it can be used as a hot pad to protect the table.

Whether you are replacing old wore out potholders, looking for a unique personalized gift or simply practicing your sewing and quilting skills, sewing this potholder is a simple process that yields wonderful results.String Pieced Potholder Tutorial

Pot Holder DIY

Spruce up your kitchen by sewing new potholder / hot pads.  Our simple free quilted potholder pattern doesn’t require binding tape, so it’s easy enough for anyone to make.

This potholder pattern is a great way to use up leftover jelly roll scraps.  If you don't have jelly roll scraps, you can still make it by cutting strips yourself.  You will find instructions later in this article.

You'll also need a small piece of backing fabric, cotton batting and insulated batting.   Keep in mind the insulated batting will protect your hand but you cannot put it in the microwave because of the metalized fiber.

Want more free potholder tutorials and patterns? Our DIY Potholder / Pot Pad Pattern page has many waiting for you to try.

Learn how to make this quilted potholder pattern by watching our video Or keep reading this post for a step-by-step photo tutorial.

Printable PDF Version - Keep reading for a free version of this tutorial. If you would like to purchase an ad free printable version of this tutorial, please visit our Etsy Shop listing for How to make String Pieced Potholders (Quilted Potholder). For a small fee, you can purchase a PDF downloadable version of this tutorial.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to make String Pieced Potholders (Quilted Potholder) to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.



You'll be creating the string block potholder by using a stitch and flip method & the quilt as you go method.

Christmas Themed String Pieced Potholders

WHAT YOU NEED to make a potholder:

  • 2 1/2" leftover jelly roll strips (or make your own 2 1/2" strips)
  • Insul-Bright - one 11" x 11" square
  • Cotton Batting - one 11" x 11" square
  • Backing Fabric - one 10" x 10" square
  • Mary Ellen's Best Press
  • Thread
  • Scissor
  • Sewing Machine
  • Rotary Cutter and Mat
  • Square Acrylic Ruler
  • Pins

How to make your own jelly roll strips

What are jelly roll strips?  Jelly roll strips are pre-cut 2 1/2 inches wide x 42 - 45 inch strips of cotton fabric. 

Since we do not need the fabric strips that long and will be using scrap fabric to make the potholders, shorter strips can be made.  

How to cut 2 1/2" strips

  1. Press the fabric to remove any wrinkles
  2. First, you need to find one straight edge.  So, if there is no straight edge use a ruler and rotary cutter to cut one.
  3. Next, lay the ruler on top of the fabric, lining up the 2 1/2" measurement along the straight edge. Butting the rotary cutter blade right along the side of the ruler, cut the strip.
  4. Repeat the above steps to cut more strips.

How to make a potholder Finished Close up

how to sew our simple potholder

STEP 1: gathering needed materials

String Pieced Pot holder DIY Supplies Let's talk about fabric!  Start by gathering up leftover cotton jelly roll strips and iron to remove wrinkles.  One of my favorite products to help remove wrinkles is to lightly spray the fabric with Mary Ellen’s Best Press and then iron it. 

If you don't have jelly roll strips, cut your own 2 1/2" strips.  

Thermal batting such as Insul-Bright is an essential part of a safe potholder.  It's a heat-resistant batting with a layer of mylar to protect your hand from the heat.  

STEP 2: cutting

String Pieced Potholder Insulbright Backing CutCut the following pieces:

1 - 11" x 11" square from Insul-Bright
1 - 11" x 11" square from cotton batting
1 - 10" x 10" square from backing fabric

STEP 3: assembling & Sewing

String Pieced Potholder Layer Insulbright Batting Place the cotton batting square on top of the Insul-Bright square. Use sewing pins around the outside edge to keep layers together. Quilted Potholder Patterns Pin Batting Insulbright

Place one strip of fabric right side up on top of the batting, diagonally across the middle. Leave a bit hanging over the edge. String Pieced Potholder Add Strip Across Diagonal

Lay a second strip face down on top of the first strip. Again, leave a little bit hanging over the edge. String Pieced Potholder Add Next Strip

Stitch through all four layers using a 1/4” seam. String Pieced Potholder Sew Strips to Batting

STEP 4: flip and press

String Pieced Potholder Press Open SeamFlip the second strip over and either finger press or iron open.  I personally prefer to iron it open.

STEP 5: continue

String Pieced Potholder Sew Next StripContinue to add strips until the entire square is covered.

STEP 6: square it up

String Pieced Potholder All Strips SewnIt's time to trim away the excess fabric, batting and Insul-Bright to a 10-inch square.  Flip the piece so the wrong side is facing up.

Place a square acrylic ruler on top of the piece, trim the right and top edge.  (If your left-handed, trim the left and top edge.)  Rotate the block 180 degrees and align the 10-inch lines of your ruler with the newly cut edges of the block. Trim the excess fabric.

STEP 7: ZigZag

String Pieced Potholder Zig Zag EdgeOnce you have trimmed it to a 10-inch square, zigzag around the outside.  This will hold all the outside layers together and flat so they don't bunch while sewing on the backing piece.

STEP 8: assembling and sewing

String Pieced Potholder Pin BackingPlace the string pieced 10-inch square right side up on your work surface. Then, place your 10-inch backing piece on top, right side down.  The two right sides are together. Pin them together to prevent shifting of fabric and mark a 5 inch opening on one side. You will turn everything right side out through this opening.

Quilt Tip: To make sure you remember to not sew the opening section, place two pins at the beginning and two pins at the end of the opening. Refer to the above photo to see this technique.

You will be machine sewing with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  You'll be stitching one continuous line.

String Pieced Potholder Sew Around Edge

Start at the lower marking of the opening and backstitch.  Continue all the way around.  As you approach each corner, stop 1/2 inch from the corner with the needle in the down position, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric at the corners and continue stitching.  When you get to the top marking of the opening, stop and backstitch again.  

String Pieced Potholder End At Opening

String Pieced Potholder Turn Right Side Out

Note: Many potholder pattern tutorials tell you to trim the corners and sides before turning it right side out.  One thing that makes this potholder so easy is that this step is not necessary.  

STEP 9: turn right side out & Pressing

String Pieced Potholder Iron FlatNow, turn the potholder right side out through the opening; poking out the corners so they are slightly rounded.

Once your potholder is right side out, press it.  Fold, press and pin the open area seams inward; lining them up with the rest of the potholder so it can be sewn shut.  String Pieced Potholder Pin Opening Closed

STEP 10: hand sew the opening closed

String Pieced Potholder Sew Opening ClosedHand sew the opening closed using a ladder stitch.  The ladder stitch is a practically invisible stitch.  If you don't know how to do the ladder stitch, head on over to our ladder stitch tutorial.

String Pieced Potholder Opening ClosedPicture of the opening sewn closed

Step 11: Add Quilting Stitches (OPTIONAL)

For Christmas, I made a couple more potholders with a Christmas Themed Jelly Roll Strips.  These potholders have decorative stitching stitched over the seams.  

These were decorative stitches built into my Bernina machine and a varigated cotton thread. The left potholder was stitched with a star stich and the right with a feather stitch.

String Pieced Potholder - Christmas Fabrics

Woohoo!  The potholder is ready to use. String Pieced Potholder Trimmed Block

This potholder pattern doesn't have a loop.  Why? Two reasons.  First, I don't hang up my potholders and most people I know don't.  Second, this potholder is a generous size so it can be used as a hot pad.

String Pieced Potholder Finished With PotBesides personal use, these potholders make wonderful gifts.  This year for Mother's Day I made themed potholders using this pattern for the Mother's in our family. hopes you enjoyed this tutorial.  We are always happy to get feedback from our guests.  

String Pieced Potholder Tutorial FinishedHappy Sewing!

Printable PDF Version - If you would like to purchase an ad free printable version of this tutorial, please visit our Etsy Shop listing for How to make String Pieced Potholders (Quilted Potholder). For a small fee, you can purchase a PDF downloadable version of this tutorial.


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.


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