I’m Tyra, and I blog over at Ucreate Foods. I want to thank Jen so much for inviting me be here today to share this fun, easy, and practical project with all of you.
It’s the ideal sewing project, even for a beginner, and it’s the perfect gift idea for upcoming Mother’s Day, bridal showers, and graduations…make them one, or make them a whole set – they’re quick, easy, fun, and versatile!
What’s not to love? I mean, meals were bound to practically make themselves from now on with this handy helper in my kitchen! I couldn’t wait to try it out!
Well, no use sitting around feeling sorry for myself…
Because now, FINALLY, help is always right @ hand.
- 2/3 yd of 100% cotton fabric for the main body
- 20” of coordinating 100% cotton fabric for the main body lining *
- one package of coordinating 1/2” double-fold bias tape
- 1/4 yd of Insul-Bright ** (find it near battings-by-the-bolt)
- 1/3-2/3 yd of coordinating 100% cotton fabric for the inner pocket, outer pocket, and lining* of the outer pocket. You can certainly choose to use all the same print, in which case you’ll need 2/3 yd total, or you can use different prints, like I did, in which case you’ll need 1/3 yd of one print and 2/3 yd of the other.
The pattern pieces for your pockets are available to download for free from 4shared here and here. In an effort to keep this tutorial from becoming frighteningly long despite the simplicity of the project, instructions for simple assembly of the pattern pieces are posted today over at Ucreate Foods.
Once you have the two pattern pieces put together, Here are your all your cuts:
- One 20”x30” rectangle, cut from your main fabric, for the main body. I used a fun, sort of retro looking large-apple-and-pear print in this example, but you can use any 100% cotton fabric you like…be sure to check out all my variations at the end of this post.
- One 18”X28” rectangle, cut from a coordinating fabric (100% cotton), for the main body lining*. I used a tiny paisley.
- Two small cones, cut using pattern piece A (I used a brown stripe in this example), for the inner portion of the pocket.
- Two small cones, cut using pattern piece A from Insul-Bright**, for the insulation component of the inner pocket. THIS IS IMPORTANT! DON’T LEAVE THIS PART OUT!
- Two large cones, cut using pattern piece B (I used the brown stripe in this example), for the lining of the outer pocket
- Two large cones, cut using pattern piece B (I used a cute fruity polka dot in this example), for the outer pocket
- two 16.5” lengths of coordinating double-fold bias tape
- One 4” strip of coordinating double-fold bias tape, for the hanging loop
- personalized tag, optional (but so stinkin’ fun!)…I used the tutorial here to make mine out of twill ribbon (near the bias tape in the fabric store) and a sheet of iron-on transfer paper
* If you’re using a fabric that is somehow double sided or – more likely – one that doesn’t have a right and wrong side, such as terrycloth or muslin, or if you don’t care about seeing the “wrong side” of your fabric on the inside of your help h@nd, you can leave the 18”x28” liner piece and the lining of the outer pocket out altogether. I did this on my purple terrycloth version, way at bottom. It makes the project even easier and quicker than it already is!
**If you’re not familiar with Insul-Brite, here’s a visual. It’s kind of like a slim batting, but one side has a reflective lining on it. That reflective lining should be sewn toward your source of heat. It helps block the heat from reaching your hands. Very important. Very simple. Very absent, Rachael!
Part 1: The Functionality
Start with your four small cones. Consider the reflective surface the “right” side of the Insul-Bright. You want to sew the Insul-Bright so that the reflective surface faces toward the right side of the fabric you’re using for your inner pocket.
This is important because you want the heat-reflective side of the Insul-Bright to end up facing the source of heat (your pot or pan!). Sew your Insul-Bright to your fabric RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER around the curve only. Leave the straight edges alone for now.
Now, turn it right sides out and press.
Lay your main body piece out flat, right side down, then layer your lining piece on top of it, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, centered so that you have a margin of about 1” all the way around. That is to say, you can see about 1” of the wrong side of your main body piece all the way around underneath your lining piece.
Now, lay your inner pocket + insulation piece (the one you just sewed around the curve only) down on the main body piece, lining it up with the corners of the liner (or about 1” from the outside edges of the main body piece if you’re not placing a lining), and pin all four layers together. Be sure the reflective layer of Insul-Bright faces the main body piece. Not to harp, but I know first hand what will happen without insulation.
Do this in any two kitty corners of the main body, so that you have this:
Now, sew that curve again, with about a 1/8” seam allowance, this time to attach the inner pocket to the main body, like so:
Repeat for the other inner pocket.
Now, let’s put the outer pockets together. (When you get to the end of the tutorial, be sure & check out my variation with the ruffle around the pocket!) We’re working with both our large cones, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER.
Cut two 16.5” lengths of your bias tape.
Sew the bias tape around the pockets, along the curve only of your two large cones WRONG SIDES TOGETHER, using a 1/8” seam allowance.
Trim ends of bias tape flush, if necessary.
Repeat with the other two large cones for the other pocket.
Part 2: Assembling It
Now, lay your outer pocket down on top of your inner pocket (which, you’ll recall, you’ve already sewn along the curve to the main body piece). Line it up along the straight edges.
Your outer pocket component will overlap your inner pocket component by about an inch at the curve. This is perfect.
Pin along both straight edges, through all layers. Do this on both pockets.
Now, we’ll make our side seams…
Fold your side in about 1/2”, and press it flat along the entire length.
Then fold it over again (overlapping onto the pocket edges), and sew with about a 1/8” seam allowance. Do this on both sides, along the entire length of the side. This secures all side pocket components to the main body while simultaneously making your side seams.
Notice, we still haven’t touched our top or bottom seams. Just leave those pockets pinned in place there – we’ll get to the top & bottom seams soon.
Part 3: Securing the Pocket
Now, we’ll secure our pocket and fit it to our hand. I have average hands. The seams indicated on the pattern I’ve provided should be adequate for you. If you have extra large hands, you may want to move the seams out an inch or so, but the placement of the seams on the pattern is about perfect to keep the help h@nd where you want it when you’re using it to remove a hot pan.
Pull Pattern Piece B back out. See those little blue dashes on the pattern (there are four)?
Place your pattern on top of your pocket, lining it up at the corners and edges. Then, line a straight edge up along those dashes…
Fold your pattern up onto the straight edge, and use your fabric pencil to mark a line along the straight edge onto the fabric.
Now remove your straight edge and pattern.
…and sew along the lines.
These seams help hold the help h@nd nicely around your hands while you’re trying to take a hot pan out of the oven, and they keep the pocket from gaping open when it’s hanging.
Part 4: Finishing
We’re almost done…let’s just put our hanging loop & label (if desired) on there!
Sew along the open edge of your little 4” piece of bias tape, using a 1/8” seam allowance.
Take the strip, lay it down RIGHT SIDE UP, and fold up 1” of one end at a 90 degree angle, like so:
…and press. Do the same on the other end.
Fold top of main body piece down 1/2” and press. Just like you did on the sides before.
Find the center of the main body piece by folding it in half (sides together) and placing a pin right at the fold on the lining side.
Open it back up. Now that pin marks the center. Center your loop on either side of your pin.
Make sure each side of the loop will be caught under your next 1/2” fold (when you make your final seam) and pin in place at both ends. Now’s also the time to place your tag, if you want one. These tags are so fun and easy, and they add a cute, personal touch to any hand-made gift. I also like to attach them to anything that I make for my kids, in hopes that one day they’ll discover that all their most treasured possessions have this one little thing in common.
Clip the corners of your side seams at a 45 degree angle before folding and sewing your top & bottom seams. This will just make a prettier, more square seam at the corners.
Now, just fold that edge over another 1/2”, overlapping onto the top of the pocket, and sew in place along the entire length, using a 1/8” seam allowance. Repeat on the bottom seam.
I like to come back and reinforce the seam right over that hanging loop, just in case somebody tugs a little too hard on there.
You’re done! Now go make dinner!
Step 5: Use It!
(So sorry the background noise is like the Duggars at the zoo…it’s really only just two hungry kids & a pair of bossy dogs!)
Step 6: Make A Hundred More!
This is such a fast & easy project! I love it because you can modify the dimensions slightly to accommodate your fabric stash.
Here’s one I did entirely out of terrycloth. It’s one of my favorites. It’s also a little less than 18” in that dimension. I used a purple terrycloth remnant that I found, and I only had enough fabric to make it 16”x28”. This variation comes together a few minutes more quickly because you don’t have to cut a liner or outer pocket liner.
Here’s one I did out to use up some flannel scraps I had. The flannel is surprisingly absorbent, and I love it because it’s so soft. And cute…I’m a total sucker for paisley!
And here’s one that I did from my stash of simple muslin. I made this one to match my Frills Over Thrills apron, and I just love the variation of the ruffle instead of bias tape on the pocket. It really only takes a few minutes longer to make that sweet little ruffle.
The next one I make, I want to do an monogrammed applique on the pocket – won’t that be fun?
Once you get one of these made (please send me a picture!), you’ll never want to be in your kitchen without one. I usually have two out at once, and I have almost an entire drawer dedicated to my help h@nds. I so hope you enjoy making and using these as much as I do!
I do hope you get a chance to visit me over at Ucreate Foods one of these days… Since Ucreate Foods is primarily a feature blog, I’m looking forward to receiving your emails and your recipe submissions for possible future features! That will help me get to know you, too – something I look forward to very much! Oh, and those few of you who might already know me know that whenever I do a tutorial for a project like this I usually like to follow it up by holding a giveaway for a custom-made one.
Well, the way I see it, when you lose a BFF of Rachael Ray’s caliber, you’re probably going to need to pick up at least a few replacements!
Thanks again, Jen!
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