Adulting: Casserole-Sized Hot Pads

A very large, quilted hot pad in bright yellow floral fabric.

After my last few large projects, I’m in the mood for smaller, almost-instant gratification sewing. First up is something I’ve been needing for a while: an attractive hot pad that’s large enough to place under my casserole dishes. Now, I have to say: is there any greater sign of adulthood than getting excited about basic housewares like this? Does it not seem incredibly bourgeoisie to want something pretty for when I bring my casseroles to the dinner table? My teenage goth self would be disgusted. Nevertheless, this is my reality.

For some of you, this project is pretty self explanatory, but for those of you who want the details, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A 12- x 18-inch rectangle cut out of your top fabric. (I raided my stash for some Amy Butler French Wallpaper in “Mustard”.)
  • A 13- x 19-inch rectangle  of Insul-Bright
  • A 13- x 19-inch rectangle of cotton or wool batting. (Yay! I get to use up some of those larger batting scraps I have.)
  • A 14- x 20-inch rectangle of sturdy backing fabric. (I used a dark grey canvas.)
  • At least 70 inches of half-inch wide binding tape. (For this project, I used some double-fold bias tape I already had, but otherwise I’d make my own single-fold, unbiased binding. If you aren’t familiar with binding, don’t worry! There’s a link about it below.)
  • Spray baster or large curved basting pins
  • A walking foot for your sewing machine
My sewing mise-en-place. From bottom to the top: backing fabric, batting, Insul-Bright, top fabric, and binding tape.

Note: Here’s how I got the measurements above in case you’d like to modify them to accommodate a different sized dish. While my go-to pyrex casserole dish says “9 x 13” on it, it has handles on each end, actually making it about 9 inches wide by 15 inches long. Therefore, I added 3 inches of wiggle room in each dimension (12- x 18-inches) for my finished hot pad. This gives me the measurements for my top fabric. I then add 1 extra inch on both width and height (13- x 19-inches) for the two batting layers, and add 1 more inch in each dimension (14- x 20-inches) for the backing fabric.

Step 1: Marking Your Quilting Lines

With your materials all ready to go, draw your desired quilting lines in chalk or a water-soluble marking pen. I drew my quilting lines every 3 inches (parallel to the shorter edge), but you may want a different quilting pattern (maybe a grid or concentric squares?) or quilt line frequency depending upon your top fabric.

Step 2: Assembling Your Quilt Sandwich

Lay the cut piece of your backing fabric right side down on a flat surface. Smooth this piece to ensure it is lying flat.

Next, take your cotton or wool batting and center it over the backing. Again, smooth it flat.

Now, for the Insul-Bright: if you look at it, you’ll notice it has one side that is shinier than the other. Lay your Insul-Bright shiny side up on top of the batting so that their edges are aligned. (I.e. the Insul-Bright should be exactly on top of the batting and with its shiny side facing up.)

Finally, place your top fabric, right side up, onto your batting layers so that the top fabric is centered over the batting layers. (This means it should also be fairly well centered relative to the backing fabric.) Ensure that your top fabric is smoothed flat.

The quilt sandwich
The quilt sandwich. If you look closely, you can (barely!) see the quilting lines drawn on the top fabric.

Now, you can either pin-baste or spray-baste your quilt sandwich. Given how many layers we have, I thought pinning would be hard work, so I did a quick spray-baste between the layers.

If you prefer to pin-baste, you’ll want to use large, curved safety pins. Start at the center of the quilt and pick up all 4 layers on your pin. Then, pin outward in a circular pattern every 4 or so inches and making sure to almost reach the edges. (Given that this is a very small piece, you don’t have to go crazy with the pinning.)

Step 3: Quilt and Trim

Using your sewing machine’s walking foot, sew from one edge to the other along your quilting lines (assuming you are using a straight line pattern.)

The hot pad after quilting.

Once you’ve finished the quilting step, trim off the extra batting and backing to just match up to the edges of your top fabric.

The hot pad after quilting and trimming.

Step 4: Machine Sew Your Binding Tape & You’re Done!

If you aren’t already comfortable binding, I’m going to point you to this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew (which is much better than anything I could write up.) Once you’re done binding, you’re finished!

My finished hot pad plus casserole dish (for scale).
My 9×13 pyrex casserole dish. Sadly, the house elves didn’t magically fill it with a delicious dinner.
And here's the back.
And here’s the back. I had the bobbin thread match the backing fabric, but NBD if you don’t do this.

One final caveat: while this is fairly thick and insulated, I can’t guarantee it will fully protect your favorite Aunt Mabel’s heirloom dining room table. If you are really concerned about heat damage, use an extra trivet underneath.

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