How to Sew Microwaveable Bowl Potholders

microwaveable bowl holders

The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Overview
  • Total Time: 60 mins
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Microwaveable bowl holders go in the microwave with bowls in them, so you can safely remove a hot dish without having to maneuver a potholder around an awkwardly sized hot bowl. Plus, they're so cute that you can even serve meals in them. They're great for holding hot dishes when you're not eating at a dining table, such as while watching television. They're also washable in case of spills. This project requires intermediate sewing skills and about an hour. You can sew just one or a whole stack in colors and patterns that fit your style. They can even make adorable and functional small gifts for your friends and family. 

Warning

It's important to make these potholders from 100% cotton to avoid any risk of fire or melting in the microwave. Always preshrink your fabric, so it won't change in size after being washed.

Fabric, thread, and a rotary cutter, the supplies for making your own microwave safe bowl holder
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson 

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Marking tool
  • Sewing machine
  • Eyelet tool or another punching tool
  • Pins
  • Iron and ironing board

Materials

  • Posterboard or cardstock
  • Cotton batting
  • Cotton fabric
  • Cotton thread

Instructions

  1. Make a Template

    A template isn't a necessity, especially if you're only making one or two bowl holders. But if you plan to make several, the template will save you time marking each piece.

    Cut out a square from posterboard or cardstock for the size of bowl holder you'll be making. The examples in this project are made with 10-inch squares, but you can make other sizes based on your bowls. Rotary cutting tools are helpful to make perfect squares.

    On each side of the square make the following markings:

    • For a 10-inch square: Mark 4, 5, and 6 inches from the ends on each side, and mark 2 1/4 inches toward the center of the square at the center 5-inch mark.
    • For a 12-inch square: Mark 5, 6, and 7 inches from the ends on each side, and mark 2 1/2 inches toward the center 6-inch mark.
    • For a 14-inch square: Mark 6, 7, and 8 inches from the ends on each side, and mark 2 3/4 inches toward the center 7-inch mark.

    Now, use an eyelet or another punching tool (or even a large needle) to punch the marks you made on the square, with the edge marking holes about 1/4 inch from the edge.

    The reusable bowl holder template
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson 
  2. Cut and Mark the Pieces

    For each bowl potholder, you'll need to cut out two fabric squares and two batting squares. Use rotary cutting tools for accuracy. Stack like colors together, so you can change your sewing machine thread color as infrequently as possible.

    On each square of batting, transfer the markings from your template. Place the template on top of a batting square, aligning all the edges. Use a fine tip marker that is close to the color fabric you're using, a vanishing ink fabric marker, or tailor's chalk. Place the tip of the fabric marking tool through each hole on the template, marking the batting in the process. Continue through the pile of batting squares until they are all marked.

    Cut and marked bowl holder pieces
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson 
  3. Quilt the Layers

    Pick up a fabric square and a batting square. Place the batting on the wrong side of the fabric, aligning all the edges.

    Sew across each square starting at the center marking and going through the mark from the edge to the opposite side. Repeat to sew across both sides of the fabric, forming a cross that intersects in the center of the square. If you need assistance sewing a straight line across the fabric, set up a sewing machine seam guide.

    As an optional step, you can sew from each corner to the opposite corner for added quilting.

    Without putting the batting and fabric square down, fold the fabric so the right sides are together along one of the first quilting lines.

    Then, sew from the marking that is 1 inch from the top center marking to the center marking that is several inches from the edge, creating a dart. Although you don't normally backstitch at the end of a dart, in this case backstitched darts secure the pointed end of the dart, as the batting absorbs any bulk that the backstitching might create. Plus, it's much faster than tying off the thread ends. 

    Without unfolding the fabric, sew the dart on the opposite edge of the fabric.

    Next, unfold the fabric, and fold the other quilted line. Repeat to sew the darts in the ends of the remaining sides of the fabric.

    Set the sewn fabric aside, and repeat until your entire pile of like-colored fabric is sewn to this point.

    Sew the batting and fabric and form darts
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson
  4. Press and Trim the Darts

    With the fabric sides up, press all of the darts in one direction.

    Trim each dart to about a 1/4-inch seam. After the darts are trimmed, nest each one with the chosen opposite side, so you will have them together for the next step.

    Press the darts and trim them
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson
  5. Join the Pieces

    Place two quilted pieces with the fabric right sides together. Using straight pins, match the darts as you would ​​match a seam intersection. Align the remaining edges, and pin together.

    Start sewing on one edge just before a dart, using the pressure foot as a seam guide for an approximately 1/4-inch seam allowance. Sew around the edges, pivoting at the corners and stopping just past the last corner, so there is an opening to turn the fabric right side out. Trim the corners.

    Continue sewing the sets until they are all complete.

    Sew the layers of the bowl holder together
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson 
  6. Press and Stitch the Bowl Holders

    Turn each bowl holder right side out, and push out the corners.

    Press to open the seams. Where the opening is, press so the seam allowance is tucked in and pressed under evenly as if it were sewn.

    Topstitch the entire top edge of the bowl holder close to the edge, so the opening is sewn closed and the entire top edge is held in place. Change your sewing machine thread as needed depending on your fabric color choices.

    Topstitch in microwaveable bowl holders
    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

Tips for Making Bowl Holders

  • Before you turn the bowl holders right side out, take a quick look at all the edges to be sure you caught all the layers of fabric in a seam. Resew if necessary.
  • To turn the bowl holders right side out, place your thumb and index finger into the part you left open and reach for the farthest corner. Pull that corner through the opening, and the rest will follow.
  • Use two different prints or colors for a pretty visual effect.
  • Keep your topstitching straight and an even distance from the edge of the potholder by using a guide on the presser foot or the machine bed rather than watching the needle. 
A stack of completed microwave-safe bowl holders
The Spruce / Mollie Johanson