Here's a fun way to make a great set of matching pot holders. For this tutorial, I'm using a super basic sketch of a pear, but I also like to make these by tracing around a cute cookie cutter. Then I can give them as a gift with the matching cookie cutter.
Here's what you'll need to make (2) Pear pot holders:
2 coordinating fabrics for main pieces (enough to get a 9" square plus an applique shape from each)
scraps for leaves, stems and cores
Fat quarter for backing
fabric for binding (2) 2-1/4" X 40" strips
(2) 9" squares of insulating material such as Insul-Bright
(2) 9" squares of batting
Start out by sketching a pear (Christmas tree, snowflake, or any shape that's symmetrical). Even a small cookie cutter can work - just trace around the outside and then enlarge it on your copier. Once you have the shape drawn, carefully cut it out and then cut it in half down the center. Tape the 2 halves to a piece of paper, leaving a generous 1/2" for seam allowances in between the two pieces:
Next trace (2) of the new wider pear shapes onto a piece of steam-a-seam, following the directions on the package. I also traced my stems, cores and leaves.
Cut around the shapes and fuse the pears to each of your 2 different main fabrics. Cut and fuse the stems, cores and leaves also. Cut out shapes. Cut (2) 8" squares of the main fabrics. Here are all my pieces cut out:
To fuse pears to main fabrics, fold the 8" squares in half diagonally and lightly press. Center one pear on the diagonal line of a contrasting square. Measure the distance from the top corner of the square down to the top edge of the pear. Center the other pear on the remaining square the same distance down from the top. Fuse.
Cut the squares in half on the fold and switch half of each as pictured below. Fuse the pear core to one half of each pear.
With right sides together, pin so pears line up. Stitch with 1/4" seam allowance. Press seams open and fuse leaves and stems. Stitch around applique with satin stitch or blanket stitch to finish edges:
Layer a piece of backing, the Insul-Bright, a square of batting and the appliqued piece. Pin and stitch around the outer edge of the applique to quilt the pot holder. Trim to 7-1/2" square.
To add binding with a loop, prepare your binding strip by folding in half lengthwise and pressing. Start with one edge even with the top point of the pot holder.
Stitch to attach binding as usual around 3 sides and then pause with the needle down to hold the pot holder in place.
Turn the first 3" or so of binding to the back side and pin well. Place your pins so you can remove one as you stitch over the binding.
Then finish attaching binding, stitching right off the edge, through the folded binding piece.
Here's what it looks like on the back:
Remove pot holder from sewing machine and hand-stitch the binding to the backside, continuing to hand-stitch the excess tail about 4" to 4-1/2". (Don't trim the tail piece yet) The tail is what forms the loop to hang the pot holder.
Starting with the tail section, machine stitch the binding to make it extra secure.
As you come around to the last side, cut the tail where you started stitching and then stitch all the way to the end.
Fold the tail around into a loop shape and pin.
Turn pot holder over and stitch and back stitch a couple of times to secure the loop:
Then they should look like this :)
For cookie cutters, just remember they should be symmetrical - the ones in the photo below are all good, except the dove on the right:
Here's a favorite of mine - the Gingerbread Man:
A fun gift idea is to add a roll of your own pre-made cookie dough to a gift basket with a couple of pot holders and the cookie cutter. That would sure help a friend out with the holiday baking!