After a fairly long period of time filled with guests, family events, holidays, and crafting, I have finally found a few minutes to write about some of the things that I have been working on! With Christmas just around the corner, I have been crafting home-made gifts in the moments I can snatch between other duties, and in the coming weeks I hope to share some of these projects.

I guess it was the end of last year sometime when I found a website with an excellent tutorial on how to make bowl-shaped hot pads. (I have included the link for those who would like to look at the instructions there. My thanks to Lynda Schrader for the time she took to make them so clear.) I thought the idea was worthwhile since I have very often found it difficult to pass hot bowls around the table using a normal flat hot pad. Predictably, I decided to see if I could make the hot pads by recycling materials I had on hand so I turned to my stash of worn out-clothing to find suitable replacements for the fabric and batting called for in the instructions.

My search revealed a man’s cotton twill dress shirt which was a little threadbare and worn around the collar and cuffs, but otherwise was  in good condition. This seemed appropriate for to be the fabric that would show on the outside of my hot pad. All I needed now was a felted wool sweater to use in place of the batting. I ended up choosing two different sweaters for this -one fairly thick and the other thinner.

In the photo to the right, are two 10″ fabric squares topped with two 9″ squares of felted wool sweater. The materials shown made one hot pad, however, I had enough of the shirt and sweaters to make a total of four pads. (I am only demonstrating what I did on one.) The striped sweater was the thicker of the two pieces of wool, so I determined to make that side the bottom of the hot pad. Because I was working with striped fabric, I was careful to cut the pieces in a way to allow the stripe to match up when I sewed the two sides together. After I had cut out the squares I needed, I stitched each of the sweater pieces to a fabric pieces, centering the sweater on the fabric one. I stitched an “X” diagonally from each corner to the opposite one forming four triangles. Then I stitched two more lines starting on the center of each side across to the opposite side which divided the triangles in half. (Though it is hard to see in the above photo, there is a line going from top to bottom on the solid sweater piece.)

The next step was to trace darts on the sweater pieces where the previous stitching lines touched the sides. Centering the dart on the line, it measured 1″ wide at the top and was 2 1/2″ long. I sewed each of these darts together and removed the excess fabric from them so that they looked like the photo below. Then, being careful to match the stripes on the fabric, I stacked the two pieces fabric-sides-together and sewed them together around the sides. I made sure to leave an opening along one edge so that I could turn the hot pad right-side-out. After I had it turned, I top stitched along the edges all the way around to close the opening and help flatten the dart seams. Pressing the seams with a hot iron also helped them to lie flat and form the bowl shape that I was trying to achieve.

The finished hot pads are shown in the photos to the left and below. They are a perfect fit for my soup bowls. As a bonus, I discovered that my serving bowls have the same size base as the soup bowls so I did not even have to make larger pads for my serving bowls! I see myself making more of these and giving them away as gifts! 🙂

Though I have had occasion to put these pads in the microwave without ill effect, I am not a huge fan of microwave cooking, so most of the time, my pads are used only for protecting our hands from the heated bowls while we are passing them around the table. I don’t know of any reason why they would catch on fire in the microwave since they are made of all natural fibers, but I would suggest caution should you decide to make some and use them in that appliance. I have successfully washed my hot pads in the washing machine and dried them in the drier, though I normally let them air-dry draped over a plastic bowl to help them dry in that shape.

This entry was posted in New Life for Dress Shirts, New Life for Wool Garments and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sharon says:

    What a great idea! Clever.

    • It really is! I am not sure who had the idea to make bowl-shaped pads first, but it sure makes it easier to hand hot serving bowls around the table -especially for younger members of the family. 🙂

  2. Lori Wilhide says:

    I bought one of these at a craft fair. I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I mostly got it for my son who is in a wheelchair and has to carry cereal bowl sized bowls to the table on his lap if no one is around to help him. This will keep the bowl from slipping off of a flat hot pad or towel for him. It works very well and the lady said it can go right in the microwave, which is even easier for him to lift out. I must admit, part of my reason for buying it was also for a pattern! Thanks for the pics! I never thought of making them for bigger bowls to be used at the table! Now I am even more excited!

    • I never thought about it before, but it would be a great gift for someone I know at my church who is in a wheelchair. Thank you for that thought! It might be very useful to have some of these at church dinners. I am glad to swap ideas with you, and you are very welcome for the pictures!

  3. Makesomething says:

    Instead of the felted wool sweater I have used old towels when making potholders.

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