sewing 101: wool felt pot holders

Add a little fall flair to your kitchen with these quick and easy wool potholders. They’re super simple to make — just cut out the leaf shapes, add the decorative stitching and you’re done! You can finish one in an hour or less, and they’re a great beginner project for those of you still afraid of your sewing machines. (You know who you are!) Keep these cuties for yourself or pass them along with a homemade pie or a jar of apple butter as a sweet hostess gift. Brett Bara

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • about 1/2 yard each of three colors wool felt (Note: be aware that felt made of synthetic fibers can melt when it comes in contact with high heat, so wool felt is recommended here. A good source for a wide range of wool felt colors is
  • sketch paper to draw a leaf template, or a picture of a leaf to use as a guide
  • sharp scissors
  • pencil
  • contrasting thread
  • sewing machine


1. Create a leaf shape.

To begin, draw or trace a simple leaf shape about 8″ wide and 8″ tall. Don’t worry about making it perfect — an imperfect shape adds to the charm! You can use a real leaf as a guide, or look for a leaf shape in a free clip art collection. You can also print out my photo above and trace it (enlarge it on a copy machine, if necessary).

2. Cut all three layers from felt.

Cut one piece of felt from your leaf shape, then lay it on top of another color of felt. Cut out the second piece just slightly larger than the first, then repeat with a third color of felt. You’ll have three layers of leaves, each slightly larger than the previous layer. Again, don’t worry about making them perfect!

3. Make the hanging tabs.

Cut a strip of felt about 1″ wide and 4″ long.

Fold it in half lengthwise, then stitch down its center using a zig-zag stitch.

Fold the strip in half and pin it to the bottom edge of the largest leaf piece.

Stitch it in place about 1/2″ from the raw edge of the leaf, using a straight stitch.

4. Add the veins.

Layer all three leaf pieces and pin them together. (Be sure that the raw edges of the hanging loop are sandwiched inside the layers so that they’re not visible on the finished pot holder.) Set your machine to a slightly longer than average stitch length. Beginning at the base of the leaf, sew a line all the way to the tip of the leaf.

When you reach the tip, raise the presser foot, pivot and sew back to the base. Repeat this to make several lines of stitching along the same path.

Repeat to sew another vein up each section of the leaf, always returning to the same beginning point at the leaf base. You can add all of this stitching in one continuous line, constantly sewing back and forth and always returning to the same beginning point.

Continuing in the same manner, add smaller branches off of each main line.

And you’re done! That’s all there is to these simple pot holders. Now go cook up a big batch of something warm, and put them to use! (I highly recommend apple pie.)

  1. Maria says:

    Those are awesome! Too bad I have no frickin’ clue how to use a sewing machine, haha.

  2. I love this! Will have to make this for our Thanksgiving get together – thank you =)

  3. Sam says:

    love it! I’ve been trying to get around to making some little quilted potholders, but this is much quicker and easier!

  4. Sarah says:

    These are great – so simple – but so impressive.

  5. Sarah says:

    By the way – where are those little birdie salt and pepper shakers from? They are adorable!

  6. Mary says:

    Great tutorial! Thanks:)

  7. These are darling! I’m thinking I should make them for Thanksgiving at our house this year!

  8. Sarah – I googled and it looks like that set came from Patina Store. They no longer carry the bird set, but they do carry a cute deer set and some dogs.

  9. mbb. says:

    love it! what a great idea – can see this translating into the other seasons as well – snowflakes perhaps?

  10. Brett says:

    Thanks all! The bird salt and pepper shakers were a gift a few years ago, so I doubt they are still available. Thanks for the alternate link, Jen!

    PS – I forgot to mention in my post that you could make these smaller and use them as coasters, which would be really great for Thanksgiving!


  11. Lauren says:

    Love these! They’re too cute :)

    And i love the idea of making some smaller ones for coasters!

  12. Jesse Lu says:

    This is a great little project. I’d like to do these in all sorts of colors. :)

  13. Amelia says:

    Thank goodness, I have a reason to throw away my horrible looking hand-me-down from forever ago potholders! Any washing instructions for these puppies (I mean leaves)?

  14. I am going to be busy this weekend! These are awesome! Thanks for all the fun craft ideas!!

  15. Andrea says:

    WOW, these are gorgeous! What a great way to do them too! I made pot holders today as well, what a nice coincidince :)

  16. Brett says:

    Amelia – I would hand wash these in cool water – but if you want to try machine washing them, wash some of the wool scraps (leftover from the wool felt after you cut out the leaves) to see how they hold up in the washing machine. Since the wool is felted, it may stand up to machine washing – but I’d definitely test first. Let me know how it goes!

  17. I love these! Looks like the perfect quick project for me to test my new sewing machine. Thanks for the idea!

  18. Kateri says:

    wow! well done!

  19. Casey says:

    These are soo cute! Thanks so much for the how-to!

  20. Ashley says:

    These are adorable. I’m thinking maybe Christmas Trees for the upcoming season?

  21. Josie says:

    Thanks for the ideas. Easy instructions and so neat. Don’t be afraid to add anything to it. Use the imagination.

  22. I definitely fall under the “I’m still afraid of my sewing machine” category. Bookmarking this for some free time when I’m available to tackle my beast of a sewing machine…is it funny that my husband is the one who is going to teach me how to sew?

  23. vinaya says:

    Wow!!! good one!! I’ll try to make it.

  24. doro says:

    they’re great. i love the layered look and stitched leaf veins.

    i’m linking. i hope you don’t mind.

    many thanks, doro.

  25. Haha, I really am afraid of my sewing machine, so that hit on the spot. These are cute though, I bet you could do the stiching by hand too.

  26. Wow! Great art. I really like this pothholders, and inspiring by this post I would like to make this myself.
    Thanks for the tips to make such holders.

  27. this is great,extraordinary smaaaaaaaaaaart idea….wao…

  28. Liz says:

    These are adorable! I think I may have to try this, or something similar for easy, cheap christmas presents this year to go along with the homemade jams and syrups I was planning on giving everyone.

  29. Robby says:

    A friend of mine makes stuff of felt. I’m sending this tutorial to her, she’ll love it.

  30. tricotaria says:

    Amazing! This is a very good idea and an excellent totorial. Thanks!

  31. Aimee says:

    I LOVE THESE! Thank you!

  32. Jolien says:

    I’m making them right now! Very easy and super cute!!!

  33. Alexandra says:

    This is inspiring me to get a sewing machine! Love them.

  34. Lori says:

    I’m hitting PurlSoho and making these tomorrow!

  35. Leah says:

    I love it! I can’t wait to make these. Thank you very much for sharing the tutorial. I just featured a link to this and your other embroidered napkins project on my blog.

  36. Maria H says:

    Great tutorial! Thank you for sharing!!!!

  37. Kaos Flanel says:

    Woow, this is nice articel and i want your permit to share this with my friend. Sorry, my english not well ( i’am from Indonesia ). Keep Sharing


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.