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They are death, taxes, and potluck dinner. I'm a slow learner but I'm also proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
I assume that most of you reading this also receive many requests a year to provide food for potluck dinners for things such as church activities, family gatherings, and school functions. I'm always happy to help and, without fail, show up with my older Pyrex dish covered with aluminum foil, carried in a cardboard box lined with a dish towel. I'm never without regret that I don't show up with a better presentation so I decided it was time to do something about it.
I adore pretty aprons. When I put one on, I instantly feel motivated and excited to start filling pans and measuring out spices. I also think that it's a good idea to take one to wear while helping preparation and clean up of meals in a kitchen other than our own. After all, when we leave the house to spend time with others, we wear our favorite clothing. We should protect those favorites away from home just as we do at home!
I used a pattern by Simplicity to make this apron. The picture on the pattern envelope shows an apron made from 1 fabric. I found this fun, retro-looking flower pattern fabric and decided I wanted to use it. I also knew that such a vibrant, bold pattern, might be a little overwhelming for others to look at so I chose to cut some of the pattern pieces for the apron from coordinating fabrics that had more muted prints. The result is still fun and retro!
This casserole carrier is surprisingly easy to make. It's insulated so it helps hold the temperature of foods whether they've been baked or refrigerated.
I found patterns that can be purchased in fabric stores as well as free patterns online. I like to get by without using patterns whenever possible and none of the patterns were sized to accommodate my new slightly-larger-than 9 x 13 casserole pan. In the end, I decided to use the wonderful free advice I found online and adapt it to fit my needs.
One of the adaptations I made was to the handle. All of the carriers I found in this design had the dowel rod handles permanently encased in the top of the carrier. I wanted my carrier to be machine washable and I knew that meant the dowel rods needed to be removable. To create the fold-over flap at the top of the carrier that would allow this to happen, I used a Fiskars Super Size Oval template to create a symmetrical opening.
First, with the carrier still inside out after construction, I aligned the mid-point of the oval with the edge of the fold and traced the oval onto the carrier.
Then I unfolded the flap, realigned the oval template with my tracing, and traced the oval again. This created my seam line for my handle opening. After I stitched along the line, I cut 1/4 inch away from the seam line (inside the oval, not outside) and clipped the seam allowance all along the curved edge, taking care not to snip my seam. When the carrier was turned right-side out and the flap folded over, it aligned perfectly!
I really like the design of these pot holders with pockets sewn into them. I thought they looked neat and would help provide even more insulation against hot pans since the pockets add an extra layer of padding when folded in half. Then I read that the purpose of the pockets is to protect the back of your hands from heat as well!
To make this pot holder, start with:
(2) 10 inch x 10 inch squares of fabric for your base.
(1) 9.5 inch x 9.5 inch square of quilt batting
(1) 9.5 inch x 9.5 inch square of Insul-Bright
(2) 9.5 inch x 10 inch pieces of fabric for your pockets
(2) 9.5 inch x 4.75 inch pieces of quilt batting for your pockets
(2) scraps of fabric
I recently discovered Insul-Bright at the fabric store when I was purchasing fusible web. It insulates against cold and heat so it's a better alternative than just using quilt batting. It's very thin and there's no loft to it so using it with quilt batting gives you both protection from heat and that soft, fluffy feel we expect in a pot holder.
Layer your materials with the 10 inch back fabric square (the one that will be hidden inside the pockets) right-side down, 9.5 inch Insul-Bright square, 9.5 inch quilt batting square, 10 inch front fabric square right-side up. Quilt this as desired.
Fold the 2 pieces of pocket fabric in half along the 10 inch side, wrong-sides together and place the quilt batting for each one inside the folded panel. Quilt as desired.
Line the raw edges of the pockets up with the raw edges of the top and bottom of the pot holder and pin in place.
Pin the small scraps of folded fabric (fold toward the center of the potholder) over the edges where the fold in the pockets meet the edges of the pot holder.
Stitch around the perimeter of the potholder using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Clip the corners and turn the pot holder right-side out. Push the corners out. Lift the edges of the pockets, slip the presser foot under, and stitch along the folded edge of the small scrap of fabric.
When finished, the back of your pot holder will look like this.
And it will work like this!
Your hard work in the kitchen will leave the house in style accompanied by these accessories.
And it will have an equally stylish companion!