corrections and a tutorial


So you may have heard about this gorgeous book, Zakka Style. And I may have already mentioned that one of my projects is included. It was so much fun to be part of this book!

Well, you know how I am about making sure that my instructions are crystal clear so that anybody can follow them…I had already planned on doing a tutorial for the binding around the edge of my Patchwork Potholders, because this step can be a little tricky, but when I looked over the instructions in the book I realized that that those binding instructions do not work for this project. I’m very sorry for time anyone may have spent ripping seams or frustration that may have arisen from attempting the binding as directed. So, below you will find my instructions as originally intended, corrected and expanded, along with a photo tutorial.

Patchwork Potholder Binding Tutorial and Corrections

Circular binding tutorial by Retro Mama

The short and sweet instructions for those of you who are experienced with binding quilts:
1. The binding for the pockets should be 2 1/2” wide before folding, sewn with a 3/8” seam allowance.
2. The binding for the potholder should be 3” wide and 30” long (cut on the bias), sewn with a 3/8” seam allowance.

The expanded instructions:
1. The binding for the pockets should be 2 1/2” wide, or 1 1/4” wide when folded once for single fold binding. (You can follow the instructions below for how to attach the binding on each set of pocket pieces, the seam allowances are the same. Put the pockets on the potholder before you sew the outside binding.)

2. For the outside edge of the potholder, cut a strip of linen that is 3” wide and 30” long, on the bias. I used a wider strip than you would for a quilt because all the layers that are inside the potholder, plus the pockets, require the binding to be a bit wider so that it will fit around the thickness.

3. Fold the binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press with a hot iron.

4. Using binding clips (or barrettes), clip the binding around the edge of the potholder, raw edges together. Mark where the strips overlap with a fabric pen.

Round binding tutorial by Retro Mama

Round binding tutorial by Retro Mama

5. Open the bottom strip so it is right side up. Open the top strip so that the right sides of the strips are together, placing the two strips perpendicular to each other as pictured, right next to the mark you made in Step 4. Make sure the binding is not twisted.

Round binding tutorial by Retro Mama

6. Carefully move your binding strip to your sewing machine and sew a diagonal seam from where you marked the edge of the binding, to the opposite corner.

7. Refold the binding and re-clip it around the potholder to make sure that you got the length right and that the strip isn’t twisted.

Round binding tutorial by Retro Mama

8. Open the binding strip, trim the seam allowance and press it open, then refold and press the binding.

9. Repin the binding to the potholder, raw edges together. Sew the binding to the potholder with a 3/8” seam allowance.

Round binding tutorial by Retro Mama

10. Fold the binding over the edge of the potholder and finish by hand with ladder stitches on the back (see the end of my Easter Egg tutorial for how to do this, it's a little tough to demonstrate this stitch with linen on linen!). My favorite tool for handstitching is my leather thimble (first photo), it really does make the job much more pleasant!

Also, I just found out that there will be a Zakka Style sew-along starting April 2, with different bloggers sewing each project from the book. So grab your copy today, and remember to sew along with Penny (aka sewtakeahike) starting June 25th when she makes my Patchwork Potholders!

Happy stitching!

P.S. The fabrics above are from Maude Asbury's Kitchy Kitchen collection for Blend. I am so smitten with these prints--keep an eye out for more projects with them!

P.P.S. Please let me know if you have any other questions that I could answer about this project!

Today's Specials


For all you felt (and dessert) lovers out there, I've added a few new items to the Retro Mama "menu", expanding my wool blend color palette to 40 colors!

Try the Lemon Chiffon (as seen in my new Spring Pastel collection, 4th color down, a soft buttery yellow)


Or maybe feast your tastebuds on Peachy Keen, Butternut, Hazelnut, Café Latté, Caramel, and Brown Sugar.

You can see all 40 colors on my new color card below (click for a larger image)


Several doll makers have requested skin colors, so I've also added a new doll sampler to the shop


I will be adding a handful of color cards to my shop for purchase, or you can make your own by downloading the PDF swatch card for free and assembling it as you purchase felts.

Bon appétit!

the big three oh oh oh


I always throw myself a little imaginary party when I hit a fun milestone, although I'd be lying if I didn't admit that actual Thin Mints were involved in my latest party. Apparently Indiana is a big Girl Scout state--you can't leave the house without running into a cookie stand outside of stores. Not that I'm complaining.

This week's celebration is because I have had over 3000 sales at Etsy! In addition to treating myself to a few cookies, I've allowed myself some much desired time to sew.

retro mama: elephant softies

I'm frequently asked about fabrics for softies, so I'm always keeping a lookout for the "perfect" prints for my soft toys. It's not an easy task. I love bold, bright prints, but they are often so busy that the embroidered eyes get lost in the pattern. And finding cute fabrics for boys is a whole 'nother thing. But lo and behold, my friends at the brand-new Blend Fabrics sent over some gorgeous prints from this talented gal's Magic Garden collection, and they are indeed perfect.



See? {love}


Things are busy busy busy, and with about 15 projects in various stages of completion, I'm getting so anxious to show them to you guys! So I'd best get back to work sewing/drafting/writing, which is also an excellent excuse to catch up on some old-new favorite shows.

In the meantime, keep yourself busy by stocking up on patterns and felt during the last days of my spring sale! Use the code LEAP15 at checkout from my Etsy shop for 15% off your order through Thursday, 3/8. The patterns in my sidebar are pre-discounted.

Happy stitching!