Make a Pot Holder with the Churn Dash Block | Madamsew

Make a Pot Holder with the Churn Dash Block

Sewing gifts for the holidays is fun, and these simple-to-make pot holders or hot pads make great gifts, or something new for your own kitchen. Using the classic Churn Dash quit block and some Christmas themed fabrics, I’ll show you how to sew a quick patchwork and then make a functional and pretty pot holder for holiday cooking. Make more with everyday prints for workhorse duty throughout the year.

 a churn dash quilt block with a rotary cutter and a sewing machine foot set

The free pot holder pattern in this quilt tutorial will be 8-inch square finished, an ideal size for most hands and pots in the kitchen. You’ll learn how to make the churn dash quilt block, how to add quilt binding to the hot pad and you’ll discover a brand new MadamSew quilt ruler!

Prepare your sewing area with your equipment:

Fabric and Batting Requirements + Cutting Instructions

You need four to five layers - your focus patchwork for the top, one to two layers of regular cotton batting, one layer of Insulbrite or similar heat resistant batting, and a bottom layer of fabric. The bottom can be heat resistant fabric if you wish, but a plain cotton works fine.

Color Focus Fabric

    • Two 3-1/2-inch squares
    • Four 1-3/4 x 3-inch rectangles
    • One 8-inch square (or substitute heat resistant fabric)

White or Background Fabric

    • Two 3-1/2-inch squares
    • Four 1-3/4 x 3-inch rectangles
    • One 3-inch square


    • One (or two) 8-inch squares all cotton batting
    • One 8-inch square insulated heat resistant batting (such as Insulbrite)
square fabric pieces for a churn dash block

The Churn Dash Quilt Block

Place the background 3-1/2-inch squares wrong side up on your work table. Using the MadamSew 1/4-inch patchwork ruler, place the line in the middle of the ruler on opposite corners, and mark a sewing line on both sides of the ruler. Placing the ruler horizontal to you makes it easier to mark both lines at once.

quarter inch ruler on a quilt square

Pair the marked background 3-1/2-inch squares with the focus fabric 3-1/2-inch squares, right sides together. Put the #4 open toe foot from the MadamSew Ultimate Presser Foot set on your machine. Sewing on the edge of the line nearest the center gives a more accurate half-square triangle unit.

sewing with the open toe sewing machine foot on a marked line

Chain piece by setting up all your squares, then running them one after another through the machine. The chain makes sewing the seam on the other side really easy as they are all together. Just turn the chain around and sew 1/4 inch away from the other side of the line.

chain piecing quilt squares

Cut the pieces apart from each other, then cut on the drawn line to yield two HST units from each unit.

quilt squares cut in 2 triangles

Change the foot to the #17 Quarter Inch Quilting Foot. Sew the color and background 1-3/4 x 3-inch rectangles together in pairs.

quarter inch quilting foot on a sewing machine

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Press both units toward the darker of the fabrics.

pressed quilt squares with a christmas fabric

Square HST units to 3-inches square.

a trimmed 3 inch square

Assemble the block by following the photo below. Place the HSTs in the corners, the bars between on the top and sides, and the background square in the center. Be sure the color part of the bars and HSTs are towards the center.

assembled quilt squares to a churn dash block

Sew your block in rows. Press well.

Making a Pot Holder

Now, to assemble the pot holder, take your block and a layer of cotton batting and quilt them together. Quilt with straight lines in the ditch using the open toe foot, or you can sew free motion style using the quilting and darning foot.

quilting with the open toe sewing machine foot on a christmas block

Lay your bottom layer on your work table wrong side up. Place the Insulbrite silver side down, then the quilted top right side up. For extra protection, you can add a layer of cotton batting between the backing and the insulating batting.

Place the Insulbrite silver side down

Run a line of stitching around the edge to keep the layers together.

Run a line of stitching

Make quilt binding as usual, using strips that are 2-1/4-inches wide to make a thinner finish. Here are my quilt binding instructions for this pot holder.

Apply to the back side, beginning on one corner with the raw edge aligned.

how to add a quilt binding to a block

Sew around in the usual fashion, mitering the corners, ending at the point where you began. Stop sewing just as you get to the first binding strip. Leave a ‘tail’ about 3 inches long past the edge of the pad.

Sew around in the usual fashion, mitering the corners

Turn the binding to the top side, and pin or use clips to hold in place.

covering the raw edges on a quilt binding

Fold the end of the binding over the beginning, covering the raw edges.

Fold the end of the binding

Stitch the binding down on the top, starting on the ‘tail’, and continuing around the pad, mitering the corners as you go.

topstitching the quilt binding

Finish by folding the raw edges under on the end of the loop, and then fold back, creating a loop and stitch down. You see, sewing quilt binding is not that hard!

stitching down the loop on a pot holder

These make a nice hostess gift for your holiday hostess. Do them up in kitchen colors for holiday gifts that will be used and appreciated year round.

a finished handmade churn dash quilt block that is also a pot holder made from a christmas fabric

Hope you liked this potholder quilt project and maybe use it for one of your Christmas sewing projects.

Have fun making gifts this year!


Carole Carter

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Thank you for the churndash pot holder video. ..especially for which foot to use! I bought the foot set quite a while ago..but have limited sewing time so haven’t taken time to use them. Thanks…also love your quarter inch ruler. I had one years ( eons ) I could use it can’t find it! Glad you have one


Thank you for all the pictures. I am not good at sewing anything but quilts and was befuddled how to make the loop on a potholder. I will be making a few for me followed by a few for gifts.


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