Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Microwaveable Fabric Bowl Tutorial

Now you may be wondering what is a Microwaveable fabric bowl….well it’s a hot pad that allows you to take a hot bowl right out of the microwave without burning your hands!  If you have teenagers like I do you will agree this idea is great!


 I was first introduced to these bowls at a guild meeting when Marg showed us a set she made with her winter quilting group in Arizona.  They had discovered a tutorial on a quilting forum for these bowls and I asked Marg to showed me how to make them so I can teach them at our guild meeting this month.  She made a few improvement to the original tutorial so I thought I would share the new and improved version with you. So I did not design these bowls and if you know who did I would love to give them credit as it is a genius idea! The quilter that did the first tutorial said she was not the original designer.

The most important thing you have to remember about this project is you must use 100% cotton for all your materials…including thread as this is going into the microwave!  Also do not use fabrics with metallic prints or sparks will fly!

The set you see above is made from 8”, 10” and 12” squares.   For each bowl you need two squares of fabric and two squares of batting all cut to the same size.  I like to use the same two coordinating fabrics for each bowl in a set.
Here is what you need to make one bowl.

step 1

Step One – On the squares of batting mark a center horizontal and vertical line. 
Step Two - Mark a small line on all four center lines measuring from the outside edge.  For the 8” square measure 2” from the outer edge, for a 10” square measure in 2 1/2” and for the 12” square measure in 3”.

Step Three – Layer a square of batting on the wrong side of the fabric square.  Pin on the center lines as show. You will have two of these for one bowl.

Step Four -  Fold the square in half on one of the lines and stitch a dart from the small line to the outer edge.  For the 8” square make your dart 1/2” wide on the outer edge, for the 10” square make it 3/4”  and for the 12” square make the dart 1” wide at the outer edge.

Do this on all four sides.

The fabric side of the bowl will look like this.  You will have two of these in different colors but the same size.

Step Five – Clip extra batting from the darts, this will eliminate some bulk.

Step Six – Take these two fabric squares with batting now attached and layer them right sides together.   Stitch the two layers together leaving a 3” opening.
The bowl will now look like this.


When you piece these two layers together make sure your darts are alternating direction to eliminate bulk.


Also when you are stitching around the corners do not pivot sharply but take an extra stitch or two on the angle to round the corner.

Step Seven – Trim extra batting around the outer seam allowance on both sides and clip the extra fabric in the corners on an angle.

Step Eight – Now you are ready to turn the bowl right side out.  Once right side out topstitch the outer edge and this will close the opening.  You can then quilt a design in the center of the bowl to hold the layers together and create a firmer bottom to the bowl.

IMG_1143 IMG_1145
You are now ready to use your bowl in your microwave!  You can also use this to hold a cold ice cream bowl too!  :)

Here is a complete set of three bowls that nestle nicely together.

I used Quilter’s Dream Deluxe Cotton batting which are quite thick but you can use a thinner 100% cotton batting as each bowl has two layers of batting inside.
Hope your enjoyed this tutorial!


  1. Cool idea and very clear instructions! This would make a great hostess or teacher gift.

  2. What a nice "new-to-me" idea for a great gift! Thanks for your clear directions.

  3. What a great idea, thanks Kathy

  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial, Kathy! Until now I had no idea what to do for Christmas gifts for extended family. :D (Needed something fast that uses things I already have) You're a life saver! :D

  5. What a great idea!!! I'm going to make one of these as soon as I get to town for some 100% cotton batting. Thanks for sharing.

  6. bonjour,
    les filles du forum "patch to patch" ont testé et l'avis: l'essayer c'est l’adopter et surtout très simple à réaliser encore merci

  7. what a great idea for the microwave- you do fabulous long arm quilting.
    The bedrunner quilt is quite spectacular and the geometric quilting certainly highlights the design.
    This has been a fun blog hop around our Canadian landscape. It has been fun to be introduced to so many creative Canadian quilters.
    Regards from Edmonton,

  8. Thanks for the tutorial! It is very clear.

  9. Thanks for sharing this great idea. Your tutorial is very clear and easy to follow. Thanks for taking the time to make it.

  10. I will put a link to this tute in my guild newsletters - thank you!!! Nice clean microwave, by the way. :-)

  11. Fabulous tutorial - can't wait to make some.
    I have been reading all your posts on dyeing and snow dyeing - such great help - thank-you! I am trying my first dyeing this weekend after taking the Craftsy class. Fingers crossed!!

  12. Is it ok to use mercerized cotton thread?

  13. Yes you can use mercerized cotton as that is just cotton thread that has gone through a chemical and heating process to soften and add shine to the cotton. So as long as it is 100% mercerized cotton then it will work.

  14. Kathy - this is an great tutorial! I can't wait to try these. Such a perfect gift as well.

    Thanks so much!

  15. Hi, Kathy ~ Just wanted to let you know that I tried out this tutorial and blogged about it here (hope you don't mind!) http://theshyonesews.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-little-finish-for-friday.html Can't wait to make more!! Thanks for sharing it!

  16. Great tutorial! I made the 10" one and I am very pleased with it! Thanks for the tutorial!

  17. I love this idea , I will be making some soon! Beautiful colors too! Thank you for posting about this !

  18. I recently saw Sue Hausmann of the America Sews PBS television series refer to bowl buddies and explain how they're made, but I can't remember where she said she got the idea. She offered a tip that people may want to consider: in order to prevent fire, you might want to use a special batting made for use in microwaves. I use a brand called Wrap-N-Zap that I pick up from my local Joann's craft store in Florida. Great tutorial and just what I was looking for...I wanted to find a tutorial instead of winging it on my own!

  19. Thank you for the tutorial. A great idea for the quilting ladies to sell at the Christmas Bazaar to earn money for missions. Thank you again.

  20. Thanks so much for your tutorial. I've made 2 already and have 2 more cut out. A great way to use up left over fabric. I had a Layer cake (10 inch squares) that had 7 leftover squares. 6 of them are now (or soon will be) bowls. I made one other out of 4 left over charm squares that I stitched together to make a 9 1/2 inch square. Thanks!

  21. When you make these, do you preshrink all materials? The fabric? The batting? The thread? That probably sounds crazy, but I'd like to avoid serious shrinkage when the finished item is washed and dried? Thank you.

    1. I didn't but that would be a good idea to prewash the fabric and batting ( I wouldn't worry about the thread) as they do get a lot of washing and do change shape over time. You can also quilt them heavier than I did and that will help them hold their shape too.

    2. I have sewn several bowl holders and am working on another. Suddenly, my stitches are unbalanced. I am using red thread in the bobbin and white on the top because the two fabrics I chose need stitching that matches the thread. I've done this on other bowl covers with no problem. Now, the white thread is showing on the red fabric. It looks like red dashes and white dots. I have not changed my tension and have already checked the bobbin and the top thread to be sure I threaded everything correctly, but still I have the problem. Do you know what might be causing this? Thank you.

    3. Yes that is a tension issue and you need to tighten your top tension disk so the white thread doesn't get pulled to the bottom.

  22. Oh boy. I've already made 8 of these & gave 2 away. I used a different tutorial & didn't see anything about only using 100% cotton. All my thread was polyester. Will these catch on fire?

    1. Probably not catch fire but the thread would likely melt first! Test the ones you made! I just use mine for warming up food and only have them in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. I wouldn't have them in for more than 3 minutes.

  23. Thank you for this tutorial. It was easy to follow and I made a whole set for my mom in record time. She loved them. I will definitely be making more.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Would the fabric cause the food in the bowl to taste different?

  26. I made several of these for gifts and kept one for myself. I keep it stored in the microwave. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I do have a word of warning though & a funny story. My grandson was cooking a pizza in the oven and was using the microwave as a timer like his Grandpa taught him (Grandpa doesn't know about the timer on the stove I guess). We were chatting away in the kitchen and something started to smell like it was burning. We checked the oven and everything was fine. Then it got worse. OMG, there was a fire in the microwave!!! I didn't realize my grandson had not used 0 Power and that potholder was aflame! Fortunately the only thing that came to harm was that trusty potholder. I don't blame the potholder though. If you cook cotton for 10 minutes in the microwave without anything else in there it's going to catch fire. My mom LOVES them and uses them all the time (fire free :)). Once I get done making my Christmas gifts I'll be making some more for our house. Maybe I just won't store them in the microwave from here on out. Boys!!! :)