Autumn Sewing Project for Tweens: Acorn Hot Pads

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and Christmas practically on top of us, my nieces (10 and 12 years old) were looking for a beginning sewing project that they could give as a gift and show off at the Thanksgiving dinner table. These wool felt acorn hot pads combine pretty and practical, making them a perfect project for tweens who have just begun using a sewing machine.

Things You’ll Need

  • Sewing machine and thread in any color
  • Wool felt, three 8-by-12-inch pieces in 2 colors (one for the acorn cap and two matching pieces for the bottom)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Insulated Lining
  • Chalk
  • Straightedge or ruler

Take the piece of wool felt you’ve designated as the cap, and fold it in half from short end to short end. Cut it at the fold so that you have two 8-by-6-inch pieces.

Cut a strip off of the two pieces of felt that measures 8 inches by 1/2 inch long, and set it aside.

With your remaining two pieces of felt pressed together, round the rectangle edges so that one of the long ends (the top of your acorn) measures about 5 1/2 to 6 inches long, while the bottom measures roughly 7 to 7 1/2 inches long. (Or see the pattern provided here.)

Fold one of the long strips of felt in half and stitch it to the inside top of your acorn cap with a straight stitch. Trim off excess felt.

Cut an oval of Insul-Bright that is about 1/4 inch smaller than your felt acorn cap.

Sandwich the lining between your felt acorn cap pieces. Make sure the tab you sewed is on the inside of the sandwich.

Use the zig-zag stitch around the top half of the acorn cap. Leave the entire bottom open.

Place the two pieces of the second color of felt on top of each other and cut out the nut shape provided in the pattern.

Cut another piece of insulated lining to fit inside of the base of the acorn.

For added heat protection, you can use a second piece of insulated lining within the acorn cap and base, but it will make sewing a bit more challenging for some sewing machines and beginner sewers.

Sandwich the insulated lining between the acorn base pieces and use a zig-zag stitch around the perimeter, leaving the top open. Parents may need to help new sewers at the pivot point.

Slide the base into the top piece (and between the insulated lining or under it) so that at least 1/2 an inch of acorn base is inside the cap.

Use a straight stitch along the base of the acorn cap to attach the two pieces.

With the straightedge and chalk, draw diagonal lines in two directions.

Use the straight stitch on your sewing machine to trace the chalk lines. Using chalk can help kids to practice sewing straight lines.

Trim away any wool felt edges that are slightly uneven and any stray threads. Wipe the chalk lines away with a damp cloth.

The beauty of using wool felt is that it won’t melt like some acrylic felts can. It’s also very forgiving and easy to sew with. As you and your kids make acorn hot pads together, you’ll find that their confidence builds as their skills refine. Also, the project will get quicker and quicker!

To keep your acorn hot pads looking new, spot clean them and line dry. Machine washing and drying will result in shrinkage.

All photos by: Megan Andersen