Friday, August 3, 2012

Giving a "Helping Hand"

My sister-in-law just bought her first house. This seemed like a perfect excuse to sew a housewarming gift - especially since I was too occupied baby wrangling to be able to help out with the grand reno scramble on possession weekend. I decided to make a "Helping Hand" (which is an all-in-one apron/dishtowel/double-handed hot pad apparatus) from Tatertots and Jello. I figured it would be a useful accessory in a small kitchen... but I also enjoy the wordplay - see, I still gave her a helping hand! ;)

Sadly while the instructions are still available on Tatertots and Jello, the pattern pieces for the pockets were hosted on a site that no longer exists. Of course, I realized this after I'd already bought fabric and Insul-brite. Rather than scrap the idea, I went ahead and made my own pocket patterns. I'll post them here as well, in case someone else finds them useful. I don't have a way to supply them as .pdf files right now, just as .jpgs. But I included a size guide, so with a little work others should be able to get them to print out at the correct size. 


I decided to do ruffles on the pockets instead of bias tape, and rather than cutting the outside fabric larger and using it to make an edge, I just did the entire thing in bias tape. Mostly because I wanted to do the outside out of terry cloth so it would function a little better as a towel.

I also added 2 extra loops to the back out of bias tape, and made some detachable straps - it didn't really seem to be very functional as an apron without some way to tie it on (I'm not much for the "tuck them into your pants" aprons).  The straps just have a little square of applix (velcro) on them so they can loop around the tabs.

All in all I'm pretty happy how it turned out, particularly since this was my first time sewing both ruffles and bias tape! If I was going to do one with bias tape around the pockets instead of ruffles, I'd make the inside pocket a little bit smaller (or the outside a little bit bigger) as the outside pockets didn't overlap as much as the Tatertots and Jello version.  However, that's at least partially because using a ruffle meant I lost about 1/2 of pocket to a seam allowance around the curve, where one with bias tape wouldn't... so it might actually be just fine.

Here's a picture to show how I used the pattern pieces as a guide to sew the pockets down (to make them fit the hands better). Fold along the guide line, then line up to the corner. Draw a line with a washable (or fading) fabric pencil/marker along the fold. Then flip and repeat. Sew down along the drawn lines. You might want to pin along first and check the fit - I designed it around my hands and I imagine it would work for most people, but if you have really large or small hands your mileage may vary!


  1. Thanks so much for the patterns. I love the one you did and I can't wait to make one for myself. I think these are going to make great Christmas presents this year, I just love them! Thanks again.

  2. You are awesome! I panicked when there was no instructions on the other site. I think you for sharing this!!!! Saved me time not having to make my own pattern and I can get started on making my Christmas gifts now!

  3. thank you! i am going to buy the items today to make me one! :)

  4. Thanks for posting this, I could of probably figured it out after hours of working with it, so you saved me so much time. I am making it for a bridal shower prize and maybe one for myself. :D