Whether you use cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans in the kitchen, a durable pan handle cover is a must have! This tutorial will show you how to make an upcycled wool sweater pan handle cover in five simple steps. There’s a free pattern to download that I made by tracing our cast iron pan handle. If you don’t use cast iron, you can simply trace your pan handle and create your own pattern for a custom pan handle cover!
A number of years ago, I bought a couple pan handle holders at a store in town (these are the ones we bought). They lasted for a few years but they were too long for our cast iron pan handles. Ironically they were even made by a cast iron pan company specifically for the handle of a cast iron pan! The front edges of the store bought handle covers were always touching the hot pan so the edges burned. They looked pretty awful. I also didn’t like how they weren’t made to fit snug on the pan holder so they slipped around a bit. Instead of buying new ones, I started thinking about a way I could make some.
I have a lot of wool sweater scraps in my craft room. I figured this would be the perfect material for a handmade pot handle cover. I got to work and in less than 15 minutes I had a snazzy new upcycled wool pot handle cover. Before I shared the tutorial with you, I wanted to test it out and make sure it worked. We’ve been using these for over five months and I love them!!
These handmade pan handle covers have a snug fit so there is little to no slipping when you grasp the handle. Because they’re made with thick wool, they do a fantastic job of preventing hand burns. Since using these, I’ve never burnt my hand on a hot pan handle. They also don’t touch the actual circular part of the pan so there aren’t any issues with the front edges burning.
Steps to Make a Wool Pan Handle Cover
This project requires 15-30 minutes of your time depending on your sewing skills. This is a pretty easy project so even a beginning seamstress could make one. You basically just need to be able to sew a straight stitch and zig zag stitch. I’ve also made these with my serger sewing machine and it takes me about five minutes to make one since the serger cuts and finishes the edges. Since most people don’t have a serger sewing machine, I’m writing this tutorial using a standard sewing machine.
The wool I used for this project was upcycled from a shrunken sweater. I made mittens for Little A and I out of this sweater and the smaller scraps left over were the perfect size for a pan handle holder. It is important to use a thick, felted wool to ensure the handle will be well insulated to protect your hand from burns. To felt a wool sweater, simply throw it in the washer on hot wash. Then throw it in the dryer on high heat. I also lined up my pattern so it was flush with the finished edge of wool (the part that used to be the bottom cuff edge on the sleeve). This makes a nice clean finish on the edge without any extra work on your part!
marker or pen
two pieces of wool that are at minimum 3″x6″
On a flat surface, place the two pieces of wool with right sides together and pin to hold in place. Place the pattern on top of the wool, making sure the flat edge is flush with the finished edge of the wool. With a marker or pen, trace around the pattern. I had enough wool to make two out of my scrap. DO NOT CUT OUT THE WOOL YET.
Using a straight stitch, start at the bottom finished edge of the wool and sew along the marker/pen line. You should end up with a long skinny “U” shape that is open on the flat edge.
Cut out the handle cover, leaving about 1/4″ seam allowance the whole way around.
Zig zag stitch the whole way around the handle cover in the 1/4″ seam allowance. This will prevent fraying and adds durability to your pan holder so it will last longer.
Flip the pan holder right side out. Use a long pair of scissors inserted inside the pan holder to gently smooth out the shape.
Now go put your new upcycled wool pan handle cover on your pan and start cooking! If your wool pan handle cover gets soiled, simply hand wash in cold water and allow it to air dry. I made several of these so when I’m cooking with multiple pans on the stove, I don’t have to keep switching the one handle cover around to various pots on the stove. We’ve even used these on our deep cast iron pan handle when we were heating up coconut oil to 350 degrees to fry some fish. Even when the pan was that hot, this wool cover worked great to protect our hands from the heat