Best Fabric for DIY Oven Mitts & Gloves (What the Pros Use)

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I wanted to learn the best way to make oven mitts and gloves, so I headed to big department stores to see exactly how professionals make them. I compared cheap $7 oven mitts and pricier $33 ones.

I learned that the best fabric for the outer layer is thick cotton, so it’s harder to burn a hole through the material. Thin cotton is not a good idea.

The best middle layer is a thick, heat-resistant batting. This protects your hand from heat and cushions it. All the stores I checked used polyester batting, not cotton surprisingly, but I think they use a specialist type. The best alternative for home sewists is a heat-resistant batting called Insul-Bright (Amazon link).

The lining is normally light to medium weight cotton. The raw edges are normally finished with bias binding. Terry toweling is also used in different places.

best fabric for diy oven mitts

Note: batting is known as wadding in the UK. It’s the same thing.

In this post, I’ll go into more detail about the best fabrics, show example photos, and share where you can buy these materials online.

Contents list:

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Best fabric for the outer layer of oven mitts, gloves, & potholders

double oven gloves worn by person

All the professionally-made oven mitts and gloves I looked at used thick cotton, like cotton canvas. It’s important that the fabric is thick so that holes can’t burn through.

The most expensive oven mitt I saw ($33) used cotton canvas with a water-resistant coating. This protects it from water and oil damage, so it looks better for longer.

On the rare occasion that a lighter material was used, it was backed by a lining fabric directly underneath. However, even then, the outer fabric was medium-to-thick, not thin.

So all those beautiful lightweight cottons in our stash are a bad choice for oven mitts, at least on the outside.

The best place to look for thick material is in the upholstery section of fabric stores. Your fabric choice shouldn’t be super thick and cardboard stiff. Think cotton canvas weight.

I also saw stores use terry toweling on 1 side of double oven gloves. It’s the side that touches the hot dishes.

You can find thick cotton and terry toweling from (USA), Minerva Crafts (UK), and My Fabrics UK.

To make 1 to 3 oven mitts, you normally need 1 yard/meter of the outer fabric.

Best heat resistant batting for oven mitts, gloves, & potholders

white batting inside oven mitt
The fluffy white stuff is the batting.The dark grey line in the middle is the outer fabric; it’s not part of the batting.
materials label for a double oven glove
The battings that stores use are made from polyester. Note: batting is known as “wadding” in the UK.

The best middle layer is a really thick, heat-resistant batting. This protects your hand from burns and cushions it. All the stores I checked used polyester batting, not cotton surprisingly, but I think they use a specialist type.

Can you use polyester batting?

To find out, I bought some thick polyester batting from Hobby Craft and quilted it with 2 layers of cotton fabric. I put my hand underneath the quilted batting and an iron on top. My hand warmed up uncomfortably fast after only 10 seconds!

I did the same thing with a store-bought oven mitt. It was made from polyester batting sandwiched between 2 layers of cotton fabric. It took about a minute for my hand to warm up a lot.

So I concluded that stores have treated their polyester batting somehow to make it heat-resistant. Normal polyester batting from craft stores performs really badly.

Heat-resistant batting for home sewists

I tested the heat-resistant Insul-Bright batting (Amazon link). It isn’t very lofty, it has a metallic side, and it makes a crinkly sound when scrunched.

Insul-Bright needs to be sandwiched between 1 or 2 layers of normal cotton batting for more protection. It shouldn’t be used on its own according to the packaging.

My Insul-Bright test: how effective is it at resisting heat?

I used Insul-bright to make oven mitts and potholders and I can confirm that it does work. I always sandwich it between 2 layers of cotton batting.

I tested my Insul-Bright potholder by holding onto a hot dish fresh out of the oven for about a minute. My left hand was using the Insul-Bright potholder, and my right hand was using a shop-bought potholder.

Both potholders protected my hand from any burns or extreme heat. They both warmed up during the test, but the shop-bought one warmed up more slowly than the Insul-bright.

You can find heat resistant battings like Insul-Bright from Amazon.

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Best lining fabric

white cotton lining layer of oven mitt
This oven mitt has been turned inside out. Here’s what the lining layer looks like.
inside pocket of oven gloves
This double oven glove has hand pockets with a whilte, quilted lining.

The lining layer is normally light to medium weight cotton.

The cheapest oven mitt I checked used a loosely woven cotton for the lining, whereas the most expensive used a tightly woven cotton. Both were lightweight.

Here’s a close-up of the loosely woven cotton used in the cheap oven mitt:

close up of cotton lining fabric for oven mitt

I also saw a double oven glove from Sainsbury’s lined with terry toweling. The lining was inside the hand pocket.

Which layers are quilted together?

grey and blue double oven glove folded
inside view of oven mitt

Oven mitts, gloves, and potholders are normally quilted to make the batting thinner.

The batting and lining layers are nearly always quilted.

The outer layer is included too if that’s the style of the oven mitt, but it’s optional. So if you want a non-quilted look, you’ll still need to quilt all the inside layers.

grey oven mitt held by a persons hand
This “non-quilted” oven mitt is actually quilted on the inside. Only the outer layer has been left unquilted.

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Best material for hanging tabs

Hanging tabs let you hang your oven mitts on door hooks.

Common materials for hanging tabs are bias binding and cotton twill tape.

Here’s some inspiration on different ways to sew hanging tabs.

orange hanging tab on an oven mitt
This is what the tab looks like from the inside. It’s at the bottom of the oven mitt, sewn into the bias binding.
grey hanging tab on an oven mitt
This one is sewn into the side seam.
white twill tape hanging tab on a red oven mitt
This twill tape is sewn into the side seam.
grey hanging tab on a double oven glove
This tab is sewn into the bias binding edge.

Best material for finishing raw edges

front view of a double oven glove
Bias binding is used around all edges of this double oven glove.
grey oven mitt held by a persons hand
Bias binding is used to finish the bottom edge of this oven mitt.

Bias binding is often used to finish the edges of double oven gloves, potholders, and the bottom edges of oven mitts.

Bias binding is a fabric that has been cut at a 45 degree angle, so it’s stretchy. This allows it to curve around the edges of oven mitts smoothly.

Cotton bias binding is normally chosen. Polyester bias binding isn’t a good choice because it might melt when exposed to heat.

The finished width of the binding is normally 1/2″.

silver ruler measuring the bias binding edge

You can find all the materials mentioned from these HUGE online stores: (USA), Minerva Crafts (UK), My Fabrics UK, and Amazon for heat-resistant batting.

This post was originally published on 14 October 2020. It has since been updated.

What to read next:

Here’s my roundup of oven mitt and potholder sewing patterns. Most of them are free!