During my lean years, those years when my two oldest were little, over a decade ago, I made a lot of things I needed out of things I did not need. One of those things were old or outgrown jeans. In fact, I remember putting a call out to the family requesting any unwanted jeans and I got bags full.
While I used the jeans first for larger projects, such as a braided rug and a jean quilt, the left over pieces were just right for hotpads.
My first step was to cut a square from paper to use as my pattern. I then would cut out as many squares as I could from the leftover pieces. The second step was two layer the jean squares. Depending on the thickness of the jean material, I would use 3 to 5 layers of jean material. I would then pin the layers together. Using a heavy needle and cotton embroidery thread, I would first hand sew a design in the middle of the squares. I kept it simple, such as a heart or flower outline. It was just something that held the layers together. For finishing off, I would whipstitch all around the edges.
I have used these hotpads for over a decade. I won't share a photo of them because they are on longer nice looking, but they do work better than any cheap hotpad bought in the supermarket.