Friday, September 04, 2015

Tutorial: Tortilla warmer

A few months ago, I learned how to make corn tortillas from scratch....just in time to teach a class of 4th graders and then a class of 4 year olds :)  After making (and eating) that many tortillas with the kids, I was completely hooked!  And after purchasing a press, the obvious next thought was that I needed a tortilla warmer.  A warmer keeps freshly cooked tortillas soft and warm, but even if you purchase your tortillas, a warmer makes it easier to heat them up in the microwave.  So, pretty much everyone needs a tortilla warmer and here's how to make your own!
  • cotton batting (do not use Insul-bright or similar metallic material, so you can use it in the microwave)
  • 1/2 yard of home dec or quilting cotton for the outside, pre-washed
  • 1/2 yard of unbleached muslin, pre-washed
  • about 1 yard of bias tape (purchased or make your own)
  • 1 button (preferably with a shank)
For my warmer, I used a compass to draw a 10" circle on paper to make a pattern, but you can use any round object (plate, bowl) in that general size.  At this point, I only make the smaller corn tortillas, but the warmer can be made in diameters to suits your own tortilla-warming needs.  

First up, cut 4 rounds of cotton batting and two each of the outer fabric and muslin.  Then, make two stacks as follows: muslin, 2 rounds of cotton batting, and outer fabric on top.  

Quilt the four layers of each stack.  Starting in the center and sewing toward the edge prevents the layers from shifting or bunching too much.  Trim around the edges and zig-zag around to keep it all even.
Since I'm so obsessed with bias tape makers, and I need to justify owning several, I convinced myself that using two different widths of bias tape was absolutely necessary for this project.  If you don't need to justify your bias tape maker obsession, feel free to use a single width of bias tape  (1/2" single fold should work)
I labelled my bias makers with the width of fabric strip needed.
I made two strips of narrow bias tape (equal to half the circumference of your rounds + ~2 inches) and one strip of slightly wider bias (again, equal to half the circumference + ~2 inches.  

Apply the narrow bias tape to each quilted round.   I sewed first from the wrong side, flipped it to the right side and neatly topstitched.  This bias tape should cover a bit more than half the circumference of the circle (see below).
Then, put the two rounds together, muslin sides facing and matching up the bias edges.  You may want to zig-zag or baste the two unbiased edges to keep them neatly together.   Then, apply the wider-width bias to unfinished edges, tucking in the raw edges at the ends and being sure to cover the ends of the narrow bias tape.  
Next up is a neat button closure.  Using leftover bias tape, fold lengthwise and stitch to close.  Fold in half, and position the loop on the right side of one of the rounds.  Check length to ensure it will work with your button.  Stitch to the inside of your bias tape by 1/8 of an inch or so.  Trim ends close to stitching.

Fold the loop over the stitch line and stitch again, along the bias tape top-stitching to reinforce the loop and hide the raw edges.  (Alternatively, you can position the loop while sewing the bias tape.)
Sew the button on the right side of the other quilted round.
Done!  Now get out there and make some tortillas!

The fabric is Echino cotton/linen shirting, purchased at Hart's Fabrics.  Doesn't it look all fiesta-like?

P.S. This particular tortilla warmer was sewn for our wonderful pre-school teacher!  


  1. A sweet project. Have never made tortillas; you have inspired me. Thanks!

  2. My husband made pancakes this morning while I was out on the bike. Hd saved me some, but of course they were cold. Obviously I needed a pancake warmer!! :)
    This is one cute crafty project!

  3. Adorable! I used to have a tortilla warmer from Mexico, but it was a lot less fancy than this one. Love it!