Aunt Gwen’s Microwave Potato Bag!

I have rewritten my microwave bag tutorial and have added some printable and downloadable pattern and instructions.  If you make one, I would love to hear from you and receive a picture of your microwave bag.

Be sure to note the disclaimer below and be cautious since everyone’s microwave is different and of varying strengths.  There has been 2 reports of corner bag scorching or fire, however, I can not discern what materials were used in the Potato Bag and if directions were properly followed.  If you are making these as gifts, be sure to test them out first.


My Aunt Gwen sent me this potato bag so I could microwave my potatoes more swiftly and easily.  I tried it, and was hooked!   This was my inspiration for writing this free tutorial.

Disclaimer:  There have been online reports of microwave fires when people fail to follow instructions, fail to supervise the cooking, or use another material other than 100% cotton.  Since 2 readers have had issues with the corner of the bag, my advice is to trim off the bulky corners when you sew it.

Following my instructions, I have used my bag for over 30 times safely in my Kitchen Aide microwave.  Please use care, common sense, and proper supervision. This is a free tutorial, make these bags and use at your own risk.  I am not responsible for any damage caused by using this free tutorial.  Downloading my pattern indicates you understand this and agree to use prudent and reasonable care.

 By clicking on the download button, you agree that you have read my disclaimer message, understand that you are receiving this pattern for free, and agree to not hold me liable if you fail to follow directions or fail to properly supervise your microwave.

[pattern removed]

Along with the pattern, here are my printable directions:

[directions removed] 

Note from Carla- Despite all my disclaimers- and instructions to use 100% cotton materials in the construction, and to SUPERVISE the cooking of the potato in the potato bag, it turns out there are people not following instructions and/or not carefully watching their microwave while the potato cooks. 

In some cases, the end user was given their potato bag as a gift or purchased it at a craft fair- and were not provided directions for proper use.

I have had this free tutorial up since 2008, with no profit to myself for doing so.   Sorry that I needed to remove this popular pattern, but there continues to be individuals who fail to follow directions concerning what materials to use in the pattern- and/or fail to properly supervise their microwave oven while cooking.     Sadly, we live in a litigious society, and and people who fail to follow directions often look for someone else to blame.  

As with all my free tutorials, if you make them, please send me a photo so I may enjoy them too.  Be sure to check out all my various free tutorials covering a wide variety of art and crafts.

Regards, Carla Barrett

44 thoughts on “Aunt Gwen’s Microwave Potato Bag!

  1. Thanks for the instructions. I had read somewhere to be sure to use cotton batting, as your aunt did, not polyester, and to use non-flammable flannel, which I’m sure she also did. Have seen articles on these before, but your instructions are very clear and easy to follow, so this time I’m going to try one.

  2. Thanks for the clarification, I will go ahead and add your points to the instructions, Lillian. Thanks for visiting, btw!
    (Note from Carla, please do not use “flame retardant” cotton or any material with chemicals when making a bag to cook food in. This may seem obvious, but is worth stating.)

  3. Jorja, you certainly have my permission to share. Just write down the extra info about safety, using flannel on the inside and cotton batting. Hugs, Carla

  4. Thanks for sharing, Carla! My family loves baked potatos. And we always go for the microwave but hate how they shrivel up in there. I’m going to try this for sure!!!

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  6. do you close up the end flaps of the bag or leave them open so steam can escape?

    I always place the wrapped potatoes into the bag, place them in the microwave and cook. The end of the bag is open.

  7. Hello Carla! I may have overlooked it, but can you suggest how much to enlarge your pattern image before printing? I really appreciate it! Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi sewnook, the dimensions are above. The size does not have to be exact, but large enough to fit a few potatoes.

      Just experiement with the percentage for the enlargement. It this were a paid tutorial, I would have it exactly, but since it is free, you have to wing it. LOL

    • Hi Carla! Thank you for responding and for the free tutorial. I made these for family Christmas presents and they love them! I did indeed wing it and they turned out great!

  8. May I copy and paste your instructions for making the potato bag.

    Thanks for reply,
    Tom Boerma
    My wife has been wanting to make these bags for quite awhile and your instructions are simple to follow.

  9. Made the potato bag in my quilting class-we were all very careful to use 100% cotton and washed it incase of sizing-and also cotton thread 100%–We had three people have fires and burned the corner of the bag-I think you should have more of a warning-I had not seen anything about flannel?
    Ruth McHugh

    • Thank you for your concern, Ruth. I have both a disclaimer in my tutorial (near the top) as well as on the print out about the importance of using 100% cotton material and potential for fire risk reports.

      My disclaimer, clearly provided, is that they use at their own risk. If people do not read carefully, that is the risk they are taking.

      The cotton flannel (100% cotton flannel) is used in the inside of the bag. It retains the moisture nicely and works just fine. I cannot say about another tutorial, I know mine works for me and my blog readers. I have never had a person come back and report a fire.

      Re: the students in your class… my guess is they may have bought inexpensive non-quilt store fabric or non-cotton fabric, and/or failed to supervise the microwave closely.

  10. Just want to know how to cook the potatoes… How long, wrapped in what? basic cooking instruction? Someone told me how great these bags are, can’t wait to try it!

  11. Katie, one last thought for you…. every microwave cooks differently, some faster, some not. Best to err on the lower temperature and time until you figure out how your microwave cooks the potato or potatoes.

    I do not recommend walking away and leaving the bag and potatoes unsupervised. I am always in the kitchen when I use my bag- just to be on the safe side.

  12. Carla. I receive 7 request for your bag. I ask them to send a thank you for the pattern. Hope they all did. This was last week. One wrote me back that she couldn’t find it but she had the wrong site. She put featheredfriends so I wrote her back and told her so maybe she will fiind you tomorrow. Hope things are going well for you. Dawn

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  14. Hi Carla,

    Just wanted to ask if you think the all purpose thread that is a mix of cotton and polyester is okay? Thank you for the instructions!

    • Hi Constance, I would recommend buying 100% cotton thread (found at quilt stores or online) to not take a chance. Better safe than not, plus cotton thread is so easy to find.

      Good luck! Carla

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    • Yes, Vernell, this is clearly written in the tutorial (look above for bolder print) and on my print out. None of my blog readers have reported a fire, so they must be paying attention. I have had this free tutorial up for over 3 years now.

  16. My partner has recently made over 20 of these and we just had one returned with a corner burnt out.
    It was made from 100% cotton every where, bought at a fabric store. We put a cup of water and the bag beside it into the microwave and in about 5 seconds it was catching fire again, at the same corner. We cut the corner off and repeated for the bag with no problem. When we put the removed corner in the microwave again it started to burn in about 3 seconds. We separated the lining, batting and cover and placed them in the microwave but the pieces would not catch fire. The ashes from the bag will catch fire.
    We can not determine which part was burning, but it wasn’t the whole bag; just some impurity in part of the fabric.
    I would suggest you microwave each bag you make before giving or selling.

    • Hi Nelson, thank you for sharing your experience. I do have a series of questions, though.

      Would you be able to tell me what brand of cotton fabric did you purchase? Was is from a quilt store? Was it pre-washed to remove any sizing? What brand of cotton batting, too? Was the thread 100% cotton as well?

      Since the corner seems to be an issue, did you trim out any excess bulk? I am wondering if this could be the cause?

      Your advice to test them carefully is duly noted. I do not make these to sell, I merely offer this pattern for free to people with the disclaimer. Still, your information will allow me to make a judgment as to whether I take this pattern down.

      Thank you for letting me know this, Nelson. Please give my regards to your partner, too.

  17. On the Warm Tater 100% cotton batting it say 2 lg potatoes 8 min, sweet potatoes med 10 min and corn on the cob 2 lg 6 min rolls 3 med 20 seconds. Also says to wash and dry your bag after making.

    • Thanks for sharing, Annetta.

      I do have to point out that the time does differ from one manufacture of microwave to another. Best for users to check the product being cooked often to avoid over cooking- or worse. I usually cook 2 large potatoes with my Aunt Gwen bag with my particular brand of microwave.

  18. Nicest tutorial I’ve seen so far for these bags – thanks! My thoughts on those who report scorching or burning is that it sounds like a fabric imperfection, possibly a speck of metallic material woven in it or some fabric treatment, rather than fabric bulk. It seems the paper towel would have more chance of catching fire than much more densely woven fabric or batting. Just a thought for those who are contemplating making these. I agree that everyone who makes these need to test each one in the microwave (put a bowl with water inside a bag and heat it for a cooking cycle) before using or gifting. Thanks again for the tutorial.

  19. I’m one of those who received 2 of these bags from a craft fair as a gift and promptly set the corner on fire the first time I used it! I was bummed to say the least, so the next time I tried dampening the (second) bag first and wha-lah! Worked like a charm…no fire, no problemo… just the nicest moistest fluffiest baked potato ever… I’m stoked!

    I HIGHLY recommend dampening the bag first and then just open her up over a rack to air dry afterwards.

    • MM, glad you didn’t burn your house down! My guess is your seller used non 100% cotton in your bag. Thanks for your recommendation to dampen the bag, however, I sure hope everyone reading this learns from your experience and watches the bag closely while cooking.

      I am still using my Aunt Gwen Potato Bag many years later- and it still works great! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  20. Thank you for all the helpful safety information. My sister gave me a bag which I used for the first time recently and loved the result. None of the other places I looked at were explicit about safety risks and how to avoid them. I am very happy to know this before I make one for someone else! I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t see the download button needed to get the pattern : }

      • Daniel is correct. I got tired of hearing from people who wrote me, some who were very angry even though they used a commercial pattern (not my free pattern), and the maker may have used non-cotton materials, and/or failed to supervise the cooking. 🙂

  21. Hi Carla… I’m so sorry you had to take the pattern down. I really think that if people had followed your instructions (100% cotton, pre-wash, etc) and (in my opinion) removed the corners when making them, they would have no problems. I’m still using mine, but will probably snip the corners off when I get the time and, because I can’t be sure it’s 100% cotton (craft fair buy), continue to dampen it prior to use. They work great and do make the best microwave potatoes EVER! Thanks for all your hard work on this issue!

  22. Question regarding batting. I have precut batting that I purchased 2 yrs ago. I don’t remember name of product but my intention was to make storage cases for irons as well as curling irons using this product. The middle portion of batting appears mettalic…. Do you think it’s safe for microwave ?
    Hopefully you can help.

  23. I’m so sorry that you had to remove your free pattern. People who make these for craft fairs are buying sale fabric and don’t care if it is 100% cotton or not. Sad statement to be made about sellers nowadays. All they care about is the profit to be made.
    On the other hand, I’ve made these and used 100% cotton for all the material/thread needed and haven’t had a problem. My friend burned hers but that was her fault because I told her she could not use them right away (make one potato and turn around and make another), that it needed to cool before making another potato. People just don’t listen or read directions.

    • Mary, I agree with what you said. You would be appalled at some of the nasty mail I have received from people over this free pattern- including a threat to sue. Since I do not profit from the pattern and have bold disclaimers, they wouldn’t prevail, of course. But life is too short to deal with people who fail to follow directions. 🙂 Take care!

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