This post is written by Kim of Milkybeer Handmade.
Tea cozy – the words evoke images of little old grannies sipping tea and nibbling on biscuits, don’t they? With the exception of an awesome one a friend made a few years ago in the shape of a gnome, I haven’t seen too many modern ones that I would want to use myself. Being the crafty girl I am, I’ve come up with my own design for a simple quilted tea cozy that will fit right in at anyone’s home – even granny’s!
The design features a solid neutral outer fabric broken up by lines of bright straight-line stitching to match the neon trim and lining. I know many tea cozies have openings for handle and spout, but to keep this a very simple, quick project, I’ve gone with a plain version that pops right over the entire teapot to keep your brew nice and warm.
1/2 yard or less of:
- outer fabric (neutral)
- lining/binding fabric (neon)
- scrap fabric for your test cozy
Ultimately, how much you need of each fabric depends on how large your teapot is. I would say 1/2 yard of each would work for even the largest of teapots. You’ll also need thread the same color as your lining fabric.
All seams are 1/4″ unless otherwise noted.
Making your test cozy:
Begin by measuring your teapot. Use a soft measuring tape to measure the length and height of your teapot. Add four inches to the length and two inches to the height to figure out your required size. My teapot is about 10″ long (even though it looks longer in this pic!) and 7″ tall, so my teapot’s final measurements are 14″ long and 9″ tall.
Lay out two layers of your scrap fabric and cut them to the final measurement dimensions from above (i.e. 14″ wide x 9″ tall). Round off the top corners into the desired final shape to fit your teapot. Stitch the pieces together. Fit your test cozy over your teapot and make any necessary adjustments before moving on. It’ll be droopy at this point, but you’ll get enough of an idea to see if it will fit your teapot or not.
Assembling the outer layers:
Use your test cozy as a pattern piece to cut out two outer fabric pieces and two batting pieces. Lay one outer fabric piece atop one batting layer and do the same with the other pieces. With a ruler and tailor’s chalk (or some other temporary marking tool) draw straight lines randomly across both pieces of outer fabric. These will be the quilting lines you stitch in the next step.
Carefully stitch along your marked lines. A walking foot is helpful to ensure the fabric doesn’t bunch up or shift. Do your best to keep your back-stitches close to the edge so that they don’t make an appearance in the finished tea cozy. Once all your lines are finished, lay the outer pieces right sides together and stitch along the curved edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Notch along the curve and do your best to press the seam open.
Making the lining:
Use your pattern piece to cut out two lining pieces. Place them right sides together and stitch along the curved edge using a slightly wider seam allowance than you used on the outer pieces. Again, notch the curves and press the seam open as best you can.
Insert the lining into the outer piece with wrong sides together. You may or may not find it helpful to use your head to do this (don’t try and tell me you hadn’t thought of putting it on your head already). It may take some work to get it to lay nicely. Once you’re happy with the positioning, trim the bottom to produce a nice, flush edge.
If you’ve ever bound a quilt, this next step will be a cinch. If not, prepare to learn a new skill. Using your neon fabric, cut 2.5″ strips on the bias. Cut and piece together enough strips to go all the way around the bottom of your cozy (one or two strips will do). Fold and press the entire length of binding in half so that it now measures 1-1/4″ wide.
Align the raw edge of the binding with the bottom edge of the cozy and stitch it in place leaving a wide gap (at least 6-8 inches) between the start and end of your stitching as well as a 6-inch tail on either end of your binding.
Press the binding tails so that they meet on a 90 degree angle in the middle of the gap. Carefully open up each tail and orient them together along one of the pressed creases – essentially, you want the two tails to intersect each other at right angles. Stitch along the fold line to join the two ends together on the diagonal. Press the new seam open, then re-fold the binding in half and press so that it rests in position along the edge of your tea cozy. Trim off any remaining tails before stitching this last section of binding in place.
Just fold the binding over the raw edge and hand stitch it in place along the inside edge just covering your machine stitching and you’re done.
Alternatively, you could cut your lining pieces an inch or two longer than your outer piece, and then fold them up over the bottom raw edge of the outer fabric and hand-stitch the folded edge in place if you’d prefer not to fiddle with binding. Personally, I find that way doesn’t give the same rigidity and structure that a bound edge gives, so I’ve opted not to go this route.
Now go put the kettle on so you can brew up a pot of tea and enjoy your handiwork!