Hooked on Needles

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to make a Tea Cozy for Christmas - or any other time of year!

Are you a tea drinker? I am, and I found out recently that my friend Kathy M. is as well. She is the one who asked me to remake the top of Bumpa's Christmas stocking so it could be used by her husband. While visiting Kathy's home to deliver the stocking, she mentioned her need for a new tea cozy since the one she had was quite old, and was just a little too cozy on some of her larger tea pots. So I made her a new one...

This tea cozy was made using the dimensions of Kathy's larger tea pot so that it could be put on and taken off easily and safely. The method I used to make this tea cozy is described very nicely by Beth over at The Rusty Bobbin, except that I did not use piping or machine embroidery on this one.

When I was finished sewing the cozy, I hand-stitched an M on the front using quilting thread and a simple running stitch. In this picture, you can still make out the purple ink that had not yet disappeared when I took the picture! I love my disappearing ink pen!

Kathy also wanted a tea cozy for her favorite Christmas tea pot, and I just happened to have my camera handy when I was making it. Here's a little tutorial on how I made a fancier tea cozy for Christmas time, still using the basic design from The Rusty Bobbin, but adding my own twist on it.

Using Beth's method for measuring the tea pot, I took those dimensions and figured the size of my pieces. I cut two pieces of Insul-Bright insulated batting according to my measurements and placed unbleached muslin and a strip of pretty Christmas fabric on top of one piece of batting so that when I stitched them together through all three layers and folded the Christmas fabric down over the batting, this is what it looked like...

This will be familiar to those of you who have worked with 'quilt-as-you-go' projects.

I made another piece exactly the same way for the other side of the tea cozy and laid them on my work table with the bottom edges lined up evenly against each other.

Using my straight edge and disappearing ink pen, I marked vertical lines one inch apart on each piece.

After threading my machine with gold metallic thread on top, I stitched through the fabric and the batting from the bottom edge of the Christmas fabric to the top of the batting, along the purple lines I had marked.

Here are both pieces after the gold lines were completed.

I brought the pieces back to my work table and trimmed the fabric to match the batting.

Using a strip of the Christmas fabric about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long, I made a small handle by just folding in the long edges, then folding the piece in half and edge stitching the length with gold thread.

I pinned one end of this handle to the right side of one of the quilted pieces with the longer end toward the middle of the piece...

...then I pinned red piping along the raw rounded edge of the piece and brought the other end of the handle over the piping to form a loop about 1 1/2 inches high. I machine basted the piping onto the quilted piece, also catching in the loop fabric.

After placing the two quilted pieces right sides together, I pinned around the edge and stitched through all layers just along the edge of the piping.

Here you can see the piping and the little loop handle in between the right sides of the two quilted pieces.

Using the quilted pieces as my template, I cut a double layer of unbleached muslin for the lining.

I stitched the rounded edge of the lining, leaving an opening of about 4 inches towards the top of the curve for turning.

Then I turned the lining right side out and tucked it inside the outer shell so that the right sides were together. I pinned along the raw edges and then stitched the seam.

After pulling the lining out of the shell...

...and pulling the shell through the opening in the lining...

...I stitched the opening closed.

Then I tucked the lining back into the shell and pressed the lower edge before pinning it all around.

Using gold thread for the outside and natural color thread for the inside, I stitched close to the bottom edge first, then stitched again about 1/2 inch higher to finish the bottom edge of the tea cozy.

Ta-da! Here's the finished product, still with some of the purple ink marks that had not yet disappeared. I can assure you that they all did disappear and this Christmas tea cozy will be the perfect addition to Kathy's Christmas tea service!

If you are a tea drinker, or if you know someone special who is, now you can whip up a tea cozy for every occasion. They can be plain and simple, like the homespun cozy I made, with or without a monogram or other design. They can also be quite fancy and special, like the Christmas one with gold trim and holly to match Kathy's very special Christmas tea pot. Be creative and see what you can come up with that would fit either the pot or the person...to a T!

Happy Stitching!

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