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Pretty Tea Cozy

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It's time for a spot of tea. Did you know to properly brew a pot o' tea, you should first warm the teapot by swooshing a bit of boiling water inside it. Then, pour the water into your teacups to warm them. Add teabags for your preferred strength (from two to four for a standard four-cup pot). Fill the pot with boiling water, stir, and let the tea steep for about 4-5 minutes. It's during this steeping time when you can run into trouble with the tea cooling too fast. So, pop on a cozy to keep things toasty while the tea is brewing. It will also help keep your tea warm between cups. We have pattern downloads for the cozy itself as well as the cute teapot appliqué. 

Our design uses standard cotton for the exterior and lining with a layer of insulating fleece in between.

Straight line quilting across both the front and back is functional and adds to the pretty textured look. If you are new to this technique, you may want to check out our Guest Tutorial by Heather Jones on Straight Line Quilting techniques

Because you only need small ¼ and ½ yard fabric cuts, this is a great ScrapBusters project.

Rick rack accents on both sides are a sweet addition, and that cute little front pocket can hold teabags or accessories.

Our teapot cozy is sized to fit a standard china teapot, as shown in the photos above and below. 

If your teapot is similar in size, chances are very good this teapot cozy will fit. The key dimensions to check are indicated by the colored arrows in the drawing below. 

If you want to change the size, we suggest printing out our pattern and adjusting smaller or larger using it as your template. Make a paper prototype to test on your teapot. Both the dimensions as well as the curves along the top and bottom are important in order to allow the cozy to fit properly over the girth of a traditional teapot. A simple half circle won't give you the appropriate coverage. Remember to account for a ½" seam allowance around the curve, but not along the bottom as it is bound. We added 4" to the overall height and 4½" to the overall width. Click on the image to see a larger view and to better read the color key for the four important dimensions. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Our design uses FOUR different fabric cuts: two coordinating prints, and a solid for the cozy itself plus one additional piece for the teapot appliqué. We dove into our scrap stash for our selections, pulling out the following: 

  1. Medium Dots on Aqua from the Cotton Dots collection by Riley Blake Designs (originally used for our Decorative Stitch Pillow Power project)
  2. Daisy in Blue from the Hello Sunshine collection by Riley Blake Designs (originally used for our Everything Apron)
  3. Cotton Couture in Azure by Michael Miller Fabrics (originally used for our Quilted Bed Runner project)
  4. Floral Vintage in Cream from the Vintage Modern collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics (originally used for several projects, including our Patchwork Placemats)
  • ¼ yard of 44"+ wide cotton print fabric for the center panel and front pocket; we used Aqua Dots
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide cotton print fabric for the outer panels and top loop; we used Blue Daisy
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide cotton print fabric for the lining and binding; we used Azure Cotton Couture
  • Scrap with a coordinating feature motif – you need an approximate 5" high x 7" wide scrap from which to fussy cut the approximate 3" high x 5" wide teapot appliqué; we used Cream Floral Vintage
  • ½ yard of insulating fleece: we used Insul-Bright by The Warm Company
  • Scrap of paper backed adhesive for the appliqué – as above, you need an approximate 5" high x 7" wide scrap from which to cut the approximate 3" high x 5" wide teapot appliqué; we used Wonder Under by Pellon
  • Scrap (an approximate 9" x 9" square) of lightweight interfacing for pocket panel; we used 950F Shir-Tailor® by Pellon
  • 1½ yards of coordinating jumbo rick rack; we used jumbo white rick rack, purchased locally
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Decorative thread in a slightly contrasting shade for the appliqué; we used 40 wt rayon in light blue
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the TWO pattern pieces and the ONE template. Print ONE copy of the Tea Cozy Pocket pattern. Print TWO copies of the Tea Cozy pattern. Print ONE copy of the Teapot Appliqué template.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern/template is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on each page to confirm your printout is the correct size. 
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines. Set the teapot template aside; do not cut it out quite yet.
  3. The cozy itself is two pieces. Keep one piece right side up; flip the other piece so it is wrong side up. Butt the two pieces together, following the arrows on the print out, to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape in place. Set the assembled pattern aside. 
  4. From the fabric for the center panel and front pocket (Aqua Dots in our sample), fussy cut the following: 
    TWO 7" wide x 13" high rectangles, centering a vertical motif – we used a line of dots
    Using the pocket pattern, cut ONE pocket
    NOTE: We recommend fussy cutting the pocket so it is a perfect match to the center panel. Or, at the least, carefully centering the pocket cut. An easy way to do this is to fold the pattern piece in half to position the pocket along a vertical motif. 
  5. From the fabric for the outer panels and top loop (Blue Daisy in our sample), cut the following:
    FOUR 6" wide x 13" high rectangles
    ONE 1¼" x 5" strip
  6. From the fabric for the lining and binding (Azure Cotton Couture in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 2" x 29" strips
    Using the assembled tea cozy pattern, cut TWO pieces
  7. From the insulating fleece, cut TWO 17" x 13" rectangles.
  8. From the lightweight interfacing, use the pocket pattern to cut ONE piece.
  9. Cut the rick rack into FOUR 13" lengths. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Preparing the front and back panels

  1. To insure perfect sizing and straight quilting, the teapot cozy pattern will be cut from a pre-assembled and pre-quilted front and back panel. 
  2. Find the six main panels and the four lengths of rick rack. 
  3. Arrange the panels into two sets of three, each with two outer panels and one center panel.
  4. Place a length of rick rack along each 13" side of each center panel. The "waves" of the jumbo rick rack should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric. Pin in place. 
    NOTE: If you do not use jumbo rick rack, you will need to adjust the position of the trim for the best reveal.
  5. Using an approximate ¼" seam allowance (could be anything less than ½"). Machine baste the rick rack in place.
  6. Place each outer panel, right sides together, on either side of the center panel, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. Pin in place.
  7. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the two center panel seams. 
  8. Press flat, pressing the seam allowances and the rick rack toward the outer panels. 
  9. You should now have TWO identical 17" wide x 13" high panels.
  10. Find the 17" x 13" insulating fleece panels. Place them right side up and flat on your work surface.
  11. Place a fabric panel right side up on top of each fleece panel. The edges of both layers should be flush all around. Pin the layers together.
  12. Using your ruler and a fabric pen or pencil, find the exact center of the middle panel. If you fussy cut your panel as recommended above, you should have a vertical motif to help you find the exact center line. 
  13. Draw a vertical center line.
  14. If possible, attach your Walking foot. Straight-line quilt (sometimes called channel quilting) through the two layers at 1" intervals, using a quilting bar to set an even distance.
    NOTE: If you do not have a Walking foot and/or a Quilting bar, pre-draw lines to follow at 1" intervals to the left and to the right of the center line with an erasable fabric pen or pencil.
  15. Your quilting goes at 1" intervals all the way across both the front and back panels.
    NOTE: As mentioned above, you may want to check out our Guest Tutorial by Heather Jones on Straight Line Quilting techniques
  16. Find the tea cozy pattern.
  17. Place it on a quilted panel, carefully lining up the center of the pattern with the center vertical quilting line. Pin the pattern in place on the panel. 
  18. Cut out the cozy pattern.
  19. Repeat to cut out a second cozy pattern from the remaining panel. 

Pocket and appliqué

  1. Find the fabric pocket panel and the pocket interfacing. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.
  2. Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, to set a center crease. Unfold the fabric, right side up, so the crease line is visible. Set the pocket panel aside.
  3. Find the appliqué fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the paper backed appliqué adhesive to the wrong side of the accent fabric. Use a large enough piece to cover the size of the appliqué template, and position it behind where you plan to cut the appliqué. 
  4. Find the teapot appliqué template. For the more detailed shapes of appliqués, we recommend cutting around the pattern first rather than cutting along the solid line. Carefully position the trimmed template on the fabric; you want the fabric's motif to be straight within the template and nicely centered. Pin the trimmed template to the accent fabric.
  5. Cut out the teapot appliqué along the solid line.
  6. Remove the paper backing from the appliqué shape.
  7. Find pocket panel. It should be right side up and flat so the crease line is visible. 
  8. Place the appliqué on the bottom half of the pocket rectangle. The appliqué should be centered side-to-side and top-to-bottom. 
  9. Fuse the appliqué in place, following manufacturer's instructions. 
  10. Thread the machine with bobbin thread in the bobbin and decorative thread in the top (we used light blue). Attach a decorative stitch presser foot or appliqué presser foot. We used the clear Janome Satin Stitch foot with its wide open front and helpful center guide notch.
  11. Select a small zig zag stitch. Practice first on scraps to get the stitch length and width that works/looks best for you.
  12. Zig zag around all the edges of the teapot appliqué, using the raw edge of the fabric as the center guide for your zig zag stitch. Go slowly and don't be afraid to stop, with the needle in the down position, and re-adjust along the way in order to keep your stitching smooth and pretty. This teapot is a more advanced appliqué shape; the curves of the handle and the top will definitely require a bit of adjustment along the way.

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our Appliqué Tutorial
  13. Fold the pocket in half, right sides together, along the original crease line. Pin along both sides. The bottom should be left open.
  14. Using a ½" seam allowance stitch both short side seams.
  15. Clip the corners and press the seams.
  16. Turn the pocket right side out through the bottom opening. Using a long, blunt end tool, gently push out the upper corners so they are nice and sharp. Press the pocket flat.
  17. Find whichever tea cozy cut-out you want to be the front panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the finished pocket right side up at the bottom of the center panel. The bottom raw edges of the pocket should be flush with the bottom raw edges of the cozy. The pocket should be centered side-to-side within the center panel. Pin the pocket in place along both sides. Again, if you fussy cut the pocket as recommended, the motif of the pocket should align nicely with the motif of the center panel. 
  18. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the main fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  19. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides.

Make loop and sew front to back

  1. Find the 1¼" x 5" strip. Fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease. Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible. Fold in each 5" raw edge to the center crease line. 
  2. Press in half again along the original crease line. Edgestitch the length of the strip through all the layers.
  3. Fold the strip in half, aligning the raw ends, to form a loop. Place the loop at the top center of the front cozy panel, aligning the raw ends of the loop with the raw edge of the cozy panel. Machine or hand baste in place.
  4. Place the cozy front panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
  5. Place the cozy back panel right side down so the two layers are right sides together. Pin together along the curve. The bottom remains open.
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the curve.
  7. Clip the curves, then grade the seam, trimming back one side of the seam allowance to ¼". This allows the seam to fold in nicely and helps reduce bulk. 

Lining and binding

  1. Find the two lining panels. Place them right sides together and pin in place along the curve. The bottom remains open. 
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the curve.
  3. Press the seam open and clip the curve as above.
  4. Keep the lining wrong side out. Find the exterior cozy, which should be right side out. Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two layers are now wrong sides together. Align the center curved seams of both layers.  
  5. Unlike a lined bag where the force of gravity helps keep the lining in place, the lining of this teapot cozy will want to drop out when you lift the cozy off the teapot. To help hold it in place, thread a hand sewing needle with thread to best match the exterior fabric and hand tack the lining to the exterior cozy at about five points along the seam. Your stitches should be hidden within the seam itself. Knot off each hand tack on the inside. 
  6. Find the two 2" strips of binding. Stitch the strips together end to end, using a ¼" seam allowance, to create one continuous strip. 
  7. Create the folded binding with your favorite method. You can use a manual bias tape maker or the super cool Simplicity Bias Tape Maker and do all the folding automatically. Or, you can make binding by hand, following the same method you used to create the binding loop above. Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, to create a center crease. Unfold, then fold each side in to meet together at the center crease. Then re-fold again along the original crease line.
  8. Starting at the center back of the cozy, slip the finished binding over the bottom raw edges and pin in place. Overlap or seam the binding where the ends meet at the center back. 
  9. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the binding fabric in the top and bobbin.
  10. Edgestitch in place through all the layers around the entire bottom opening. Go slowly to insure you catch both the front and back of the binding.
    NOTE: We have summarized the binding steps here because there are a number of options, and everyone has their favorite way to attach and join their binding. The number one rule is 'slow and steady wins the race.' You're sewing around a bit of a curve, which is trickier than a straight line, and are binding several layers. Don't fear the pin! Use plenty, removing them as you go. If you are brand new to the technique, take a look at our tutorial: A Complete Step-by-Step For Binding Quilts & Throws. We show detailed instructions for a number of attaching and finishing options. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (6)

Nancyjc said:
Nancyjc's picture

I'm currently making this for my mom for Mother's Day.  Couldn't find jumbo rickrack though so I decided to embellish with one of my decorative stitches and was very happy with the results.  This is so easy and such a great way to learn new skills - I've recently bought a Janome MC9900 which I love and this project has given me an opportunity to use so many of the wonderful features of this machine that I haven't had the opportunity to use yet.  I think I'll have to make myself one now too :D

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Nancyjc- That's what we love to hear!! Congrats on the new MC9900 - it's a great machine. And, yes!, you need to make one for yourself!

rrodgers said:
rrodgers's picture

Just wanted to let you know that I took your pattern and downsized it to make a cozy for a tea mug. My mother will receive it as part of her Mother's Day gift. She is a widow who no longer makes her tea in a teapot but in a mug - therefore the need for a "mini" version of this. I also made it reversible (which involved some hand sewing) for a change pf pace. Considering my mom is the one who taught me to sew I figured this was the perfect way to say "happy Mother's Day" as well as "thank you" for the sewing knowledge which allowed me to make her this gift.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ rrodgers - that sounds adorable. I'm sure your mom is going to love it. What a sweet gift idea.

norskie3 said:
norskie3's picture

I,too, am an avid tea drinker.  I can hardly wait to make this tea cozy.  It is so cheerful!  

Thank you very much.  It has been a great week again with Sew4Home.

Momo said:
Momo's picture

This is so pretty, and I am a dedicated tea drinker, so I downloaded all the patterns and instructions, because this is a project I've wanted to do for a long time.  Thank you!  

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