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Picking Your Fabric
My instructions are to sew a reversible tea cozy, so selecting two fabrics that work well together is key. You might want to be clever and choose designs that represent different holidays (Christmas and Easter for example) or colour themes for your kitchen versus your living room. In my case, I was making the gift and wasn’t quite sure the colour of the kitchen, so went for a popular blue in the form of the Hand Block Zig Zag Blue Organic Cambric, against a striking black and white monochrome print Chakra Hand Block Cambric that would work with lots of themes.
For ease, I’ll refer to the two different fabrics as the Inner Fabric and the Outer Fabric. Once it’s assembled either fabric may be on the inside or outside, of course!
Determine Tea Cozy Size
To begin with, you will need to know the approximate size of your teapot. My teapot (shown above) is large: it can hold around 1.5 litres. I made the large version of the tea cozy to cover my teapot. I based my size on a tea cozy I already owned, but have figured out measurements for you here – in case you don’t have a teapot!
Ingredients (Choose Large or Small Teapot)
ZERO WASTE TIP: If you don’t have batting, then why not cut up and shred down your scrap fabrics? You can also use up any scraps leftover from this project.
Outer Fabric (the same size as the Inner Fabric)
Large: 2 x 30cm by 25cm pieces of fabric
Small: 2 x 28cm by 22cm pieces of fabric
Outer Binding Fabric (n.b. do you want a contrasting binding or same fabric?)
Large: 5cm by WOF (63cm minimum length) 1cm pressed under on both sides, down the length
Small: 5cm by WOF (60cm minimum length) 1cm pressed under on both sides, down the length
I would recommend interfacing your binding with a strip approximately 5mm smaller on all sides.
Inner Tag (same for both size pots) (n.b. do you want a contrasting binding or same fabric?)
Large: 10cm by 4cm
Small: 10cm by 4cm
Outer Piping Fabric (same for both sizes)
Large: 5cm by 75cm minimum length
Small: 5cm by 72cm minimum length
1. Cut Your Fabric & Wadding into Semi Circles
Fold the fabric down the centre, so that both sides are the same. I used my eye for this, and rounded off the edges of the square fabric, but you could use the pencil and string trick if you’re worried. Then cut all four pieces of fabric together and used those pieces as a guide for the batting.
2. Sew The Inner Tag
Fold the tag in half wrong sides together down the length. Sew down the edges leaving a 1cm seam allowance. TIP: Leave the thread of your last stitch really long – don’t cut it off. You can use this to thread a needle and feed the thread back inside the channel and pull it through! Before you use the trick, trim down the seam allowances, so that it isn’t so bulky once you turn through. Then turn it through using the nifty trick above. Once fully turned through, press – try and really get those seams pushed out – we don’t want any fabric lips, thank you!
3. Sew the Inner Cozy With The Tag
With the inner cozy pieces, wrong sides together, fold your cozy in half, and mark the exact centre of the top (semi circle) and bottom (straight) edges. This top edge will be where you place your tag.
Fold your ready sewn tag in half. Place your tag in between the inner cozy by the mark – the ends should touch the edges of the fabric. TIP: Put one of your ends a few millimetres over the edge and the other end a few more, so to avoid bulk when you turn through.
4. Prepare Outer Piping
I usually never cheat with piping, but I ended up cheating completely by accident when I picked up adhesive piping cord! I’d never used it before, but I have to say… I may be sticking with it. (Oh goodness excuse that pun).
Simply fold your piping fabric strip in half and push the rounded piping cord edged into the fold. Press down with a hot iron being careful not to create any folds – the trick here is not to pull the fabric, try and press it into place without any tension. The fusing will help the fabric to stay in place while you can pin it straight to your outer cozy piece. Marvellous!
5. Stitch the Outer Pieces With The Piping
Pin the raw edge of the folded piping to the right side of one of the outer cozy pieces. Sew down – this stitch will be hidden inside the tea cozy, so just stitch 0.5cm from the edge to keep it in place. Then place the second piece on the other side, sandwiching the piping inside, right sides together. Now, you’ll need to change your sewing machine foot so you can get right next to the piping. Change it to a zipper foot, if you don’t have a specific piping foot.
6. Stuff The Cozy With Wadding
Place the inner bag inside the outer bag, wrong sides together. It should be looking more like a tea cozy now! Push the wadding inside the cozy on both sides and lie flat. If you’d like to place a few holding stitches to keep the wadding from shifting then I’d place them around the edges of the cozy near your seams. I didn’t find I needed to add any holding stitches in, but my wadding is lovely and thick and stays put even with a wash. I did keep the wadding in place with a few pins while I did the next step. TIP: Pin from the fabric side of the cozy, not next to the wadding (I forgot to take my pins out and had to fish them out from inside the cozy!).
7. Close the Tea Cozy with A Binding
You should have already ironed your binding edges down 1cm on each side. Pin your inner and outer tea cozy edges together with your wadding sandwiched in between – you want to catch your wadding in this next stitch line. Fold one end of your bias binding back on itself approximately 1cm. Starting with this folded back end, align your bias binding along your tea cozy edge to edge, right side to right side and pin in place. Once you’ve gone the full circle of your opening, overlap the ends of your binding by two centimetres (if you find you have more than this overlapping then just trim it down). Stitch in place with a 1cm seam allowance, along the binding fold line.
The other side of the binding should still have a 1cm pressed edge. Fold this down and pin in place to itself (Tip – pin on the right side of the fabric, not the side with the raw edge). Then fold the binding over again, enclosing your raw edge. The end of the bias binding should already be folded down 1cm, so it should be easy to make sure this looks nice first. Pin in place.
Pinning Tip: Pin your bias binding approximately 2 mm from the edge, and make sure the pin goes through the seam line on the back. You want your stitch to be 2mm from the edge you’re closing, and to hit the seam line on the other side. Pinning the bias binding exactly where you want to sew will help guide your stitch to the right place on the back!
Before you do the next step, make sure any pins you used to keep the wadding in place are removed now – don’t do what I did and close them inside! It takes forever to fish them out again.
Baste/tack in place. Stitch this down. Remove the tacks. The nice thing about catching the wadding, is that the binding looks more like piping, mimicking the piping on the outer teapot cozy.
Et voila! A step by step guide to sew a reversible tea cozy – beautiful and chic. Very simple construction with a few fiddly bits to add a bit of nice finishing – you can always leave the tag and the piping out if it’s too technical. Ideal for using up any leftover squares of fabric.
The whole thing took me around three hours, but I’m quite a fast sewer, so I’d recommend allowing for four to five if you’re a novice.
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