Winters in England can be pretty brutal – grey skies day after day, freezing temperatures but seldom snow to make it pretty, rain, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, did I mention the rain?
I can think of two things that can help make Winter better wherever you are though – hot pyjamas straight off the radiator and going to bed with a hot water bottle! The pyjamas you can probably figure out for yourself but I’m excited to share my new and improved quilted hot water bottle cover sewing tutorial today! This hot water bottle cover is my own design which I originally created back in 2014 for the (now sadly extinct) Liberty Craft Blog. After Liberty’s blog disappeared in a puff of smoke a little while ago I decided to revisit my old tutorial and give it a fresh new look. I have simplified the process and re-shot it to make it even clearer. Because it’s essentially a two dimensional shape, this is the perfect beginners project. If you can sew in a straight(ish) line, you can make a hot water bottle cover 🙂
For my main fabric I chose ‘Rosa’ by Rifle Paper Co x Cotton and Steel. Rifle Paper Co’s beautiful, folksy florals translate from paper to fabric so wonderfully and I just knew I needed a little sliver of this print in my life.
To make the hot water bottle cover you will need…
Main fabric – the amount of fabric you need will vary depending on the size of your hot water bottle. A piece approx. 50 cm by 100 cm should be plenty for a standard size bottle. You will need the same amount of cotton batting and lining fabric as your main fabric.
Bias binding (you can buy it ready made or make your own – if making your own like me you can find an old tutorial of mine here!)
Thread to match your main fabric
Fabric pencil / taylors chalk
Needle (for hand sewing)
To make the pattern you will need…
A hot water bottle
A few large sheets of paper (try taping some A4 sheets together)
Before you begin, don’t forget to wash, dry and iron your fabric!
MAKING THE PATTERN:
1. Place your hot water bottle in the centre of your paper and draw around the outside. Remove the bottle and, using the ruler, draw a straight line from the ‘shoulder’ of the bottle straight up to the top of the spout. Add a 3 cm seam allowance all the way around the outline of your bottle. Cut out your first pattern piece – label it ‘front’.
2. Using your front pattern piece as a template, create two more pattern pieces exactly the same. Using a ruler, draw and then cut one of the new pattern pieces across horizontally, approximately 2/3 of the way up (just before the ‘shoulder’ of the bottle starts to curve). Label the bottom section of this pattern piece ’lower back’ and discard the top.
3. Take your remaining pattern piece and draw a horizontal line 3 cm lower than the one you drew for the lower back pattern piece. Cut across the line, discard the bottom bit and label the top ‘Upper Back’ These two pattern pieces will form the back of the hot water bottle cover – the idea is that they will overlap slightly once the bottle is inside.
MAKING THE HOT WATER BOTTLE COVER:
1. Using your three pattern pieces, cut a piece of your main fabric, cotton batting and lining fabric from each. Stack them up as follows: lining fabric wrong side (WS) facing, cotton batting, main fabric right side (RS) facing. Pin around the edges and then tack either by hand or using your sewing machine – you can then remove the pins to avoid snagging yourself (or breaking a needle) when quilting!
2. A quilting foot for your sewing machine makes the job of quilting your fabric easy (or so I assume). If like me you don’t have one, take your ruler and mark your quilting lines across the right side of your fabric. Make sure they’re equally spaced so that you end up with neat squares – I set mine 2 cm apart.
3. Sew over your quilting lines, making sure to sew right to the edges and backstitch at the beginning and end of each row. Changing direction with each row of stitches helps stop the fabric bunching!
4. Finish the two open edges on the back of your hot water bottle with bias binding using your preferred method – I do this by opening out the bias binding and pinning it to the main fabric RS together and machine sewing along the fold before wrapping the bias binding around to the wrong side. I then use a needle and thread to slip stitch the bias binding to the lining resulting in a nice clean edge with no visible stitches! You may need to carefully grade the seam allowance a little in order to allow the bias binding to stretch over.
5. Now is a good time to give your hot water bottle pieces a little iron – giving them a good blast of steam from the wrong side will help ‘puff up’ the little quilted squares 🙂 Stack your hot water bottle cover as follows: front WS facing, lower back RS facing, upper back RS facing. Pin through all layers of fabric then machine sew around the edge with a 1 cm seam allowance.
6. The last step is to finish the edge of the hot water bottle cover using bias binding, just like you did for the back opening. If you’re using the slip stitch method like me then machine sew the bias binding to the back as this is the side that will receive the most stress with the opening and closing of the hot water bottle. Trim the seam allowance if needed before wrapping the bias binding around to the front of the hot water bottle and slip stitching the bias binding into place.
You’re all done! For the perfect hot water bottle experience, fill your bottle 2/3 of the way with boiling water, then carefully compress out any air before screwing in the stopper (this is important – as any air trapped in the bottle will expand with the heat and could cause the bottle to burst). If the bottle feels inflated in any way then you’re in the danger zone. I like to make my hot water bottle up before I get ready for bed, then I put it where I’m going to sit (so, just below my pillows) and then cover it with the duvet. When I get in bed I push it down to my feet and there it stays for the rest of the night.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial – if you make one let me know how you get on! Why not come over to Instagram and say hi? You can find me @chloemullaneyUK