Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stumpy Gets a Fall Wardrobe

I've never had much concern with tea getting overly cold at home. I use a two-cup For Life 'Stump' teapot that I've nicknamed Stumpy who brews just 'enough.' Though when the weather starts to cool down in the northern hemisphere, and especially at the day job where freshly brewed tea might sit for an hour before I can pour the second cup, the idea of using a tea cozy gets, well... cozier.

I own a nice middle-of-the-line Singer Confidence sewing machine and had some nice leaf fabric left over from a weekend quilting project, so I did a little research and came across this very reliable guide to sewing your own tea cozies as found on RustedBobbin. She goes step-by-step, and the instructions are her original ideas, but I've improvised a bit - as I always do - and added a few things to Stumpy's model.

I measured Stumpy's circumference and height, divided the two measurements in half, added 2 inches to the width and 3 inches to the height to account for wiggle room and seam allowances. His final pattern requirements were 8.5" x 10".

I cut a master pattern in white felt, first cutting an 8.5" x 10" square then rounding off the corners with scissors to make the dome shape. From there I made two more felt 'faces', and then cut 2 faces each of the main yellow pattern, a white muslin backing fabric, and a green plaid fabric for the lining. I also cut one face of quilt batting for each side.

Wanting to do a little piecework, I cut the main yellow faces down to about 5" tall to allow for squares of other fabric to be sewn together and added, using one of the felt faces as a template. I cut 2 squares each of 5 different pieces of fall fabric, measuring 2.5" x 3.5" (including seam allowance).

My custom lining formula: pieced fabric, craft felt, ultra-loft batting, muslin backing fabric

Using my machine, I pieced together the squares with the 3.5" side used as the vertical end, pressing the seams. With the row completed, I then attached them to the main yellow dome, right sides facing, to get a complete "face." This was repeated for the opposite face.

Once the piecework was done, it was time to layer and sew. As seen above, I added a layer of felt behind the facing fabric, then a layer of quilt batting, then a backing fabric.

Before pinning the two sandwiched faces together, I made a leaf-shaped handle by folding a 3" square into a triangle, then folding the ends in again to make a square. I pinned it to the "right" side of the bottom piece, then turned the other piece with the "right" side matching the "right" side of the bottom piece, and then stitched along the side of the dome to connect.

With both felt and quilt batting layered twice, you may need to adjust your presser foot on your machine to accomodate movement, but I managed to get this big seam done without having to change. I was lucky, but I'm not much of a stickler for following directions either, so go with what makes you comfortable.

The tea cozy is then more-or-less completed. You could bind the edges if you wished, or you could do as I did and add a seperate lining by stitching the dome edge of the lining pieces together. Leave a 4-5" hole at the top of the dome, slip the lining over the completed cozy, pin the edges to the right side of the cozy, and stitch about 1/4"-1/2" all the way around. You then pull the cozy through the unstitched top of the lining and it will look like this:

At that point, you just slip-stitch the lining so it's closed and then punch the lining back in and press. Voila! You have a new tea-cozy that is sturdy, stylish, and custom-fit (if you're Stumpy).

Materials that were necessary:

Measuring tape if you have a non-standard type of teapot

Minimum of 6 pieces of fabric of your choice that measure 8.5" 10"

One 3" square of coordinating fabric for a handle

2 pieces of craft felt also minimum of 8.5" x 10"

2 pieces of quilt batting or fiber-fill pulled to measure 8.5" x 10"

Sewing machine capable of stitching through layers of felt, batting, and fabric

Glass-head pins

Thread and needle for closing lining fabric

Buttons, beads, rik-rak or whatever kind of embellishment your imagination can bring

The other weekend quilting project, nearly completed, that inspired Stumpy's new chic threads.

Don't let your tea go naked this fall!


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