In the winter I always look forward to extended tea-drinking sessions over projects in the afternoon "¦ and as a social ritual with friends. Steam coming off the top of the pot while crafters create a tea cozies can be the perfect combination for a design-play afternoon.
It is said the tea cozy came about in England in the 1800s when a Duchess created the afternoon tea ritual. As friends gathered to catch up around an afternoon pot of tea, the pot became cold all too quickly. British knitters took up the call to cover tea pots with knitted "caps," and the tea cozy was born.
For me, the tea cozy, a well-used object in my everyday life, has become an art form. Creating new designs to house the tea pots in my collection is the perfect winter project.
If you'd like to join me, pour a cup of tea and let's get started.
materials and tools:
Fabrics: Be creative with your materials. Cotton quilting fabrics, old work shirts, wool sweaters or polar fleece will all work for a tea cozy.
Your tea cozy will have three layers: fabric for the outside, a lining for the inside and a layer of padding in between. Batting is available from the fabric store, though polar fleece or a recycled sweater will work for padding, too.
Wool and cotton seem to hold the heat better than synthetics. To felt a wool sweater: wash in hot water, rinse in cold, then dry in a hot dryer. This will shrink it and tighten up the knit. The felted sweater can also be used as the padding and will hold the heat in well.
- Needle and thread or sewing machine
- Embroidery thread, trims and other decorative treasures
- Measuring tape and scissors
To start, you will need to measure the height and circumference your tea pot. You'll add 2 inches to the height and 3 inches to the circumference.
For example, a medium-sized pot is 10 inches tall, so your measurement would be 10 + 2 = 12. The circumference would be 25 + 3 = 28. Then divide the circumference in half (28/2 = 14).
Following are directions for a fabric tea cozy cut from a 12-by-14-inch rectangle. You can easily cut a pattern using a brown paper bag. You can also test the shape you desire out of fabric and pin the edges together to check the fit. Remember, the padding will take up some room, too.
Fabric Tea Cozy
1. Cut two of each: an outside layer (A and B), a layer of padding or batting and a lining.
2. Put the outside fabric on the padding on both A (the front) and B (the back). Baste around the edge to hold it in place.
Next, stitch the lining pieces (with right sides together) along the bottom edges of A and B pieces. If you want a tie or handle of some kind in the seam, attach it to the top edge of this piece now, leaving the raw edge to the outside.
3. With the right sides together, put pieces A and B together.
4. Decide whether you want to leave openings for the spout and handle now. Next, stitch all around leaving a 4- to 5-inch opening on the lining edge for turning the cozy right-side out.
5. Clip any curved edges or corners and trim extra padding from the seam-allowance area. Pull the cozy right-side out through the opening and tuck the lining to the inside. Stitch the hole closed, or if you have left holes for the handle and spout, stitch lining around opening. To hold the lining up inside, take a stitch in each corner and center.
Decorating Your Cozy
Anything goes here; make it personal. Knot buttons, beads, tabs, loops or stuffed creatures — maybe even small pockets for treasures or a favorite collection of buttons or pins.
Now it's time to call a friend and share tea.