Monday, June 11, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted & The Tea Squared Tea Cozy Tutorial

Hey folks! Today is my day for the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop. If you haven't been here before, Welcome! My name is Yzo and I am a stay-at-home mother to three young, very active {crazy} children. I also help my partner run our business. My partner works out of town a lot, which means that I am working-from-home-and-full-time-parenting all by myself for long periods of time. To avoid going totally (more than I already am) bonkers, I started knitting again about seven years ago. My Nana taught me to knit and (hand) sew when I was little, and thank goodness! Because living my current life without crafting would be inconceivable. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, productivity and creative freedom that I don't get otherwise (dishes & laundry, I'm looking at you).

Sewing really wasn't my main obsession until I discovered modern quilting and all the related bloggy inspiration about three years ago. I also love to make kids clothes, bags, etc. However, I make stuff at a snail's pace. Seriously. It takes me forever to commit to a pattern, to choose fabric and commit to cutting it up, and then to find the time to actually start sewing it. It's kind of amazing anything ever gets finished.

Here are some of my favourite quilting projects:

And here are some non-quilty projects:

For the blog hop, Beth asked us to share a project featuring either novelty fabric or colour, and she also provided us a with a little Q & A:

Favourite quilting tip: Don't be afraid to try something new. It's just fabric. If it doesn't work out, maybe you can repurpose it into something you'll like even more!
Favourite fabric: Kind of in love with Melody Miller.
Favourite craft book: I love Elizabeth Hartman's The Practical Guide to Patchwork and Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, but there are a dozen others that I also love.
Favourite book: One book that has stayed with me, though it's been decades since I first read it, is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I once even persuaded some random guy in a bookstore that he had to buy it (he did).
Favourite children's book: I love Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I am so thrilled that my son is old enough now (he's eight) that we are reading it together (yes, I'm a sci-fi geek).
Favourite quilting tool: Rotary cutter. Did people actually make quilts before rotary cutters were invented? Incredible. Oh, and those Clover glass headed quilting pins - they are long and extra fine, and it's weird, but I really do like them more.
Favourite music to listen to while quilting: I like to listen to audiobooks (since I always fall asleep if I try to actually read a book these days). Henning Mankell is a current favourite.
Favourite TV show while handstitching: I just started watching Breaking Bad a few months ago on Netflix, and now I'm all out of episodes. I need more meth episodes!
Binding - hand or machine? Both. Usually by machine for anything I have a big time crunch on, but by hand for baby quilts or anything "special".
If I'd only known... I don't know! I'm still learning :)

On to the main attraction...

Now, I'm so excited you're all here so that I can share my Father's Day project with you! My partner is seriously into tea time. He especially loves High Tea, you know, with scones and jam and Devonshire cream and itty bitty sandwiches, and since that is part of my heritage I am happy to bake scones and make tea and cut the crusts off cucumber sandwiches for him. (Plus, I love him.) Last year for Father's Day, we bought him a variety of vintage teacups and saucers, and this lovely (modern) teapot:

We needed a pot that was big enough for our family of five to all be able to have a cup and a refill, and one that wasn't too frilly. When I found this pot-bellied yet elegant teapot, I thought, "Perfect! I'll make him a tea cozy!" So that was last year. Father's Day 2012 project = tea cozy. This project was inspired by many of the Zakka projects that have been floating around, as well as verykerryberry's gorgeous paper pieced tea cozy, and Amber's signature raw edge applique projects. In a flash of genius, I decided to be super original and make my tea cozy with a teapot shaped appliqué, cut out of - gasp - teapot themed novelty fabric! Hence:

The Tea Squared Tea Cozy Tutorial
{Note: This is a great Fat Quarter project!}

Materials List:

1 FQ outer fabric (or 2 pieces measuring approx 15" x 9" each) *I used a different fabric for the front and back, and then used the back (Melody Miller teacup) fabric for the appliqué shape
1 FQ lining fabric (or 2 pieces measuring approx 15" x 9" each)
1 6" x 8" piece of fabric for appliqué shape (or 2 pieces if you'd like both sides of your cozy to be appliquéd)
16" x 20" batting. I used some Insul-Brite leftover from making oven mitts.
Basting spray or pins
Embroidery thread (not pictured)
Heat n Bond Lite (or other iron-on, fusible-on-both-sides) appliqué paper
Small appliqué or embroidery scissors
Teapot graphic. Download here.

To determine the shape that you will cut out, start by measuring your teapot. Mine is super fat. Or superphat. Either way, it's awesome. Now take the circumference and divide that in two, and add 1" for ease and seam allowances. Divide that number in two, and that is the bottom width of your pattern piece. Mine was 28" around (including the spout), so 14" wide plus 1" ease, divided by 2 = 7.5". Add 1" to the measured height of your teapot, and that is the height of your pattern piece. Mine was 8" + 1", so I needed fabric pieces 15" x 9". Draw a gentle curve at the top corner of your pattern. My pot's spout and handle are higher than a traditional pot, so I drew my curve a little higher.

You will need to cut (on the fold) 2 pieces of outer fabric, 2 pieces of lining fabric, and 2 pieces of batting. In addition, you need to cut a 2" x 4" piece of the outer fabric for the tab and a 6" x 8" piece of fabric for the appliqué shape (or two pieces if you want to put the shape on both sides of the cozy).

For the raw edge appliqué, download and print the teapot graphic and trace onto the paper side of the Heat n Bond. Give your daughter the teapot printout to keep her busy for 3.5 seconds while you try to make this.

If you want to fussy cut the appliqué shape, place it over your fabric shiny side up (remember that the shape will be reversed on the final appliqué so you want to reverse it here while fussy cutting). Mark the top, bottom and sides with pins so that you can see where to place it on the wrong side of the fabric. Position the shape on the wrong side of the fabric and press with a hot, dry iron to adhere the Heat n Bond paper. With appliqué or embroidery scissors, cut out the shape along the edge of the paper, and then peel the paper off.

Position your fabric appliqué on the right side of the outer fabric and press it again with the hot iron to attach.

Baste the outer fabric with the appliqué to the batting. Sew the edges of the appliqué down using either zig zag, straight stitch, or free motion.

One thing that I like about this technique is that even my amateurish, can't-stay-inside-the-lines stitching ends up looking good after going over it a few times. Okay. It's cute, but kind of blah....

Out comes the embroidery thread. That's better. I used six strands of varying colours of grey embroidery thread and just eyeballed it. I realized after the fact that I totally stole this idea from was inspired by verykerryberry's tea cozy.

Now, baste the back fabric to the batting. I also added a little embroidery to the back to quilt the fabric and batting together. Quilt however you like, but with a project like this that is pretty small and won't be washed often, quilting isn't strictly necessary.

 This was my first time "handquilting" - I count it as a learning experience!

Make the tab by folding the fabric in half lengthwise and pressing. Now fold the long outer edges in to meet at the seam, like when making bias tape. Edge stitch the two sides together. Fold the tab into a loop and position at the centre top of one of the outer pieces of the cozy, with the loop facing in. Baste in place with 1/8" seam allowance.

Pin the basted outer layers of the tea cozy together and sew along the curved edge using a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim any excess bulk out of the seam allowance and clip the curves. Place the lining fabric right sides together and stitch with a 3/8" seam allowance - don't forget to leave a 4" gap in the centre top for turning. (I totally forgot and had to pull out the seam ripper. Don't be like me.)

Turn the lining right side out and place inside the outer layer so that the right sides are together. Pin around the edge matching the side seams, and stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn the cozy out through the hole in the lining, then, using your hands through the hole in the lining, smooth out the curves along the seam inside the outer layer of the cozy. Press the bottom edge of cozy and topstitch 1/4" from edge.

Slipstitch the lining closed, and, as you are finishing, push the lining into position inside the cozy and catch some of the seam allowance of the outer layer with your final few stitches to attach the lining to the inside so that it can't be pulled out of the cozy.

Now brew yourself up a cuppa and enjoy having hot tea for hours! And here is my favourite scone recipe, from the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, in case you want to be like the Queen. Note that this recipe is for 35 scones, so change the desired yield at the top of the page unless you want to be eating scones for the next three weeks. Of course, 35 scones would last about that many hours in my house.

Everybody loves teatime - especially this one!

Thanks so much for visiting. It has been a great experience putting together my first tutorial (and learning firsthand that tutorials take eleventy-two times longer than you think!) -- if you find any glaring mistakes, please let me know!

As part of the blog hop, yesterday Lynne from Lily's Quilts posted some great ideas on how to grow your blog. Check it out here. If you haven't already had a chance to do so, you can visit Kelly at Jeliquilts, she is also posting for the blog hop today. I am sure she is going to whip up something colourful and delicious! And on Thursday, Debbie from A Quilter's Table and Sarah from Silly Banana Sewing will be posting.

Plum and June


  1. That is the coolest tea cosy!! Great post :)

  2. That's really fab! What a great tea-cosy and your tutorial is really clear. I can't wait to try it.

  3. Hey there! You did a great job with the tutorial and the tea cozy is adorable! And it's been lovely learning more about you. I wish my husband was into high tea. I love it but he is more of a coffee man. So any suggestion of afternoon tea (even on mother's day) is genereally overuled. Such a shame! Looking forward to seeing your next project :-)

  4. That tea cozy is awesome! I love all the details! And the Zakka inspiration. I enjoyed reading your post and learning more about you and your favorites. And your mosaics are great - so many wonderful projects!

  5. Lovely to meet you! Crafting has always kept me sane too. Even as a child i craved some alone time to think and create and it definitly kept me sane when the kids were very young!
    Your tea cozy is lovely! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Love it! The last pictures with the teacups is so great! Thanks for the tutorial!

  7. That's a great tea cozy! Would love to make one! Thanks for sharing. =)

  8. I love Ender's Game too! I can't wait until my son is old enough to read some of the YA fiction that I love.

  9. Great tutorial, I *love* the handstitched steam on the teapot! I am a big Breaking Bad fan too, I have been checking Netflix obsessively for season 4 to show! I need my fix LOL!

  10. Lovely tea cosy - this would be a great gift for my sister-in-law as she is a big tea fan. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  11. Oh this is great fun - and what a nice tutorial. Our family has gone through periods where we really enjoyed doing "high" tea at home too! Nice to get to know you a bit and thanks for sharing!

  12. Absolutley ADORABLE project and great tutorial!!

  13. This is so cute, I never would have thought a teapot needed a cozy! I'm going to have to try this applique method, thanks for the tutorial!

  14. Adorable cozy! I've been meaning to make one for ages do maybe I'll give it s go. I'm definitely trying the scone recipe - my parents live in Victoria but I've never made it to the Empress for tea!

  15. Cute project. I think that my teapot needs a cozy.

  16. What a thoughtful gift, and a great tutorial too. Think I'm going to have to go and stick the kettle on now!

  17. That's such a nice tea cosy .. I bet the tea tastes a lot better when you pour it from that teapot. I have to look into the scones recipe, so far I have only eaten them in the UK, but I'm sure I can do them on my own too.

  18. Absolutely darling project, Yzo! I just love that tea cosy. I'm a huge Melody Miller fan too, so I was excited to see your projects with her fabric...that bag with the viewmaster reels is great!! Nice to meet you!

  19. Great getting to know you, Yzo! What nationality is your name? It's beautiful. I love this tutorial --so clever.

    You know how people are always saying they'll never use math? Math teachers should start responding with "you better pay attention if you ever want to be a quilter!" To which all the kids would respond with "... like we said. Never going to use this" :P

  20. Cute cosy! I am waiting for the next season of Breakin Bad too! Can't wait! Have fun sewing!

  21. So cute, great tutorial! Nice to meet you.

  22. Cute project, thank you for the tutorial!

  23. I am in awe of your stitching - 'sew' lovely. So glad you are also part of the blog hop!!!

  24. Loving the teapot cosy! I so love the idea of High Tea and teapots but I hate tea! Doesn't stop me from having a little tea pot on display though :)

  25. Love the teapot cozy - nice to know more about you too!

  26. Very cute! I Don't make a lot of tea, but I can picture taking this tutorial and turning it into a sewing machine cover. Your hanstitching is awesome, I'm just now learning to handstitch and I love it!

  27. Awesome little tea cozy. So nice to meet you!

    Vicki @ Quilting Lodge

  28. I need one of these for my teapot! Sooooo cute!

  29. Great tutorial, definitely going to give it a go, I am now ashamed of my naked teapot!

  30. Your tea cozy is lovely! I have a husband who is out of town for work a lot too, so I understand the crazy life of parenting three lively children largely on your own.

  31. Oh it's so so pretty! I especially love the fabric and I'm a huge fan of raw edge applique. But, gasp, we don't even own a teapot! Maybe I'll have to take this and tweak it and make it into a hot pad or something. Thanks for the tut!

  32. Great tutorial. I am quite the tea drinker (English born - its in the blood) so I shall be making one for sure. You are delightful and so is your blog. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us!! BTW - How do you pronouncE your name????

  33. Enders Game? Love it! I'm a total sci-fi geek myself. Fav books of all time include 1984, Brave New World, Alas Babylon, you get the idea, lol!
    I love your tea cozy, it's so darn cute. Really good tutorial too! :)

  34. Great tea cosy tute. Nice to learn more about you. Di x

  35. What a fabulous tutorial, so cute! Perfect gift for my in-laws, thanks!

  36. Great tutorial. I've never tried fabric appliqué is on my list though!

  37. Nice tutorial. I've been thinking about doing one of those. Now I know where to look for an idea. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Nice to meet you and visit your blog. Love your tagline . . . Procraftination. I too feel like sometimes things get done at a snails pace. Blog posts for example. Still trying to figure that out. But other times lots happens. It will be nice to see your future posts.

  39. Great tea cozy, Yzo! Thanks for telling us more about yourself and giving this awesome tutorial!

  40. I love the tea cosy! I love the fussy cut applique teapot :)

  41. Your tea cozy is so cute. I love that stitched steam:). I am just catching up with Plum and June's blog hop - nice to meet you!

  42. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just love the detail on the tea cosy, it's the little things like the embroidery that really finish the piece - such a charming project.

  43. As a true Brit who loves her tea I'd like to award you the best tea cozy tutorial award. It's fab and I much prefer it to the pleated knitted ones with pompoms on that I long since grew up with. I'm inspired to make one for my mum so I'll be secretly measuring up her teapot when I visit her next week ;) Good to meet you although I'm a little late joining the blog hop and catching up with everyone that's gone before, ChrissieD :)


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