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Sunday
Jan122014

Molly's Sketchbook: Felted Wool Hot Water Bottle Cover

It’s miraculous that in this modern world sometimes the best cure for life’s aches and pains is as simple as a little hot water. A rubber hot water bottle is the perfect conveyance for healing warmth, inexpensive and virtually indestructible. 

Our Felted Wool Hot Water Bottle Covers celebrate this straightforward utility. I made them with Dorr Mill’s 100% wool, which I washed until it was soft and felted and then stitched together with a handsome zigzag blanket stitch.

The result is homey, classic and my favorite thing… practical! These Covers do what hot water bottle covers have always done; they keep the hot water hot and your body warm.  

If you’ve never tried blanket stitch this project is a great introduction. The gentle rhythm of the stitches is a real treat, and the combination of the soft felted wool and the smart stitching make for a very satisfying endeavor. And just like the water bottle itself, it’s built to last a lifetime! --Molly

The Materials

To make one cover for a standard 2-quart hot water bottle like this one you'll need:

The Pattern

Cut

Using the taped together Templates, cut pieces A (top right, in above photo), B (lower right in the photo), and C (left) from the felted Wool.

Sew

Press and pin the long straight edges of pieces A and B, 3/8 inch to the wrong side.

Using the cotton sewing thread, sew down these folds with a ¼-inch seam allowance.

Embroider

NOTE: For all the embroidery in this pattern, use 3 strands of the DMC floss. 

You will work a zigzag blanket stitch around the hemmed edge of piece A and then later around the entire outer edge of the Hot Water Bottle Cover.

First, cut a 24-inch length of the embroidery floss and separate it into two lengths, 3 strands each. Thread an embroidery needle with one of these lengths.

With the right side of piece A facing up, push the needle from the back side to the front side, ¼ inch from the left edge and 1/4-inch below the top fold.

Instead of tying a knot, leave a 4-inch tail and bring the working floss behind this tail. Pull the tail to the left, causing the stitch to angle left.

Bring the needle back around to the front and insert it directly into the previous exit point. Pull the needle through to the back and over the back working floss, as shown above. 

Pull the working floss to the right so the stitch angles right. The entire stitch will look like a little triangle. It should look the same on the back. 

From the front side, insert the needle 1/4 inch to the right of the bottom point of the first stitch.

Pull the needle through, but do not pull it taut yet. Instead, insert the tip of the needle, from right to left, under the X-shaped intersection at the top of the previous stitch.  

Pull the floss taut. It should be anchored to the top of the previous stitch and angled to the left, as shown above.

Continue by inserting the needle, from front to back, directly into the previous exit point. Pull the needle through, passing it over the back floss and angling the stitch to the right.

The second stitch should look like the first.

Just as you did previously, insert the needle from front to back 1/4 inch to the right of the bottom point of the previous stitch. Pass the tip of the needle under the X-shaped intersection at the top of the previous stitch. Pull the floss taut.

Insert the needle from front to back directly into the previous exit. Pull the needle through to the back, passing it over the back floss and angling the stitch to the right. Pull the floss taut.

Keep stitching in this manner until you have 4 inches of floss left. Tie a small overhand knot at the top right corner of the last stitch

Then insert the needle right under the knot, and pass the needle through the hem about 1 inch to the left.

Snip the floss at the exit point to hide it. 

To start with the next length of floss, pull the needle from back to front through the top of the last stitch.

Insert the needle ¼ inch to the right of the bottom point of the last stitch. 

Coming from the back, insert the tip of the needle under the X-shaped intersection at the top of the last stitch.  Pull the needle through, leaving a 4-inch tail, just as you did at the beginning of the first length of floss. 

Continue stitching in this manner until the end of the straight edge. 

Once you’re done with the stitching, hide the remaining tails by tying a small overhand knot at the top of the nearest stitch, pulling the tail through the hem, and snipping off the tail at the exit point, just as you did for the other tails.

Sew Together

Place the newly stitched Piece A on top of Piece C, with right sides together and top edges aligned.

Place piece B, wrong side up, on top of the previous pieces, lining up the bottom edges. Pieces A and B should overlap about 1 ½ inches.

Pin all of the layers together around the outer edges.

With a ¼-inch seam allowance, sew the layers together around the pinned edges.

Cut notches out of the curved sections of the seam allowance and snip off the top corners.

Turn the entire piece right sides out through the overlapped opening in the center. 

Press the piece flat and pin the outer edges together.

Using the zigzag blanket stitch, sew around the entire outer perimeter of the piece, making sure to sew through all of the layers as you go.

All done!

 

Reader Comments (13)

From the last photo, you do the blanket stitch all around the cover. Any instructions on how to handle corner stitches? The directions stopped after turning the cover right side out and pressing it flat.
January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Lee
Hi Ellen Lee-

To pivot at the top corners take two stitches next to each other that originate from the same bottom point, one just before the corner and one just after.

Thank you for your question!

Molly
January 12, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Beautiful fabric! Looks super cozy and warm.

I've made a few covers for hot water bottles (my kids love them in the winter!) and find that it is more functional to create the opening towards the top of the bottle. When the fold/opening is halfway one really has to "fold" the already filled bottle (from the night before, for example) in half to simple draw it out of the cover to empty and refill. Trying to pull out an already filled hot water bottle created a lot of wear and tear on the sides of the sewn openings and has, from my own experience, torn the seams and binding (which I like to use to reinforce the seams).

Hope that makes sense and is helpful!
January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi
Hi...how about felting wool in a front loader washing machine? Is that a problem??

As always, love your projects!

Valerie
Greenville, SC
USA
January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterValerie
HI Valeria-

No that's not a problem. For best results wash in hot, rinse in cold, and then tumble dry for 20 minutes.

Thanks!

Molly
January 13, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi! What a brilliant idea! I am going to make these and embroider initials on them for presents!!
January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSue McClenahan
Perfectly cute for winter.

Is this felted wool cover washable?
January 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjeeyun
Hi Jeeyun-

This is hand washable. Thanks for your question!

Molly
January 14, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
These are lovely - they'd make lovely winter gifts. I just made a chunky crochet cover for myself, but discovered last night that the phrase 'virtually indestructible' when used re a hottie bottle is not the same as 'definitely indestructible'. Mine destructed. Last night. I woke up at 5am and all was not as it should be. Sopping mattress, sheets, doona, pillows and, of course, hot water bottle cover. So enjoy your hot water bottle, but every now and then take the cover off and check for worn spots in the rubber. Excuse me for now, I shall be spending my evening with a hairdryer and my mattress!
January 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrbjaneite
I think the first commenter was trying to point out that there are no instructions in your text describing how to get from penultimate picture (right side out with pins all around) to final picture (right side out, blanket stitched all around). The same text has been repeated under both pictures - looks like a copy and paste error.
January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterARB
Hi ARB-

You are right! Thanks so much for pointing this out. It's been fixed!

Thanks again!

Molly
January 16, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello, I've cut out the template but it looks very large and I am confused by the directions. When I attach C1 to C2 the combined product is almost 17" in length. When I attach A1 to A2, that piece is 12" in length. Should I keep the part of A2 that is beneath the second blue line (below where it says "attach to A1 here"?

And finally, what are the dimensions of the finished cover, in length and width?

Thank you for the clarification.
January 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercaroline
Hi Caroline-

The measurements of the templates sound correct. The finished cover is 15 1/2-inches long (including the top) and 9-inches wide to fit a water bottle that is 14-inches long and 7 1/2-inches wide. Hope this helps!

Thank you!

Molly
January 27, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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