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
To make one cover for a standard 2-quart hot water bottle like this one you'll need:
- 1/2 yard of Dorr Mill’s Wool Yardage, machine washed and dried in order to felt it
- 2 hanks of DMC Embroidery Floss (I used colors 413, 414 (shown above), and 415.)
- Gutermann’s 100% Cotton Thread in color 1040
- A Felted Wool Hot Water Bottle Cover Template, available for free download here, printed, cut out and taped together as directed.
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.
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.
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.
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.