I was asked by the lovely Anissa to write a seasonal tutorial for her workplace blog: East West Organics, in Auckland. It's one of those shops I wish I lived closer to: it stocks all manner of organic produce and products, as well as plant seedlings, crafts and books.
Here in New Zealand we love our hot water bottles: they're cosy and frankly essential in our draughty winter houses. But even in well-heated places it's still nice to have one of these to accompany you on cold days. I used to take one along with me to work and I distinctly remember someone on the schoolbus with one of these hidden up their jersey in June.
The best covers are made from recycled materials, of course. I found a cashmere vest at the local thrift store, and have used this to make my cover. You just need to find a knit with some ribbing around the hem or neck for this particular design.
- one (or more) knit garments to be recycled. Look for something with a ribbed edge. Natural materials are nicest but it doesn't matter too much.
- scissors, pins, paper, pen, sewing machine, hot water bottle to trace around.
1. Make a paper pattern by tracing around your hot water bottle. You want the cover to fit fairly snugly, so don't worry about leaving too much of a seam allowance.
2. Cut out your pattern and then you need to draw 2 horizontal lines on it. One can be about a third of the way down, the other a third of the way up from the bottom (see picture.)
3. Cut out the pieces from your garment. Cut one full piece for the front of the cover, then cut two pieces for the back. To do this, fold the top of the pattern down at the first line and place it on your knit fabric so that the ribbed hem is matched up to the folded line. Pin and cut. Open out the pattern again and fold the bottom part up. Line it up with the ribbed hem again, pin and cut. You should have three cut pieces, two with ribbed edges (see picture below.)
4. Now it's time to decorate the front piece if you'd like to- I embroidered a simple red cross on mine, but you could sew a patch, embroidery, trim, anything you can think of.
5. Pin the pieces together. To do this, place the cover front on a flat surface, right side up. Then place the top (back) piece on top, right side down. Lastly add the bottom (back) piece on top, right side down. Pin all around the edge, and pull out the ribbed edges slightly (see picture below).
6. Using your machine (or by hand if you're a whizz with a needle and thread) sew all around the edge, making sure you catch all the layers. Re-stitch the cover sides, where the pieces overlap. You can then finish the seam with a zigzag stitch or overlocker.
7. Turn the cover inside out and slip your hot water bottle inside. It's easy to fill and empty the bottle through the opening at the back. Time to snuggle up in bed with your book and hot water bottle, you've earned it.