Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tutorial: Make a thrift store sweater hot water bottle cover

Wow- that title is a mouth full. I might have to re-think that. In the meantime, here's a little tutorial to show you how I made a cozy for my hot water bottle.

Today during a blissful two hours of only having 1/3 of my kids to tote around with me, I popped into another thrift store and hunted for a great wool sweater to use for this project. I found a great sweater! Just not wool.
It was a ramie/cotton blend, but I couldn't resist that fair isle design and the lovely embroidery on the chest. It reminded me of a sweater my Dad brought back from Norway decades ago.

I ignored the fact that there was a zipper smack in the middle of the top half, and because it was 50% off I figured that it couldn't hurt to try and make it work.

Here's how I did it:

Make a template.
Start by tracing your water bottle onto a piece of paper. (Please ignore the circle punch.)

Cut about 1/4" away from your line. (I folded my template in half before I started cutting to ensure that both sides would be identical.)

Since my sweater had that zipper, I had to start by ripping it out...

...then stitching the two sides together.

Place your template on your sweater in whatever way is pleasing, incorporating the elements of the sweater that are most attractive. Try to place it as straight as possible with the "grain".
Pin the template to the sweater.

For the back piece, fold your template in half width-wise to give you a visual idea of where about halfway is.
Lay your template along the bottom edge of your sweater so that you have about 1"-1.5" between the bottom of the hem and your new halfway fold line.
Pin and cut.

Repeat the last step with the top half of your template, this time adding a little more distance between the halfway line and the hem. (Mine was about 3".)

Because I was working with a non-felted sweater, I chose to serge the edges of each piece to keep them from unravelling. If you don't have a serger you could probably just zig zag along the edges instead. This step isn't necessary if you use a sweater that's good and felted, though.

Take your shorter back piece and place it wrong side up onto your template, matching the edges.

Place the longer back piece on top of this (also wrong side up) matching the edges with the paper template.
Pin the two pieces together where they overlap.
Stitch the two pieces together on each side.

Lay your back and front pieces together with right sides facing and pin.

Stitch all the way around, pausing where the hems on the back pieces are and taking some back stitches to reinforce them.
Turn your cover right side out through the gap in the back piece and slip it onto your water bottle.

In theory, this should help to keep the water in the bottle warm longer by providing some insulation, as well as making it more comfortable by keeping the rubber off your skin.

It's also much, much cuter this way. :)

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