I've written it in aid of The Hottie Project, because I think it's a great cause, and I would encourage anyone who is interested to support it.
That said, you are more than welcome to use this tutorial to make a hottie cover for yourself, your family, or your friends. I would just ask that you don't use it to make things to sell.
I've written this tutorial for someone who has some experience with quilting. However, if you skipped the quilting part and used a heavier fabric for the exterior, this could be made by anyone with a bit of experience with a sewing machine. Please read the tutorial right through before you start, and feel free to ask questions in the comments section!
- Printed template (A4 version for if you are printing at home, A3 version if you have access to a larger printer).
- Freezer paper (optional)
- A piece of patchwork or exterior fabric at least 25" by 17"
- Your preferred batting/wadding at least 25" by 17"
- Backing fabric at least 25" by 17" (once the hottie is finished, this will not be seen, so here is a good chance to use up that "what was I thinking?!" fabric that's been in your stash forever)
- Lining fabric at least 25" by 17"
- Sewing machine and the usual tools like scissors (fabric and paper), thread, needles, etc. A walking foot can come in handy for some steps if you have one, but is not essential.
Step 1 - Print the template
Download the template by clicking on the link for the one you want above. They both make the same sized hot water bottle cover, but the A4 version is over two pieces of paper which you need to join together, whereas the A3 version prints on a single piece of paper. When you print, make sure that you are printing on the right sized paper and set the print size to "actual size" or "100%". If you are using the A4 template, join the two pieces of paper together with tape where the lines meet (you might need to trim off the edge of the top piece).
Step 2 - Cut out the template (or create a freezer paper template - optional)
Here you have two options. You can simply cut out the template directly from the paper you printed it on. I am really terrible at cutting out patterns, so I figured out a way to make it easier and more enjoyable for me. I trace the template onto the dull size of freezer paper, and then cut that template out. Then, when you get to the point of cutting out your template pieces, you can iron it directly onto the fabric and it makes cutting much much easier (for me, anyway).
Step 3 - Create your quilted panel
Baste your quilt sandwich of exterior/patchwork, batting, and backing using your preferred method, and quilt in your chosen design. I would recommend medium density quilting - it's nice for the cover to have a bit of body, and I think it will stand up better to a bit of wear if there's a fair amount of quilting on it, but you don't want it too stiff and not cuddly.
Step 4 - Cut your exterior and lining pieces
Pin (or iron, if you are using freezer paper) your template to the quilted exterior, making sure you have enough room to cut two.
Cut out one hot water bottle shape.
Repeat so that you have two exterior pieces and two lining pieces.
Step 5 - Create the opening
Place each exterior piece right sides together with a lining piece, and pin across the opening at the top when the neck of the hot water bottle will stick out.
Using a quarter inch seam, sew each exterior piece to its lining piece along this line. Remove pins and press towards the exterior piece.
Step 6 - Sew the two sides together
Open out your two exterior/lining pieces, and place them right sides together so that the two exterior pieces are together and the two lining pieces are together. Match the seams where they join. Pin all around the edge. At the bottom of the lining pieces, mark when you will leave a gap to turn out. You want the gap to be big enough to put your hand right through - about 4" works for me.
Using a quarter inch seam, start at one edge of the gap (backstitch here) and then all around the edge of both pieces until you get to the other side of the gap (backstitch here too). You will probably need to go slowly and carefully over the areas where the seams meet. It will be ok - if all else fails, just turn the hand wheel until you get past those areas.
Clip the curves, especially at the point at which the neck meets the body of the bottle.
Step 7 - Turn it right sides out and close the lining
This is the fun part! Push your hand through the gap in the lining and grab the bottom of the exterior section of the hottie cover. Pull and pull (this might require some wriggling!) until you get the whole thing turned right side out.
Push out the corners and generally get things looking neat. Now, fold in the seam allowances along the gap in the lining, and using the smallest seam you can manage, top-stitch along the gap to close it (this will hardly ever be seen once the cover is finished, so if it's not perfect, shhh, I won't tell).
Step 7 - Topstitch the opening
Push the lining into the hot water bottle cover and press the opening as best you can. If you have a walking foot, this is the time you'll really want to use it. Lengthen your stitch length, and carefully topstitch around the edge of the opening, about 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch from the top. Go slow, especially where the seams meet and there is a LOT of bulk. If you need to, crank the hand wheel to get past those spots.
And voila, your hot water bottle cover is finished! Pop a hottie in it and admire!
You can roll the top down for easier access when filling, and pop it back up for snuggling.