Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tea for Two

Ahh a cup of tea! Tea has been an important part of many cultures throughout history. Maybe it's a bracing cuppa in England, or solemn Japanese tea ceremony, or even a special time with friends in one's home. Regardless of where you are, drinking hot tea can look different depending on where you are in the world, but when drinking hot tea, a teapot of some sort is common amongst all cultures. Keeping that tea warm is important as well which brings us to today's post!

When Teri and I (Kara) were in Birmingham, England, this past summer for the Festival of Quilts, I had not brought anything to stitch. With all the vendors and beautiful quilts, my fingers were getting itchy, so I of course went shopping. At a vintage linens booth, I found a beautiful piece of fabric that was just asking for some embroidery embellishment, so I bought it. Then I needed some threads for said embellishment, and where could I possibly find fun threads in a giant quilt show? Stef Francis of course! 

My cast of thread characters
Stef Francis is a wonderful supplier of hand-dyed fibers and fabrics out of the UK. I was able to find almost everything I would need to embellish my little piece of vintage cotton. I picked up two skeins of hand-dyed ribbon from another vendor, and I was set. The rayon tape (viscose chainette is another name) and chenille thread would be perfect for the rose, and the hand-dyed #5 perle would make lovely variegated leaves.

Straight stitches with the chenille and rayon threads mimicked the rose, and a fishbone stitch for the leaves really showed the variation in the perle cotton. I was able to finish the rose, yellow flowers, and leaves in Birmingham but had to set the piece aside for a while because—life. 

This is what I had finished when it was put away.

So how does an old piece of fabric and tea fit together? It finally came to me one day that I should use my embroidered vintage bouquet on a tea cozy! I found the perfect piece of fabric to match the colors of flowers, leaves, and bow, so that motivated me to finish the project and get my tea cozy started.

My cozy fabric, lining and batting.

I finished the vintage piece by adding a few beads in the yellow flowers and a piece of silk ribbon to mimic the bow.

Beads for the little yellow flowers.

The silk ribbon bow for a 3D look

Trimmed and ready to attach.

Searching the internet, I found this tutorial and used the directions to find the size pattern I would need. Once I had my pattern, I cut out 2 each of my cozy fabric, lining and batting.

Pinned pattern

I am a big fan of 505 spray and used it to put together my batting and cozy fabric. Then I centered my embellished piece on one side of the cozy and pinned it.

I thought maybe I would just appliqué the piece, but then I dug through my stash of vintage trims and found a perfect one to stitch around—and I had just enough!

Now it was time to quilt the two pieces. I used 1" painter's tape as a guide for the quilting and machine quilted a diagonal, cross-hatch pattern in red thread.

I just re-positioned the tape each time I stitched a new line.

One side finished

Quilted and ready to put together

Before I sewed the two pieces together, I pinned a 3-inch piece of folded velvet ribbon inside the two quilted parts for a little handle. To assemble the tea cozy, I sewed the cozy pieces, right sides together. I did the same with the lining pieces, but left a section open for turning. Once that was finished, I tucked the lining inside the cozy, right sides together, matched the edges, and sewed all the way around.

Bottom edges sewn together

Ready to be turned

Already turned

After turning the whole thing, I stitched the opening closed and tucked the lining in–and my cozy was finished!

The finished tea cozy!

I love re-purposing vintage pieces of fabric and trim, and this little project really came together. What was once just a scrap of printed cotton from the past, now has a new life keeping a teapot warm. 

Now to sit down to a nice, cup of tea!