Patchwork Hot Water Bottle Cozy :: Step by step tutorial and pattern

It's still the middle of winter here in the Hoosier state, and my homemade hot water bottle cozy has gone missing *cue dramatic music*. I don’t know if it's a sign of my age, but in the wintertime I get so sore from the freezing (below freezing!) temperatures that I pretty much can't sleep without it, especially after having to shovel snow three times in the past two days... So, I need to make a new one!

My first hot water bottle cozy was made with a single print, but this time I decided to do a patchwork version with tons of bright colors to make the frosty days more cheery. And...I thought I'd share the pattern with any other chilly folks who might like to stitch along!

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

I didn't prewash my fabric so the finished cover is on the large side to account for shrinking (and lovely batting scrunching) in the wash. The cozy perfectly fits my Fashy hot water bottle--if you have a different brand you might need to alter the template a little bit. Just make sure that the edge of your template is about 1-1/4" wider than the long side and 7/8" above and below the top and bottom of the bottle (when the templates are assembled and the bottle is centered on it). If you want a water bottle like mine you can find it here.

Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

Lots of quilting cotton scraps (1-1/2" and 2" wide of various lengths)
1/2 yard solid quilting cotton for lining
cotton batting (wadding)
2" x 46" bias cut strip pressed into double fold tape for outside of cozy (1 yard of fabric will allow you to do this with a single strip; see Step 10 for pressing instructions)
Two 2" x 10" strips pressed into double fold bias tape for envelope opening
Thread for piecing and quilting
Hand Quilting Thread for hand finishing the binding
Template (click for PDF)

1. Assemble your patchwork for the front and back of the cozy into three pieces that measure as follows (after quilting and squaring up):

15-1/2"H x 11-1/2"W for the front (One 2" row, thirteen 1-1/2" rows, one 2" row)
11-1/2"H x 11-1/2"W for the back/top (One 2" row, eight 1-1/2" rows, one 2" row)
7-1/2"H x 11-1/2"W for the back/bottom (One 2" row, four 1-1/2" rows, one 2" row)

I used 1-1/2" strips of random lengths for my patchwork, all sewn with a 1/4" seam allowance and seams pressed open. I used a single fabric for the top of the front patchwork and the top of the back/top patchwork because of the narrow shape of the template.

Laying out the strips (top and bottom strips are 2"W)
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

rearranged a little, and rows trimmed to about 12"W
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
2. Cut a piece of batting slightly larger than each of the patchwork pieces, then cut lining pieces from solid cotton slightly larger than the batting.

3. Make three quilt sandwiches with the patchwork, batting, and lining pieces. Pin the pieces together, then quilt. I used the seams as a guide and quilted a generous 1/8" above and below each seam with cream colored thread. Square up each quilted rectangle.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
4. Fold the back/top patchwork in half lengthwise. Place the back/top template on the quilted fabric, connected arrows pointing toward the fold, then trace the curved and short straight edges with an erasable fabric pen. I centered my template so the patchwork rows would be evenly spaced on the top and bottom. Cut along the marked lines. Repeat for the back/bottom patchwork and template.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
5. Assemble the top and bottom template pieces to make the template for the front of the cozy. Overlap the two pieces and place along the line so the little arrows are pointing toward each other, then tape the pieces together. Trace and cut out a front piece using the new template with the remaining patchwork fabric.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial/
Whoops! Just noticed that my tape dispenser is empty. Must've used the last bit to assemble my template!

6. Zig-zag stitch around the raw edges of each piece of patchwork. This will keep the edges neat and flat for binding, and also helps prevent the quilting threads from coming loose.

7. Bind the straight edges of the cozy top and bottom pieces with the double fold bias tape. It took me awhile to decide which fabric to use for binding, but I finally decided to go with Essex linen as a contrast to the bright colors.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial 8. Assemble the cozy: place the cozy front face down. Line up the cozy top and bottom over the front, wrong sides together. Overlap the pieces so the top piece is on the top. Use binding clips around the outside edges to secure the pieces.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

9. Baste the pieces together around the outside edge with a straight stitch 1/4" from the edge.

10. *Bind the outside of the cozy with the long piece of bias tape. I pressed the binding for the outside of the cover with the long edges a scant 1/4" apart so there would be a little extra space for the thick layers to fit inside.

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Tutorial

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

*If you want to connect the pieces before sewing for a perfect fit without overlapping ends, see my circular binding tutorial for instructions on how to do this, just note that the binding has a single fold in that tutorial, so attaching the double fold tape is a little different.

*I made my original cozy with a machine-finished binding and I found that after washing the little loose edges decided to flip up. This is purely an aesthetic issue, but I decided that I prefer a hand finished binding so this time they should stay put!

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial

 Retro Mama | Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cozy Tutorial
Let me know if you have any questions! If you'd like a fabric name for anything in particular just call it out and I'll do my best to help ID it! Many of the fabrics are out of print but there are some newbies in there too.

Happy Stitching (and stay warm!),


Retro Mama :: Hans and Greta Winners!

It's a bit late in the day, but I have for you the winners of the Hans and Greta doll giveaway! I enjoyed reading all of your stories about how and when you started sewing, and so many of you crochet, too! Crochet runs in my family, although I'm a very casual dabbler I really enjoy it. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories with me, it's wonderful getting to know all of you!

So, with the assistance of Random.org....here are the winners!

 photo tn_DollWinners_zps3e6671f9.jpg
Hans goes to Jane, who wrote:

I love them both! I have a grandson turning one on Feb 4 and a granddaughter turning one on Feb 25 so either doll is perfect! I've been sewing since I was 12 so that would be a looong time :) 

Happy Birthday to your grandkiddos, Jane!

and Greta will go to Liezel:

They are so cute!!! Both of them! My daughter would give one of them a great new home, I'm sure! I have not been sewing for a long time. I am still learning, but I love it. Unfortunately I don't have much time, but I hope that will only get better in the future! I like your blog!

Congratulations to both of you, I will contact you shortly for your mailing addresses!


Wool Blend Felt Resource

My last day of selling felt has come and gone, but you can still find all your favorite felt colors! I've made this handy chart so you can locate the colors you need.

And speaking of colors you need, you can find a gorgeous selection of felt at BenzieDesign on Etsy. BenzieDesign is a new sponsor of Retro Mama and I do hope you will check out Renae’s shop, because there you will find choose your own bundles

 BenzieDesign Felt
felt by the yard

 BenzieDesign Felt by the yard

and beautiful felt crafts like this Valentine Sweetheart Garland Kit

 BenzieDesign Valentine Sweetheart Garland Kit
[photos used with permission from BenzieDesign, aren't they gorgeous?!]

Renae has a truly lovely shop, I'm swooning over every little thing! Please remember, though, that our felt color names are different--do double and triple check your color selections to make sure that you are ordering what you intend.

Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my very best to help you out!

Happy Stitching!


Retro Mama :: Hans and Greta Doll Giveaway

I'm already in the mood for Spring cleaning, and I’ve got some cute squishy friends who are eager to come out and play, so, I think I’ll have a giveaway!

 Retro Mama | Hans and Greta Doll Giveaway Hans and Greta have been patiently waiting for their new homes for a long time! I made them a while back as samples for a sewing class I was teaching--here's a WIP photo

A photo posted by Kim Kruzich (@retro_mama) on

Okay, a LONG time ago! (You'll notice that I didn't stuff Greta's limbs until after putting her together. I think I prefer it that way, how do you like to do it?)

This week's giveaway will have two winners, one will win Hans and the other will get Greta! Hans is wearing a very Spring-y mushroom shirt and corduroy shorts with pockets for collecting skipping stones and marbles. Hans was one of my favorite patterns to design, I found it a bit trickier to make a little boy doll than a girl, but it was definitely worth hemming and hawing over every detail to get him just right. That vintage apple measuring tape is just the cutest, right?

 Hans doll by Retro Mama

 Hans doll by Retro Mama

While Greta has a sweet blue dress with a matchy mushroom felt appliqué.

 photo tn_Greta_zps4e50ec4d.jpg
Several of you had asked whether I would have a doll pattern in my book and the answer is YES! You can get a glimpse of her here on the cover (by the way, Scrap Happy Sewing is available for preorder, yippee!), and I'll give you a closer look at her soon.

 Hans and Greta dolls by Retro Mama
For your chance to win a doll, leave a comment below telling me how long you have been sewing, when you plan to start, or what is the super crafty hobby that you love instead! The giveaway is open to all, no matter where you live, and the winners will be announced Wednesday, February 4.

If you have a strong preference for either Hans or Greta let me know in your comment and I will enter you into the drawing for only that doll. Please make sure that your name is attached to an e-mail address so I have a way to contact you if you've won!

Good luck!


Final Felt Clearance :: This is it!

Hello my crafty friends! My felt inventory has taken quite a large hit (thank you!!) so it is now time to let you know that there is just over one week left in my felt closeout. January 31 will be the last day to purchase felt before it's all gone. To save an additional 20% off already discounted prices, use the code FINAL20 at checkout (this makes felt over 50% off the retail price!).

 Retro Mama | Felt Closeout

You are also welcome to purchase patterns with the discount code. If you need 3 or more yards of any color please ask in advance so I can let you know if I have enough. If a color you want is listed as out of stock but you just HAVE to have some, let me know at checkout and I'll see if I can dig up a scrap in my remnants pile as your freebie felt sample. Every order will ship with a bit of extra felt as a thank you gift!

My heartfelt thanks to all of my customers, it has been my pleasure to be a part of all the amazing felty projects that you've shared with me. Although I will no longer be selling felt, I am continuing to design new patterns, and you can find 18 of them in my book coming out in April!

Happy Stitching (and shopping!),


Happy Mail :: Felt Giveaway Winner!

I just have to say,

 photo tn_FeltWinner_zpsd61b0fdb.jpg
Marlene is the winner of the spring-y felt bundle, selected by Random.org, number 82, Congratulations!! Her plans for it are:

"I would do hair bows for my nieces ... and your cute patterns, of course! Actually, I just started cutting Ruthie Bear and Owl plush over the weekend. Now to just stitch them up!"

Yay for having a work table full of projects! Thanks to all who entered! Marlene I believe I have your address so I will send the bundle along to you shortly.

Happy Stitching everybody!


Happy Mail :: Felt Giveaway

 Retro Mama | Felt Giveaway

I'm in the middle of clearing out felt from my shop (felt is 40% off right now, yay!) and I couldn't resist making a cute little stack of some of my favorite colors. I didn't need them for any particular project, but what I do want to do, is give them to YOU!

 Retro Mama | Felt Giveaway

From top to bottom the colors are: chrysanthemum, honey, moss, cloudy day, teal, and slate. Each is a 1/2 yard cut (a half yard is equivalent to three 12"x18" sheets).

 Retro Mama | Felt Giveaway
All you need to do is leave a comment below, and tell me what you might make with this sweet bundle of felt! The winner will be selected next Wednesday (21 Jan) and everyone worldwide is welcome to enter. The contest is closed and the winner chosen! Thanks to all who entered!

 Retro Mama | Felt Giveaway
Happy Stitching!


Stock up for Spring

As many of you know, I am discontinuing selling felt in my shop. And, wow, you guys have decimated my 12x18 sheets of felt (thank you!!) so I will go ahead and start cutting sheets from the bolt, including single sheets. I have updated the color cards and stock list (every color is available at the moment, with the exception of Vanilla), but several colors are low in stock so make sure to grab your favorites right away. Felt is 40% off, and as a bonus, I will be including a 12x18 sheet of Sunshine in every order this week!

 Felt Clearance @ Retro Mama

Thanks again, and Happy Stitching!


Sneaky Peeks

Thank you so much for all the support for my upcoming book, I’m excited that you’re excited! I’m bursting to show you absolutely everything all at once but we’ll have to settle for wee snippets for now (drat)! Here’s a better look at some of the cover projects:

This fox clothespin holder was SO much fun (A special thank you to Jinger, this is on its way to you!). Is it wrong to want to hug an inanimate wild (but adorable) animal??

 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing | Fox Clothespin Bag

A sweet zakka shoe mat. This color scheme makes my heart sing!
 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing | Keep Tidy Shoe Mat

Hand embroidery makes everything a little more special.
 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing | Keep Tidy Shoe Mat

And making this strippy little sewing kit was a kick, I want to stitch up a hundred of them just so I can experiment with different pocket accessories!
 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing | Simply Strippy Sewing Kit

Okay, the outside is pretty fun, too. Little scrappy projects are the best! I want to stuff the pockets full of paper piecing supplies and hexagon the heck out of something!
 Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing | Simply Strippy Sewing Kit

I have lots more coming up on the blog including more sneak peaks, giveaways, and if I get my act together, a tutorial. I was asked about how to preorder my book outside the US--Amazon.com will ship to most countries, but you can also order it on these corresponding Amazon sites: UK, Canada, and Germany (in English).

And as a side-note, let's connect on Instagram, where I'll be sharing more photos and updates! Can't wait to see you there!

Happy Stitching,


Pretty Fabric Stack

Ahh...it's so nice to play with fabric after a long break.

 Retro Mama | pretty fabric stack

Don't be fooled by the appearance of sunshine, I enjoyed only a wisp of light before the Arctic wind howled and the sun crept back behind the clouds. I have something very specific in mind for these pretty prints--I'm in the mood to make something warm and toasty!

What's on your winter worktable?