Cottage Tea Cosy

August 2015
I’ve been drinking tea more… and collecting teacups and the occasional teapot and thought a tea cosy would be a nice thing to have. Problem- all the ones I really really liked were vintage and very expensive. They were also pretty much all shaped like cottages with embroidered gardens and some had rafia thatched roofs- very fancy and out of my price range. Plus there was no single one that was everything I wanted… at least, none of the ones for sale. So I decided to make a cottage tea cosy.

Because tea is going to get on it and the plans I’ve got are extremely non-washable, it needed a liner.

The liner- quilted cotton, cotton batting and wool around the base:

The liner finished:

The quote is from “The Hobbit” and the wool is an old army blanket. I plan to use another strip around the base of the outside cosy for the grass around the cottage and there will be snaps to hold the two pieces together.

September 2015
Uhoh. Problem- I popped it around the teapot I use the most often… and it’s too large. It doesn’t even touch the pot most places. So there has to be another piece inside this one for smaller pots. I meant to make it of cotton, cotton batting and wool as well… and mistakenly grabbed a piece of white linen instead. As linen releases stains even better than cotton, this is not such a bad thing.

October 1 2015
I have started on the outside of the cosy… and discovered I have been thinking about it all backwards. So now I have the inside walls sketched out with doors and windows and I’ll apply the doors, windows and frames to the inside, cut the batting and apply it and then cover with the outside. I also got what order things need to happen in squared away.

So the first thing was to copy onto paper, my sketches for the four sides. (Copy literally- I just slapped them down on the scanner and copied them.)
Then I cut out the patterns on the sewing line and cut out the doors. (I left the rest together until I start cutting windows so I don’t loose any pieces.)

Doors. I wanted knife pleated wood grained fabric and while the fabric was not hard (I had scraps from a quilt), the knife pleats decided to be difficult. I have a quarter inch pleater and that was fine but when I took it out, I couldn’t get the pleats to stay well enough to baste. So I took clear packing tape and taped over the fabric before I took it out of the pleater and then basted through the tape. I sewed the doors to the inside walls and removed the basting.

Windows. Windows are four part. 1st layer is a fabric to make them look like they are glowing- a copper scrap from a different quilt. 2nd layer is silk illusion to soften the copper and diffuse it. 3rd layer is thin thin sheets of mica and the 4th layer is vintage french silk veiling. I found the mica on Ebay and the veiling on Etsy- the veiling is blue but I’m going to dye it black and it has a 1/8th inch diamond pattern.

15 October 2015

Doors applied. Windows: first layer finished and second layer started. You can see in the last picture how the illusion softens the copper for the windows.

29 October 2015

Second layer finished- now for the mica and the netting.

31 October 2015
The netting is being a problem. When I got it, it held it’s shape rather nicely and, while it could be deformed, it didn’t unless I was trying to.
Then I dyed it.
It went to this tiny string wad and would not hold ANY shape- certainly not a regular one with even spaces between the threads. If I’d had the sense God gave a goose, I’d have wrapped it around cardboard before dyeing it but I didn’t.
In an effort to fix this and make it easier (possible) to work with as well as holding a pattern once I had it in place, I starched it. And when I say starched, I mean I took Faultless liquid starch and applied it undiluted and then carefully patted the netting into shape on the kitchen counter and let it dry. So far, this is working well although I did have to scrub residual dye off the counter.

To counter this, the mica is being easier to work with than I would have thought. It bends slightly when I have it pealed down to one layer and is so thin I can actually sew through it if I’m careful to make large stitches and not pull too tight. This means I can baste it into place before applying the netting. It is also the exactly right size for the rectangular windows although I will have to cut it (with scissors) for the round ones. It’s almost like working with stiff celleophane.

3 November 2015

Netting and mica panes finished. Next is walls and framing the doors and windows.

May 25, 2018

Okay, that took a longer time than I expected it to. For one thing, I didn’t work on it too much for a long time. However, the walls and stone around the windows and door is done now- pictures soon!

December 10, 2018
Still slooooly slogging along here. I’ve joined the four pieces into one long strip (last seam to be sewn later) made the doorsteps and attached them and attached green wool at the base. Today I started on the embroidery of the apple tree on one side.

October 1, 2019
Tree took a long time- mostly because I have little time to work on this. I’m still adding apples but I’ve also started on the flower garden. The poppies were nasty difficult but everything else has been a breeze.

I really should get a picture to post- will try to do that this week.

Finished the front garden yesterday- picture by Lolita