Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover with Bias Binding Free Tutorial

It is cold and flu season in Canada and my daughter was already hit with a virus that made her feel very cold. Her feet were like ice so it was the hot water bottle and quilts to the rescue. Our hot water bottle did not have a nice cover like these though. Without further ado I bring you a tutorial for a quilted hot water bottle cover!

Before I begin let me just caution you that this project was a bit of a challenge for me and I have been quilting for almost 20 years so I would not classify this as a beginner project. It is possible to finish this in a weekend for an intermediate to advanced sewist but I would not call it a fast, easy project so if that is what you’re looking for maybe pin this one for later. (Please pin even if you are making it now. That would make me happy! 😀 ) Otherwise, read on:
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Supplies for 1 hot water bottle cover:
2 half yards or the equivalent in fabric for front, back and lining
1 fat quarter for bias binding
half a yard of batting
a compass (the kind you use for math, not for finding direction 😉 )
the usual sewing tools:
rotary cutter and mat
paper scissors
sewing machine
matching thread
If you wish to have quilt blocks in your hot water bottle cover I used 8 1/2″ unfinished (8 inches finished) blocks. Mine are from Sherri Falls‘ book “Winter Wonderland.” One block for the front and one for the back.

Here’s What You Do:

1. Put a freshly sharpened pencil in your compass and set it to 1 1/2 inches.

2. Place freezer paper dull side up and lay the hot water bottle on top. Scribe around the hot water bottle with the compass. Be careful not to poke the hot water bottle with the sharp end of the compass.

3. Cut the hot water bottle template out of the freezer paper with paper scissors. If your tracing is a bit uneven pick the half you like the best, fold the freezer paper in half and cut around that half to get a perfectly symmetrical template.

4. This part is for if you are adding in quilt blocks: (if not using blocks, skip to step 5)
I don’t know if all hot water bottles come in a standard size but I doubt it so we need to measure. Lay your block on your template and measure how much fabric you need to make a rectangle the size of the template.

For mine I needed two 1 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch strips for the sides of the blocks. (Four all together) A 2 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch strip for the bottom and a 5 3/4 x 10 1/4 inch rectangle for the top. (cut 2 for front and back)

5. Measure the length and width of your water bottle template to know what size of fabric to cut for front, back, lining and batting. If you are piecing blocks into your project you already have the front and back sizing from step 4. Use this step (step 5) to measure and cut for lining (cut 2) and batting (cut 2)

6. If piecing in blocks complete that first. Iron the freezer paper template to the right side of the front, back and lining pieces and cut out. (I used a rotary cutter to speed things up but if you are not used to free cutting without a ruler I recommend fabric scissors.)

Lay one of your lining pieces on the batting and  cut that as well. I do not recommend ironing the freezer paper to the batting because all the fuzz will stick to it and it will no longer stick to fabrics.

7. Once all the pieces are cut out create quilt sandwiches: layer front, batting and lining together and secure with pins or Wonder Clips. Repeat with back, batting and lining.

8. Quilt both quilt sandwiches. I used a walking foot and eyeballed a quarter inch from the edge of my foot for each pass to create diagonal lines that were (fairly) evenly spaced.

9. Lay front and back wrong sides (lining sides) together, use pins or Wonder Clips to hold in place and stitch around the edges with an 1/8″ seam. I recommend using a walking foot to keep the layers from shifting too much.

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10. Create Bias Binding:

You need bias binding to bind this project because there are curves. The bias binding will stretch around the curves.

There are some videos on YouTube that show you how to cut a larger piece of fabric with some fancy folding but today we are using a fat quarter. If you want to know how to cut a larger piece such as a yard then I recommend searching YouTube for Bias Binding Tutorials.

10a. Trim the selvage edge off the fat quarter and lay it on the mat with the freshly trimmed edge at the bottom. Line the 45 degree line of the ruler up with the freshly cut edge. Make a cut across the diagonal (the bias) of the fabric. Measure off that diagonal cut 2 1/2 inches to cut binding strips all across the fabric.

Sorry this is a bit blurry. I was trying not to use my flash.

10b. Sew the binding end to end and press seams open. Now, this part can be tricky. I still get confused so here’s how I do this step to avoid confusing myself and sewing things incorrectly.

 Lay the fabric end to end as it would be when sewn together.

 Flip the fabric on the right over onto the fabric on the left with right sides together. Here I have pulled the top fabric back a bit so you can see that there are 1/4 inch triangle shaped extensions on either side. You need this 1/4″ seam allowance extension in order for the strips to line up when pressed open.

This is how you will place your fabric to put it through the machine. Edges are lined up with 1/4″ extending from the top piece and the bottom piece. (It’s just by chance that my stripes are lining up perfectly here… that doesn’t usually happen so don’t worry about that if you are using striped binding.) Sew with a 1/4″ seam and press open. Repeat until all strips are sewn into one long binding strip.

10c. After pressing all joining seams open fold the whole long strip in half wrong sides together and press the length of the strip.

11. Sew the bias binding on one side of the water bottle cover with a 1/4″ seam. Fold the binding to the other side and hand sew the binding down. I secured my binding with Wonder Clips which sped up the hand binding process for me.

12. After sewing the binding down, trim off the excess from the top of the hot water bottle cover and machine sew binding to the outside of the neck opening. This is tricky. You will need to go slowly and continually check to make sure you aren’t catching the other side of the neck opening in the seam. Fold the binding to the inside and secure with clips. Hand sew the binding to the inside.

13. Fold the hot water bottle into thirds and carefully insert it into the hot water bottle cover. This can be finicky so take your time.

And there you have it. When you wish to fill the hot water bottle with hot water use a kitchen funnel or a liquid measuring cup with a pointy spout. (I have some by XOXO that are good.)

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