Winter is here! The temperatures are dropping and night temps are hard on the body comfort zone. Time to break out the hot water bottles! I have just replaced a couple of old ones (life span seems to be about 5-6 years) and so needed some covers for them. Being an avid upcycler, I rummaged in my sewing pile to see what I could use. An old cotton or wool jersey does the job perfectly. An old African print top was one of my favourites, but after years of use I had relegated it to the upcycle pile. Time to resurrect it. A new life.
Digressing a little, some years ago, Mike and I had just returned from an overnight stay in Rotorua, to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary! It is fun to get away from home and check out a different stomping ground that is not your own backyard! We had a good giggle when he’d sent a text message to our son in Hamilton. The weather report warned of a chilly minus 4 overnight temperature in Hamilton, where our son was living at the time. Mike had sent this text: “Take a hottie to bed tonite and keep warm. Chilly out there.”
In our home, we talk fondly of our “hotties“, aka hot water bottles. The funny part was that Mike soon realised that he had inadvertently sent that text to 3 recipients, one being a new male work colleague as well! We laughed hard and long when we realised what had happened and Mike quickly sent a cover text to explain to his possibly perplexed colleague. A text soon arrived back, “No worries, Mate! Keep warm too”.
Hotties are the most underrated winter warming commodities. Who can sleep when your feet are cold??? When your tootsies are toasty, you can sleep like a babe! These rubber cuddle bags are relatively cheap to buy, and once filled with hot water, keep your bed nice and warm without any need to use costly power.
Creating a Cover
1. So the quickest way to make a hot water bottle cover for comfort, is to fold an A3 piece of paper into a quarter, so that there appears to be a cross in the middle. Place your hottie with the centre of the cross, lining the bottle up equally to match the quadrant. Then draw around the hottie. Fold the paper in half along the longest side, add 2.5cm seam allowance to the shape and cut the shape out, making sure that both sides are equal.
2. Place the template onto a single piece of your fabric or upcycled jersey, pin it and cut it out. Then fold the template in half, cross-wise and cut a bottom and a top half out separately, with an extra piece added to overlap in the middle! I used the bottom of the jersey so I didn’t need to neaten it off with a seam.
3. Place the one piece, right side together to the two sets of top and bottom, overlapping in the middle, then pin it securely together.
4. If you have an overlocker, yahoo, your job is twice as easy. I have an old trusty sewing machine, so I have to first sew the seam and then zigzag it. Works the same, just twice the work!
5. Turn the cover inside out, use an iron to press the seams down. Insert the hottie, as if you are popping it into it’s very own little sleeping bag. Once filled with hot water, you simply draw the top of the cover over and you have your own little warm passive heat to make your feet toasty warm and cosy.
6. If you like, you can add a button or Velcro to keep the opening closed, but it is not really necessary.
A little button to close the hatch……
A second jersey which I upcycled into a hottie cover. The little pocket is for popping a lavender bag in. The hot water will release the smell of lavender!
PS. Hot water bottles come with a warning not to fill them with boiling water. This not only reduces the life of the rubber, but if it burst, could end up with nasty third degree burns. I follow my Grandmother’s advice. She taught me to first put one cup of cold water in, followed by water that has boiled and cooled down for five minutes. That way, the water inside is not boiling water temperature. It’s worked for me the last three decades. 😊 Keep warm Guys!