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!),


  1. Muito bonito,parabéns.Beijo.Valéria.

  2. So sweet!! Love all your pretty fabrics!! xo Heather

  3. Wow! It's So Nice.It's realy good idea.
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  4. Thank you so much for this really good tutorial. We all love hot water bottles, and so, I have to sew at least five cozys for the kids and me :)

  5. Is there any chance you have the template for the front and back pieces? thanks