Hot Water Bottle Cover

The thought of winter doesn't always evoke warm fuzzy feelings, but let me set the mood -- a glowing fireplace, reading and sipping hot apple cider, or cozying up under the covers of the warmest blanket.

A friend told me how her grandmother would tuck her in at night and how she'd use a hot water bottle placed at the foot of the bed to warm the blankets as she fell asleep. I did some sleuthing and found you can buy these old-fashioned bottles at your local pharmacy. You fill the bottle up with some nice hot water before you get into bed, and place it at the foot underneath your blanket.

Though it's old-fashioned and a bit unsightly, this tutorial will show you how to bring this old-school practice into the fashion of the 21st century with an upcycled sweater!

To craft your warm and toasty hot water bottle cover, you will need:

  • Your favorite embroidery design
  • A salvaged sweater or yard of cozy fabric
  • Medium weight cutaway stabilizer
  • Temporary spray adhesive
  • Thread for your embroidery
  • Ruler
  • Scissors and pins
  • Air-erase pen or tailor's chalk
  • 1.75 qt. hot water bottle, found at your local pharmacy


Begin by laying out your sweater flat (in this case, I used a children's sweater), position and trace your empty hot water bottle with an air erase pen.

Trace another border around your pattern, an inch out for the seam allowance on the cover.

NOTE: Remember to leave enough fabric around where you are tracing to properly hoop your embroidery design.

Open up the edges of your sweater, leaving enough room around your traced lines to hoop your embroidery design -- do not cut your traced lines until after you are done embroidering.



Use a medium weight cutaway stabilizer, adhered to the back of your fabric with temporary spray adhesive, for best results.

Grab the hoop that best fits your chosen design. Use your ruler and fabric marker to make two perpendicular lines on the fabric by measuring half way in between the length and width of your bottle outline. Hoop your fabric and stabilizer taut, matching the crosshairs of the hoop with the perpendicular lines you've marked to center the design.

For my cozy bottle warmer, I chose the 4” x 4” Fierce Fox design.

Now, it’s time to get your stitch on!



Normally, I would suggest removing the excess stabilizer from your fabric. Not this time. You’ll want to keep it on; it’ll make sewing this type of fabric much easier. While sewing, be sure to have the stabilizer side facing up, for the best outcome.

To stop the seam from unraveling, I’m going to create a French seam.

Here's how to use this method: First, lay your fabric back to back. Pin together the edges.

Stitch a line all the way around your fabric border, 0.125” away from the edge of your fabric; leaving the bottle neck area open.

When you're done, flip bottle holder inside out.



Next, with your cover turned inside out, stitch a second line around your fabric border, 0.25” away from the edge of your fabric; again leaving the bottle neck area open.

Now you may remove the excess stabilizer while leaving 0.125” to 0.25” of stabilizer bordering your design. Then, flip the bottle holder right side out again.

Now, you could stop here. Wow, doesn’t that look great?! Snip those loose threads. Nice!



But I wanted a little more panache to my cover. So, I cut the cuff off of the sleeve of the sweater I was using, leaving 1” of the sleeve attached to the cuff.

I took the cuff and sewed a buttonhole in the center of the ribbed cuff, about 0.5” away from the finished edge. Then, carefully, I opened the buttonhole.

Using my tailor’s chalk, I drew a straight line, 0.125” from the edge of the bottle warmer opening.

We'll be giving this seam a nice clean finish too. To do this one, tuck your hot water bottle cover into the inside-out cuff, so the right sides of the fabric are together. Make sure the inner cuff extends past the outer cuff, so that there's a little gap between the raw edge of the outer fabric and the line you drew on the inner fabric. We'll use this excess to cover up the raw edges later.



Sew a straight line all the way around the cuff, 0.25” from the raw edge (where you've drawn your line).

Then, flip the cuff right side out, and fold all the seam allowance toward the opening. The raw edge should be completely covered. Sew inside the cuff, close to the edge as shown, making sure the raw edge is completely enclosed in the seam.

Woo, good job! Stretch those fingers to get rid of that cramping feeling in your knuckles.



Lay your bottle warmer flat and use the buttonhole to mark where you’ll sew your button(s) on. Sew your button(s), snip those loose threads and press/steam away your chalk lines.

Final touch! Put your empty, hot water bottle in your brand new stylish cover. Fill with hot water and get ready for a toasty bedtime!


Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Fierce Fox_image
Fierce Fox $3.99 - $5.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.61"w x 5.87"h | 5.47"w x 4.80"h | 3.86"w x 3.39"h | Hand Embroidery