How to Make a Tea Book (Sew Warm Contest Entry)




My sister sent me an adorable tea-set in the mail, and I wanted to make her something that she would use and love. Inspired by this project by Christy from Is it Naptime Yet?, I decided to make her a tea book, so that her Earl Grey and Hoji-Cha would stop getting crushed in the bottom of her school bag.

This project can vary from super easy to hard, depending on how detailed you want it to get. If you want the plain vanilla, don't worry about the embroidery-- if you want to learn more about hand-embroidery, drop me a line and I'll make a separate instructable solely on that.

Well, let's get started!

Step 1: Plan of Attack!

Pull out your handy-dandy sketchbook and doodle your ideas. Do you want five or six pockets? What color goes where? Where do you want to mount the portable rocket launcher? Your design will rule the world!
Or you could use mine. That works too. (I'll giver you scans of all of the sketches for this project at the very end of this instructable.)

Step 2: Gathering Your Materials...

For this project you will need:
~ 2 9"x12" sheets of felt in your favorite colors
~A cool button, preferably 1" or larger in diameter
~A ruler
~An embroidery needle
~Complementary embroidery thread
~A sewing machine

Step 3: Measure and Cut

If you're a pro at DIY, or if you have a father who fancies himself a bit of a Mr. Fix-It, you know the age-old axiom "Measure twice, cut once".
Ah, screw it. I hate axioms. Mistakes in craft projects make them seem more homespun, amiright? Lets just cut this thing and get it over with!

For your outside shell, you'll want a piece measuring 7.5"x6"

From your corresponding color, cut out two liner pieces measuring 3.5"x6"

Also from your corresponding color, cut out five pockets that measure 3.5"x2.5" for the pockets, and a strip that measures 1.5"x3.5" for the button strap thingie.

Step 4: Embroidery Time!

Now that you have your pieces fabricated, take a moment to consider how you want your tea-book to look. Death metal? Mary Englebreit? X-Men? All perfectly valid options.

Now, once more, WE SKETCH.

I came up with a sort of art nouveau design, along with some text. I like embroidering text. I'm masochistic that way. You can use my design (scan posted at the end! Keep reading!), or you can come up with your own.
Got your idea? Good! Now draw it onto your felt using a soft-leaded pencil. You could use a ruler to lay out your boundaries or somesuch, but I'm too punk rock for that. Free hand, ahoy!

Then all that's left is to follow your lines with embroidery in the thread colors of your choice. I used a chain stitch* for the main part of the pattern, and a running stitch for the details on the pockets and the button strap. Don't forget to measure out the button length onto your strap, and sew around that before cutting it. This will reinforce your buttonhole, and prevent future embarrassing slippage.

*You could also use a split-stitch (like in this episode of Threadbanger). Sweet!

Step 5: Pin and Sew

I forgot to take pictures of the progress on this part. *lesigh* Here's a step-by-step.

1.) Pin pockets in place, starting an inch down from the top of the left-hand liner. Pin first pocket and sew (ONLY THE BOTTOM) to the liner. Measure an inch down from the top of the first pocket and pin in the second pocket; again, sew only the bottom. For the third pocket, align the bottom of the pocket with the bottom of the liner and pin. How off on sewing this one.

For the right-hand liner, measure an inch and a half down, pin and sew the first pocket. Align the second pocket with the bottom of the liner and pin in place.

2.) Make a sandwich of all the layers, first the shell (face down), then the button strap on the right side of the piece 2.5" down, overlapping the shell layer by half an inch inwards, then the liners with their pockets (face up), aligned with the outer edges of the shell layer.

3.) Pin everything carefully in place. Make sure to pin the button strap especially, to prevent it slipping during the sewing process.

4.) Sew a running straight stitch around the perimeter of each liner, pockets and all. This will tack down the sides of the pockets and secure the button strap in place.

Step 6: THE END

Now it's time to load 'er up and take 'er for a test run. Stuff the pouches full of your favorite teas, and then annoy your local Starbucks baristas by going in and ordering a venti hot water (FREE), and using their wifi. All afternoon. Life is good.

Questions? Concerns? Indiscriminate abuse? That's what the comments are for! I hope you enjoy this project, and if you really do make a X-Men tea book, SEND ME PICTURES! I will love you forever.



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    13 Discussions

    This is so neat! I am actually making one of these for my mom right now, but with black and white felt (Damn you Wal-Mart for not having more of a selection), and brightly colored embroidery floss. I'll be sure to post a picture when I've completed it.

    3 replies

    That is adorable! I love how the bright embroidery thread pops on the black felt. Very nicely done. And I like the embroidery floss loop-- definitely an improvement. A loop of elastic cord might also look nice.

    Thanks for sharing your project with me!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have recently started making felt and this is a great way to use my experimental pieces. Thanks

    I love this! Off to check out my scraps to see what I have, muahaha.  I think every tea lover I know will be getting one of these quite soon....

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I liiiike :o)  A SO much nicer way to carry my tea bags than the plastic bag I currently employ :o)

    oh oh oh and you could do one side tea bag pockets and the other longer thinner ones for hot chocolate sachets for when it's been a baaaaaad morning! Or those fancy individual coffees.

    hmmm..... wonder what colour felt I have in my craft corner ........

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The idea for hot cocoa pouches is fabulous! I made the pockets on the other side wider apart so that I could put sugar packets in if I wanted. *grins* So glad you like it! Definitely send me pictures if you make one. I'd love to see it!