There used to be a handwritten sign on the roadside as you drove up the eastern side of Loch Lomond towards Oban that read ‘Toty Wee Tents Only’. Sadly it is no longer there - it made me smile every time I saw it - so when my friend presented me with quite a few of these…..
I knew that they were not just Wee Hotties but Toty Wee Hotties. In fact they are so ‘toty’ I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them! Looking around my workroom I saw a pile of felted wool jumpers (product of a brief flirtation with feltmaking and all things felty) and knew that the only thing I could do was make some pockets for the toty bottles and so the Toty Wee Hottie Pocket came about.
As I was making them I thought that it would make a good tutorial as they are so quick and easy to make – you don’t even have to have a machine, you could do all the sewing by hand if you wanted to and make it part of the design.
You can make these pockets out of anything really but recycled felted wool jumpers work really well, are relatively inexpensive and cut down on the amount of finishing you need to do. So without further ado here’s how to…..
MAKE A TOTY WEE HOTTIE POCKET
First of all you need to get your material sorted. It could be a felted scarf (works well especially ones with fringes on the end!), felted jumper or something like.
In order to get good felt you need 100% wool knit which you put in the washing machine (whole) at 60 degrees with some real soap flakes (be careful how much – read instructions!!) and something hard like some plastic flipflops, rubber ball or something similar to help agitate the fabric. The fabric should come out stiffer and will have shrunk quite a bit. You can reshape the fabric while it is still wet and hang to dry. Once dry, cut the garment along the seams and flatten out, iron it with a hot iron and you are ready to go. Before cutting out do a test on a small area – if it does not fray it is properly felted. If it starts to fray it will need to go through the wash again or may have some non-natural fibres in it which will stop it felting properly. ALWAYS CHECK THE LABELS ON THE ITEMS YOU INTEND TO BUY/USE FOR FELTING! They need to be 100% WOOL. Also try and get items that have an interesting texture and/or pattern which will look lovely when felted.
Make a pattern for the pocket including at least a 1cm seam allowance all round. The pattern I made was in 2 pieces – a front and a back – made to fit my toty bottles.
The back was 15cm wide x 33cms long (which included extra length for the flap to go over the top)
The front measured 15cms wide x 25cms long
Remember if you are using a particularly thick felt you might want to make the seam allowance a bit bigger to accommodate the extra bulk. I use drafting paper (tracing paper) to make patterns, as it is thick enough to stand some rough handling but thin enough to see the pattern of the fabric through the paper.
Place your pattern pieces on the fabric and cut out. If you are lucky you might be able to cut one continuous piece (just place the 2 pattern pieces end to end to get the right size) This works well with scarves as you can get up to 2 pockets from one scarf and the fringing makes a nice detail. If you place the back of the pattern with the flap end on the ribbing of a sleeve or back/front of jumper you will have an already finished edge for the flap……..
On this pocket I placed the paper-pattern on the fabric so that the pattern on the fabric would show when it was folded over to make the top flap. This piece was not long enough to make the pocket in one piece…..
so I placed the front of the paper-pattern on another piece of fabric so that the ribbing and coloured pattern on the fabric became part of the design too. On this one I had the pattern running different ways to optimize use of the available fabric……
Pin and sew the raw edge at the top of the piece of fabric for the front…..
put hottie inside and fasten with a kilt pin or similar et voila! One finished Toty Wee Hottie Pocket!
You can get kilt pins from any good haberdasher including John Lewis/Hobbycraft. You could also use an old brooch, adapt the kilt pin with some beads, use a button, poppers, tie with ribbon – in fact you can fasten in any way you like. They are also good gifts for guys if you choose the right fabric……..
Of course you can use any fabric you like or knit/crochet a piece of the right width and length and just sew up the seams. You can personalise with a motif, the first letter of the persons’ name who you are giving it to – anything you want really. I have my own labels that I put on everything I make but you can buy limited numbers of labels saying 'Handmade with Love' from some craft outlets to further personalise your gift.
maybe with some appliquéd designs in felt and tweed. However, I have quite a few rubber bottles, to say the least, and I would like to move some of them on to new homes! My felted jumper supplies are finite!
Is there anyone out there interested in buying some of the bottles (in their packets) from me for their own crafting purposes? They come in 4 colours and measure 12cms wide x 22cms long. I am not trying to make money on these - originally they cost £1 each but I am willing to sell 6 for £5 plus P&P (which will be approx £2 for UK residents) I am also happy to sell them individually plus P&P. They would make great handmade gifts and can be customized in any way that you like! You can contact me by email if you would like some and I will list them in my Folksy shop if you are paying by Paypal or UK residents could send a personal cheque. Hey - It’s never to early to plan for Xmas!! And nothing says "I Love You" like a Toty Wee Hottie Pocket - too much, have I gone too far?? Well you can't blame a girl for trying. Bottles available on a first come, first served basis and you would be doing me a huge favour – I can hardly move for Toty Hotties!!