It’s not the most seasonal DIY project, but heavens before you know it, September will be upon us. Followed by the nights drawing in, the arrival of Autumn proper will see afternoon cups of tea and cake back in fashion over summer’s Pimm’s and crisps.

‘Tea Cosy’ is a pretty unsexy description for this handy kitchen accessory. It suits the crocheted version, but not this one. This one is deserved of an edgier title. Perhaps the Tea Pot Coat. After all, it’s made from heavy wool or thick felt, cut simply and works a much sharper line than the baggy version your Granny might have. And just as most ladies over the age of 22 have realised, it’s not cool to freeze to bits in the winter for want of a coat, so should your second cup from the pot be as hot at the first.

By featuring this Do It Yourself now, you have generous notice to make sure that your tea pot is as well dressed for A/W14 as you will be.

Also, it’s excitingly channelling the hugely popular Henri Matisse Cut-Outs (showing at Tate Modern until 7 September). This ‘tea cosy’ is bright, cheery, modern and really simple to make. Here’s how:


Thick fleece or heavy wool fabric (black will hide a tea stain!)
Dinner plate or compass
Dressmakers chalk or white pencil
Craft fleece in multi colours (primary colours are good)
Fabric glue
Dress pins
Sewing machine (or be prepared for some tidy hand sewing)


1.Measure the circumference of your tea pot at its widest points (around the handle and to the tip of the spout). Halve it and add 3cm. This measurement is how wide the 2 sides of the Tea Pot Coat need to be.

2. Measure the height of the pot and add 8cm. This measurement will be how tall the 2 sides of the Tea Pot Coat need to be.

3. Cut two rectangles of your heavy felt or wool fabric using your measurements.

4. Using a plate or a compass with some dressmakers chalk, make a curve arching to the edge of the long side and curving gently and symmetrically towards the shorter edge at the side. Repeat this on the other piece. Cut both out and check the curved edges match.

5. Take your craft felt and cut some shapes inspired by Matisse’s Cut-Outs. I liked the coral shapes with some angular blocks of colour.

6. Lay them out on one side of your Tea Pot Coat material. Rearrange until you are happy. Then, using fabric glue, stick down the felt carefully. Once all the shapes are glued in place, place some heavy books on top for a few hours or overnight to ensure the shapes are well stuck.

7. Cut a small, long, thin rectangle of your black background material to make a loop and place this between the two sides at the top of the Tea Pot Coat. Pin all the way around the curved edge and sew carefully on your machine, or by hand.

8. Put the kettle on, put your Tea Pot Coat on, and drink cup after cup of hot, pot tea.

(Repeat for easy, inexpensive Christmas presents for the Grannies who need a tea pot update).

 Good news for the kids! Tate Modern is launching a new regular monthly series of artist-led events for under 5’s and parents/carers called EARLY YEARS THIRD THURSDAYS.
They’re free, fun and drop-in. The first one (we apologise profusely for the extremely short notice) is today (17.06) and is linked to Matisse and his Cut-outs. The sessions take place in the Clore Studio, Level 0, Tate Modern, between 10.30am and 12.30pm. Exciting picture making for your children!
PPS. We have good information that there will be FREE TICKETS for Third Thursday participants to the Matisse exhibition on the day, so you really must go!

Photography & styling: Ruth Howes