Now that it’s getting chilly outside, it’s time to cuddle up in the house and stay warm. There’s no better way to do that than with a wonderful steaming hot cup of tea. In this tutorial we’re going to sew our own easy cotton reusable tea bag that can be cleaned out and used over and over again.
This is a super easy tutorial, and we designed this project for beginners. I even found the easiest way possible for all the steps, so this can be done by anyone. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can still hand stitch this, it’s just going to be harder to clean it back out when you use it for tea & you need to use small, close together stitches, but I’m not one to stop you from your sewing dreams! Or from getting some tea!!
We’re adding these tea bags to our arsenal of projects that could be given as gifts to your friends and family, or as a spa-like gift for your clients. The fabric you choose will set the tone of the tea bag and you can choose whatever pattern you like. It could be crazy colorful, or serene and relaxing, like this fabric I chose.
The best fabric to use is 100% cotton. This is the ideal beginners fabric. It won’t frey like crazy like some other fabrics, and many synthetic fabrics contain chemicals you don’t want in your tea cup. An off-white muslin is the best choice for a food product, because it hasn’t even been bleached. I chose this holiday cotton fabric. I really liked the serene, spa-like quality to the design and it was in the remnants at my local store. I just needed a little bit of fabric.
To keep things relaxing, choose colors that are muted like greys and beige as well as patterns that are subtle. To energize use fabric with strong patterns and bold colors.
Let’s get started! I made a pattern from folding a letter-sized piece of paper in half, lengthwise, then cut. I then folded that half into quarters, giving me a great size and shape for the tea bag. You can see in the photo below that there’s plenty of room for seam allowance. I ended up using a total of an 1/8 yard of quilter’s cotton for this project and I made ten completed tea bags all exactly the same. I stopped at ten.
If you cut all four sides of the fabric, you will sew where all the blue lines are for your closed edges. I’ll be folding my fabric in half and using the fold to make both sides of my tea bag at once. You can see that I’ve folded it, cut it, and now I’m marking my pattern lines with a piece of chalk I borrowed from my son. (Be sure to wash the chalk out of the fabric before using them for tea.)
I plan to use these as amazingly personal gifts this year to a few deserving people, so I’ve made more than one. To streamline the process, I’m marking several then I will cut them all at the same time.
Once they’re cut, we’re ready to start pinning the top edge. Fold the edge that will be the tops toward the inside and pin them into place. Your pins have to run perpendicular to the edge so they’re less likely to get caught in the sewing machine needle. Stitch the edge using a coordinating colored thread for a sleek professional look, or spice it up with a colorful decorative colored thread if that’s your thing.
After you’ve finished the top edges, fold the bag so the right sides are together and it is now inside out. line up the two edges you’ve completed and pin the two remaining edges together, being sure the top edges meet up.
If you used two separate pieces of fabric, or a different fabric for each side, you will pin three edges together, still lining up the top edge. You will be stitching the three dotted lines on the pattern.
Sew the sides (and bottom if they aren’t attached by the fold.) Take out all your pins and turn the little bag right side out. This is where you would wash it to get the chalk out. Press with an iron to make it nice and crisp. If you’re just going to toss it into your mug, don’t worry about ironing go to the next step. It will make it look much nicer as a gift, if it’s nicely pressed.
To add a tie to this lovely bag, we used a large hand needle and Egyptian cotton embroidery floss. We used straight stitches starting on the outside and then ending on the outside. This close up shows you how easy it really is. Tie the string together in a knot, approx an inch away from the edge.
I used a color of string that will stand out, so it can be seen easily, yet doesn’t scream at you. One of my gifts is for my mother, who needs to be able to use it even if her arthritis is bad. The string moves easily in the cotton fabric to tighten the bag so the contents don’t fall out, yet it’s easily reopened when wet so you can clean it out. I chose the color of thread that I did also so you can clearly see how it worked out.
Simply fill your tea bag with about a tablespoon of your tea, pull the string closed and place the whole thing in a mug of hot water! When your finished, it’s easy to clean out and reuse again and again. No more throwing away bags with every cup. We’ve found it’s nice to have several to choose from, if you drink tea frequently. Because they’re made from cotton, they dry quickly too.
This brings me to why I actually made these awesome reusable tea bags. I’m not putting tea in these. Yea I know, I call them tea bags and everything. I’m just doing one of the variations we try to encourage here. I personally love a hot bath when the weather outside is fridged. These reusable bags can also be used (or instead of) to hold luxury bath salt mixtures for use in the tub.
You fill your handmade bag with the herbs of your choice, like chamomile or lavender flowers, add a little Epsom salts, pull the string tight, and toss it in the tub. No more flowers stuck to your bum & nothing to try to wash out of the tub when you’re finished.
Our Luxury Bath Soak DIY is coming in November. Link will be HERE.
I can’t wait to make some of these for myself!