Monday, December 12, 2011

Rice Cold/Hot Pack Tutorial

I was a busy girl this weekend and the dining room table is proof!  My poor husband shakes his head every time he walks by the mound of fabric scraps, cutting tools, sewing machine, etc.  I was like Pig Pen from Peanuts, except, instead of dirt flying around me, it was fabric dust!

Anyways, I was making some gifts for friends this weekend and I tried my hand at a rice filled hot/cold pack.  I'm sure you've seen something similar at a kiosk in the mall.  You can either store them in the freezer to use as a cold pack, or heat them up in the microwave for 30-60 seconds as a heat pack.  Because they are filled with rice, they mold nicely to whatever aches.  As I'm getting older, more is getting achier too!

I did have some inspiration for this project.  I had read their tutorial a while ago and decided to just wing it this weekend!

So, without further ado, here is my version!
I cut two pieces of cotton and one piece of felt to approximately 16" x 8".  This size ws mostly out of convenience as I had some left over fabric from a previous project and these dimensions fit nicely. (And yes, that is a towel, a.k.a. my ironing board, under my cutting mat.  Super professional I tell ya!)
*Warning!  If you plan to use these as a hot pack, make sure you aren't using synthetic materials in your construction!  We don't want any microwave fires!

I sewed right sides together around the two long sides and one short side.  For all seams, I used a small stitch setting (2, I think) to keep those seams tight.  On the other short side, I sewed in from each corner about two inches and then made a right turn and sewed out to the edge of the fabric.  The picture below might be a little more clear.

This was a neat little trick I picked up somewhere along the way.  It makes it really easy to sew that seam shut after turning the fabric!  So, clip your corners.  I also trimmed my seams to 1/4" to reduce bulk after turning.

Turn your fabric right side out, poking out those corners with something to get a nice right angle.  Iron down the seams.

Top stitch 1/8" along the two long sides and the short side opposite the opening.  The other short side will be top stitched later.  This gives it a nice professional look (people won't think you iron on a towel this way!)

Based on the size of my fabric after turning and top stitching, I figured 5 sections about three inches apart would be best.  Mark these with a pin on both sides of the fabric.  Or, you could draw a line with chalk (you won't be washing this, so don't use those fancy markers!)

This next step I specifically remembered from the above tutorial - using gravity to help keep rice in place!  I poured in about 1/2 a cup of uncooked brown rice and used pins across to keep them in place.  The amount of rice you use will vary dependingon your dimensions.  This amount gave it a good amount of bulk while allowing for movement and molding.  Sew across and repeat for each section.  The last section is a little tricky, but you'll use the topstitching to seal in the rice.

Ahh, here it is in use!  Perfect!  This will make a great stocking stuffer!

Once I was finished, I figured I'd give a try at making a cute little owl one for Miss T!  I call it my Boooo Boooo!  I'll post that tutorial later this week!  For now, here is a little teaser!

p.s. I've linked up with The Holly Bloggy Christmas, hosted by Tatertots & Jello.  Head over there to be inspired by hundreds of other homemade Christmas gifts!


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