Saturday, January 1, 2011

heating pad tutorial

     This little heating pads are filled with rice (or beans, or even birdseed) and warmed in the microwave to soothe aches, pains, and cramps.  They can also be frozen to comfort tired eyes or minor burns.  They are very, very easy to make and make a practical first project for a beginning sewer. I used cozy grey flannel to make mine, but any close-weave fabric works well. These are great scrap busters.  As I found out this Christmas, they also make wonderful presents, easy to whip up and well received by all ages.

     Begin with fabric rectangles that are as wide as you want your heating pad to be and twice as long. I did one large pad that works well for stomach cramps, a narrow and long pad that is heavenly draped around the back of your neck or across your eyes and two small pads that are perfect for hand, boot, and pocket warmers.

     Fold your rectangle in half, and sew along two sides, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam for security (its the sewer's way of tying a knot) and leaving one short side open. I used a shortened zig-zag stitch for security, but a straight stitch would work just as well.

     Turn the pad right side out, and topstitch across the bottom, or even three of the sides, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam. These seems will match the last side after you are done filling the pad, and it is much easier to sew the pad before it is full.  This is a great chance to try out the decorative stitches on your sewing machine if you have any, but even a zig-zag or straight stitch will work just as well. When I made these for gifts, I used brightly colored thread in these stitches, making the pads special for each person.

     Fill the pads about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full with the filling of your choice, I use rice mainly because it smells nice heated up, but dried beans and birdseed work just as well.  A few drops of your favorite essential oil are a wonderful touch.

     I found the easiest way to sew the top was to place a line of straight pins across the top of the rice, holding the rice down in the body of the pad, away from the top.  (See picture if that doesn't make any sense). Then turn the top edges down into the body of the pad, and sew across the top, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.  You'll probably need to hold the pad with one hand and feed the fabric through the sewing machine with the other.


     Repeat for as many pads you wish to make, and then step back and bask in your awesomeness.

     Please let me know what you think of this tutorial, if there is anything that is oddly worded or unclear, or even if it works out perfectly! Any feedback would be greatly helpful for when I try and write another tutorial. (Which should be soon.)

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