I wanted to make a heat pack to bring along in my hospital bag. Once I got started, I realized these would be great Christmas presents and I made a few at once. These are an easy project that doesn't take very long to make once you get going at it.
I must mentions, this is my very first tutorial post (though In all fairness, I must give credit where it is due, as I simply took my lead from The Green Wife). I hope you find it easy to follow, but please feel free to ask any questions if you're unsure about something. Without further ado, here is what I did:
First, find some nice fabric to work with. I had a bunch of pretty fabric leftover from various projects. I just used cotton, but this would work with a heavier fabric like flannel too.
Here's a shot of the patterns up close (I just love pretty fabrics!)
Cut the fabric into rectangles that were 19"x8". You will need 2 rectangles per heat pad.
Pin them right sides together.
Once it's pinned, sew along the edges of the long sides and one of the short ends with 1/4" seam allowance (Mine was a bit larger seam allowance). When you get to the end of the final short side, pivot your needle on a right angle and sew approximately 1" along the short edge. I forgot to get a picture of this, but essentially you just want to reinforce around the corner but leave the short edge open for filling at the end.
Once you're finished sewing, clip the corners on a diagonal, making sure not to cut into your sewing. Turn the fabric right side out, press, and topstitch along the edge.
Then, use a chalk marker and mark the fabric into six 3" sections.
Start by putting 3/4 cup of rice into the heat pad. You'll want to even it out as much as possible and then pin it down. I stole the idea from The Green Wife, and used my iron as a weight to hold the sac while I pinned the rice in. You'll want to make sure you block off as much rice as possible with a nice line of pins; otherwise you have bits of rice escape and they make your life difficult. Try to pin the rice a few inches away from the drawn line to give yourself some space to sew.
You're now ready to sew! I found this to be the trickiest part, but if you've pinned it well, it's not so bad (the first end is probably the hardest). Sew along the line you drew and repeat for the next 5 sections.
I didn't show it in the pictures, but as I went along, I found it was helpful for me to put a little book on the left side of my sewing machine so that the end I had already sewed was not hanging down while I sewed. This made it easier to feed the next section through. For the final section, sew your barrier seam and then tuck the ends in and finish with a zig-zag seam.
That's it! You're all done. The heatpad fits nicely around the neck, or over the abdomen, or on your back... wherever you have aches and pains, it will do the trick! Be sure not to heat it too long in the microwave or is might start to stink.
It also rolls up nicely for convenient storage (or packing). Hope you enjoy!