Monday, December 4, 2017

The Gift of Warm and Cozy

Hi friends! If you follow me on IG, you've already seen my most recent quick sewing project. Yes, this 5 piece set of microwaveable heating pads whips up in a jiffy. But if you don't follow me on IG, my latest project is news to you! And it's all good news!

I use these heating pads (rice packs) every single day of my life, sad but true! Where I go, they go--even on vacation! I know others who use them daily as well and in fact, the recipient of this set asks me every year for a new style, size, etc. Since you must know someone who could surely use a set of these cozy little miracle workers, I will show you today how these can be whipped up super fast!

Here's what you need to begin this project:

Purchase a towel or use one you already own. If it's a gift you may want to purchase a a new one. (Note: The one I purchased was very easy to use because I could use the lines on the towel to keep my cutting straight! Also, look for the finished smooth edge as seen at top of this photo. It will come in handy later. Grab some coordinating (cotton) fat quarters. You only need a couple of these. Then obviously you will need some thread. The ribbon is to tie your finished project together for a pretty presentation! OH!......and you will need rice. I keep a HUGE bag on hand! OPTIONAL: Essential Oil, I used a couple of drops of lavender in each compartment of the large pad.)

I first removed the smooth, finished edge that I mentioned earlier. This is going to be used as the straps on either end of the large heating pad.

I then cut a strip off the towel using the entire width (and I cut following the straight lines on the towel) It was about 16" x width of the towel. ) This will be used to make a tube.

I cut the piece for the strap in half and folded in the raw edge to the center of the strap. Then I folded once again and stitched vertically on both sides of the smooth part of the strap. This finishes the raw edge and makes a really nice looking strap. You will need to repeat this step for the second strap.

Once you have the two straps completed, it will be time to stitch up the tube which will hold the rice.
Fold your towel material in half right sides together and stitch the long end. Do not stitch the short ends. turn right side out.

My photo for this step was very blurry so I will explain the next step using using this photo. You will notice those very neat edges that came on the towel. (see left edge) I decided to utilize that nice finished edge. I placed the strap inside the tube right side facing up and I stitched very close to the edge making sure that the edges met as perfectly as possible. I reinforced the handles by stitching over them a couple of times. Then I did another row of stitching to reinforce the seam. I have purchased these heating pads before that leaked rice from a weak seam and that is no fun! So this extra step will prevent that!!

Next, I divided the tube in thirds (actually I eyeballed it), placed a pin at each third and drew a light line with a marking pencil.

Fill the bottom third about 1/2 full (I used about 2 1/4 cups of rice.) You may add a couple drops of essential oil to the rice before placing in tube, be sure to distribute evenly to the rice by stirring or shaking in a zip loc bag.)  Making sure that the rice is moved to the very bottom of the tube,  stitch from top to bottom to create a compartment to hold the first 2 cups of rice. Be sure to back stitch to reinforce top and bottom of stitching. Measure 2 1/4 cups of rice again and fill the second compartment. Stitch the second line which seals the second compartment of rice. Fill your third compartment with the same amount of rice. Place the remaining handle inside the tube right side up, and while making sure that both finished edges line up well, stitch close to the edge as done with first handle. Complete the second row of "safety stitching" to reinforce the compartment.

The large bag is now done. It is quite heavy so the handle serves too purposes really: first, you can fold in half  (see below) and carry by the handles like a tote and second, they can be used to tie a belt through to hold the heating pad around your waist which keeps it in place hands free.

The handles turned out very neat using this method. I was going to use webbing but when I saw the wide edge on the towel I decided to utilize it. I'm glad I did!

To create some additional sizes for this gift set, I cut 2 strips about 5 1/2" x 10", stitched them wrong sides together along two edges and partly on the remaining edge, turned them right side out, filled with about 6 oz of rice, and stitched them closed on the outside which matches the outside stitching on the first heating pad that I made. So easy.....

Lastly, I cut 2 more pieces of coordinating fabric about 12"  x 10", folded them in half and finished them using the same steps above.

Here it is all tied up with some coordinating ribbon. I will add a tag with the heating instructions. For the large pads it takes some time to heat. I start with 2 min and then if not warm enough, I heat in smaller increments of time (30 to 45 seconds at a time) until heated. The small pads take 20 to 30 seconds. You should use caution while heating which will prevent burns and prolong the life of the pad.

Aren't those straps neat looking? They are sturdy and lend a complete and consistent look to the pad. I think webbing would have served the purpose but the end look would not be the same. This has a "SPA-ey" look which was definitely the look I was going for!

Things to Note:
  • You can determine the sizes of your pads based on your own needs or needs of recipient.
  • You can customize this for a gift by choosing colors of the recipient's liking. Likewise, if this is for you, choose your favorite colors and pick some pretty coordinating prints.
  • If your towel does not have a nice finished edge on the top and bottom, you can make a strap from fabric, or webbing or rope.
  • If your towel does not have a nice finished edge on the long sides you can stitch all three edges of the tube while inside out and hand sew the open edge closed after filling with rice. You will have to adjust the method of adding straps though. Simply place straps inside the bag, matching raw edges, right sides together and stitch or leave off the straps. 
This makes a wonderful gift on its own but if you want to tuck in a few other thoughtful little gifts, here are some ideas:
  • Handcrafted soaps
  • Bath bombs, bath oil
  • Bath Salts (I am including a bag of lavender scented epsom salts)
  • Matching towel set
  • Slipper socks
  • Sachets
Well friends, that's all for now! I can't believe how fast the time is flying! Wishing everyone a joy filled December!