Dec 13, 2004

Microwave heat pack

I'm crafting all of my presents this year and just wouldn't think of anything for one person in particular (click pictures to enlarge)

I originally was going to use the instructions found here, but absolutely abhor measuring and cutting fabric (this is why I don't get more done) so I decided to use a washcloth for the inner rice-bag and then cut a piece of fabric bigger than that for the outside (so it would fit nice on the side but be bigger lengthwise for sewing purposes). The outside fabric is this great tweed-looking material that feels like flannel (flannel would be ideal I think!) that I have also made a messenger bag out of for a friend.. it's really nice! The outside bag is like a pillowcase, you can take it off to wash and dry (you shouldn't wash the rice-bag obviously!).

first I folded the washcloth in half and sewed one end and one long side closed (the other long side is already closed). Then you flip it right side (inside) out. You will basically do the same thing for your outside material (making sure the right sides are together when you sew). I suppose the seam allowances should be kept to a minimum unless you want to trim it up before flipping it out.

I also decided to make 2 channels so all the rice wouldn't go to one end of the bag when he uses it... I added about a cup of rice (you want to make your bag about half full) and then sewed 2 lines across the middle of the cloth.. then I added another cup of rice before I sewed up the end (do not use instant or minute rice for this!).

I added some crushed mint to the rice because my understanding is that rice tends to smell a little on the sour side (some say it isn't too bad.. others say it gets that way over time) and mint can be like aromatherapy (I wish I had some relaxing lavender). I wasn't quite sure how much to use, so i guessed... and kept putting the bag up to my nose the whole time I was making it! He isn't much into 'smelly' things, so I hope this is OK.. I'm sure he will appreciate it because he often gets aches and pains in his back, especially in the winter.

like I said earlier, for the outside bag you wont sew up the other short side because you want it to be like a pillowcase. Before I flipped it right side out, I simply folded back the end (I cut the fabric about 2 inches longer to be able to do this) and sewed around the top. Then I flipped it right side out and put the rice-bag inside. Viola!

I considered embroidering the outside with his name or even an applique of some sort.. but he isn't fussy and tends to think of things in terms of 'how can this be used' rather than 'how pretty is this' (heh).

here are some forum posts about what to use inside your bag and also some cautionary stories (it can burn if you heat it up too much, don't put it on your eyelids etc.) And here is a really great write-up about microwave heat bags made for hospital patients (this lady uses corn).

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