Handmade Holidays 2012: Part 2

The next project in this year's Handmade Holiday Series is a reusable hot/cold pack. I have so many cute fabric scraps and no idea what to do with all of them. That means that I'm always on the lookout for new projects to use them up... like this one! The only tricky wicket is that you do have to have a sewing machine and basic knowledge of it's use.

Once you've finished this little baby, you'll be able to pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes or in the freezer for 20 and Fanny's Your Aunt... you have a hot or cold pack to soothe and refresh! I have also infused the pack with eucalyptus essential oil for added awesomeness.


  • Quilting cotton or other light fabric (enough to cut two 16"x7" pieces)
  • Matching thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 3 cups dry rice
  • Essential oil (optional)

First iron the fabric you intend to use so there are no wrinkles. Then measure and draw two 16"x7" rectangles on your fabric. Make sure to note the directionality (if any) of your fabric's print. Cut along the lines.

Place the pieces right sides (the side you want to see) together, matching the edges and pin along all four sides.

Stitch along each side at least 1/4" from the cut edge, backstitching at each end. Make sure to leave approximately a 3" gap in the stitching on one of the short sides so it can be turned right side out.

Press the piece as is, then turn it right side out. A great way to achieve nice square corners is to fold the seam allowances on either side of the corner on the seamline. Pinch the corner and turn it. 

Once you've turned the pouch right side out, press it flat. If you want your heat pack to be segmented, mark four 5" vertical lines centered equal distances apart. Pin across the pencil lines to stabilize and stitch, remembering to backstitch a few stitches at each end.

Pour three cups of dry rice into a bowl and add approximately 10-15 drops of essential oil to your taste and mix thoroughly. 

Funnel the rice into the pack. If you have segmented yours, make sure you jostle the rice down into each segment. 

After you've filled the pack, turn the raw edges of the open section inward and pin closed.

Topstitch around all four sides of the pack approximately 1/8" from the edge. To get a clean corner, drop your needle at the corner point, lift your presser foot, turn the pack 90 degrees, lower the presser foot and continue stitching.

I found it hard to do the top stitching with all the rice in the pack, but it is totally possible as long as you go slowly and smooth the grains out of the way as you go. 

Now all you need is a tummy ache or sore muscles to get some use out of this baby!

Next time... Soothing Hand and Muscle Salve!