Guest Post: Stay Put Heat Pack from To Sew with Love

Today’s Guest Post is from Leilani who blogs over at To Sew with Love.

Hi, everyone! I would want to share with you a tutorial for a Back Relief Heat Bag. Who doesn’t love this little wonders? I used to have a cherry pit microwavable pack. I have a bad back so I used it almost every  night, especially when I was pregnant with my Li’l Guy… you know, excruciating sciatica pain 🙁

About a year ago, my beloved heat pack has finally “retired” ^^). One problem I had with my old (store-bought) heat bag was that if I was asleep and would wake up in the middle of the night, the pack is no longer on my back! If I’d want for it to stay on my back then I either had to sleep on my back (so difficult especially if you have an ENORMOUS preggy belly ^^) or sleep on your side. I also love using it during the day but you’d either have to lie down or stay seated while using it or not use it at all. 

I have tried looking for a heat pack which would suit my needs: one which would stay in place! I have scouted online and off line but found none. Today, I had a very BAD back pain and I still haven’t found the “ideal” heat pack. So, I have decided to create my own. I would want for it to stay in place when I am asleep. I would also want to be able to “wear” it even if I am cooking or doing other household chores. But it should also be “versatile” – something everybody could use no matter what size (hubby, kids or I) and purpose (back, neck, etc.) I wanted to use cherry pits for its heat-retention (and so as not to waste any form of food source) but I had none on-hand  (plus my back was really aching SO SO much I couldn’t wait) so, I settled for rice just for this bag.

I took this old piece of white curtain to make a bag where I could place the rice and some scrap fabric for the pretty pillow. 

I also took some velcro so the rice bag would stay inside the pillow. So, I had:
(2 pcs.) 9.5″ x 5.5″ for the bag (white fabric)
(2 pcs.) 10″ x 6″ for the pillow
(2 pcs.) 26″ x 1″ for the sash
velcro – 4″ long
*1/4 seam unless stated otherwise

Take the white fabric, place it right sides together and sew a straight stitch then a zigzag or overlock on all of the three sides (1 short and 2 long sides). Leave one side open.

Place the rice inside. I used more or less 150 grams of rice.

Then sew it close. I even topstitched all sides (not shown) to ensure that the bag won’t get ripped open and the rice won’t get spilled. ^^)

Now, take the pieces for the sash. If you are not in a hurry you could do it the right way (I am saying “the right way” here since it would  yield a neater look) by folding the piece in half (lengthwise), right sides together, sew a straight stitch on its whole length, flip it over then do a topstitch. I would have done this. But I was in a hurry to have my heat bag (my back was screaming for it ^^)

So, what I did was fold the piece in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together as shown below and folded inwards the short side of the band. You can pin it or run your nails through the folds. 

Place the band under the presser foot (the longer side) and sew happily ^^) a straight stich, feeding while keeping the edge inwards, making sure to catch everything. 

When you reach the short side of the band, it’s now easier to sew it since you have left the pin or ran your nails through it. 

So, I had this. I did the same for the other band. You could leave the other end of the band unsewn since you will have to attach it to the pillow later.

Now, get the pieces for the pillow and sew a hem on one (longer) side of each piece. You could pin or iron before sewing. This time, I just eyeballed it.

Now, place the two pillow pieces right sides together and pin the sashes/bands on each side as shown below (near the hem). Pin the unsewn ends of the bands.
don’t get confused as this picture was taken before I hemmed the pillow ^^)

Sew a straight stitch then a zigzag or serge on all sides. Make sure that your sashes are out of the way so they won’t get caught and sewn in.

Turn your pillow and sew the velcro on.

20 minutes later (picture taking included), I had this.

I told you I was in a hurry to finish it! My back was nagging at me ^^)

I then popped the bag in the microwave, placed it inside the pillow, tied the sash around my waist and went on to write this post. It took me longer to write this post than to make the heat bag ^^). My back is now all warm and I am more comfy and warm ^^)

My kids are asking me for their own heat bags. I promised to make one for each as soon as I could get my hands on some cherry pits! I might also make lined or even reversible pillows for their heat bags! ^^)

I hope you could use this tutorial one of these days. This heat bag has really helped relieve my back pain.

This bag could also be used cold. Just put it inside a ziplock, pop it in the fridge and use it on bruises or stings. I am surely making more of these! I’d make one or two especially as cold packs and make two heat bags for my kids. 


**Update!! She just couldn’t get enough and kept on improving this wonderful ideal. Head on over to her blog to see the spiffed up version:

Thank you thank you thank you to all of the wonderful guest contributors I’ve had over the holidays!! I’ll be back with some tutorials of my own next year- can’t wait!

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