Saturday, March 1, 2014

Heating Pad

Heating Pad Tutorial

Here my heating pad.  I was half way through when I decided to do a tutorial, so you will see some of the pictures showing a blue one. The blue one is for tech who gave me the idea.

Prewash fabric so it will not run or bleed color on your clothing when heated. Since it is going to be filled with rice, it cannot be washed.

I cooked raw rice in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes, stirred it and then cooked it for another 15 minutes. Let it cool and store in a container. I wanted to be sure that it was dry and had no bacteria etc.

Supplies - Prewashed 100% cotton fabric or muslin. Iron , no starch

     ~WOF x 15 1/2 inches or 2 pcs - 20 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches (can be done in two colors)

Cotton thread                          24 inch ruler                            Raw rice

Small funnel                            sewing machine                       regular sewing foot

zipper foot                               pencil or  marking pen             Freezer Paper 


Draw your pattern on a 22 x 17 piece of freezer paper without seam allowance. After drawing, trim down paper. Draw lines approximate 1 ½ inches apart. Draw notch marks in the center area of neck. This is your area for inserting the funnel in order to fill with rice.


Freezer Paper Pattern size I decided on was 20 ½ in x 14 in.  Round the top corners and in the neck area.  The measurements from top edge to neck area is 7 ¾ inches. Legs are 5 ½ inches wide.  Iron freezer paper to fabric.

Cut fabric 5/8 inch bigger than pattern all the way around.  

Sew all the way around outer edge of freezer paper using small stitch. I used 1.8 stitch on my Janome. I sewed it twice for extra strength.

Sew all the way around inner curve leaving the 1 1/2 inch gap open for filling in center of neck.  Tack it for strength.  Do not sew the legs shut. After sewing, trim the center area leaving 5/8 inch margin of fabric. 

Clip rounded corners, taking care not to get to close to seam line. Set the seam by giving it a quick press, and turn right side out.  Finger press seam as you are turning it inside out. This will make it easier to press flat for the drawing of the lines.  Press seam allowance under on bottom of legs and center of neck area. Iron the Freezer Paper back onto fabric about ¼ inch from the edge. Use your lines as your guide and draw dots on the fabric on each side to use as a guide to draw the straight lines and notched area.


Draw your lines with marking pencil, Sharpie, etc. Lines will not show after heating pad is sewn & filled.

Sew directly on the line. Remember to leave notch area open for access to fill with rice.


Using a funnel fill one side at a time with rice.  Shake several times after filling. Rice will settle a few times. Leave at least 1 ¼ to 1 1/2 inches empty on every row.  This step is very important for 2 reasons. First, you need the empty space in order to sew the seam shut, with the zipper foot, without running over the rice. Second, it makes it easier to fold heating pad for placing it in the microwave.

Sew slowly, using your zipper foot to sew seams shut. If you have the ability to move your needle position to the left, this will help you with sewing the seam shut more easily. You can use a pin to help keep the rice in place.


You have finished the first row! Continue sewing until you get to the leg area.  When doing the very last line in the neck area sew straight across from one end to the other, leaving the notch in the center open. Fill this last tube and sew shut. It should look something like this. 

When you start sewing the legs, leave 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inch opening on the outer edge. Putting the opening on the outer edge makes it easier to fill with rice. Leave at least 1 ¼  inch space without rice.  Same as on the neck area. Use a pin to help keep the rice away from the needle and sew shut using the zipper foot.


Continue until you get to the last row. On this row you will have to sew the tube shut very close to the edge, leaving the 1 ¼ inch space open for filling. I had to hand sew the last 1 ½ inch by hand. Believe me I tried to do it on the machine because I am not a hand sewer. LOL.

You may ask why I just didn’t fill the tubes from the outer seam? Well on the prototype I did just that. The problem was that the heating pad was very bulky and also very heavy. I could not figure out how to put a binding around the edge to make it looked finished, unless I sewed it completely by hand. Because of the bulk of the rice, it was impossible to clear the needle shaft area without getting stuck. Since it is much bulkier it presents a problem when trying to fold it and place it in the microwave.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I will be making a washable sleeve to go on my heating pad out of terry cloth. Towels seem to hold the heat of the heating pad in longer.


Aileen in FL

1 comment:

  1. Love all your creative ideas. These great looking Microwavable Heating Pads with organic fillers are a wonderful way to soothe sore muscles or just warm up on a cold day. I have had a corn bag that a friend made for me 15 years ago, I loved it, used it all the time!