Thursday, January 24, 2013

Easy Peasy DIY Aromatic Heating Pad Tutorial

Note* I wrote this post before Christmas, but never published it. What the heck! I was thinking that it might be a good tutorial for Valentines Day so I have decided to go ahead and post it now. Hey, sometimes me being a procrastinator works in your favor!

Lets face it, I'm not the best at this whole planning ahead for gifts thing some people have goin on. Especially when it comes to Christmas shopping. I'm usually the smuck who is digging around Target for the last package of Size Large Hanes skivies for the Hubbub. Not this year! I decided to plan ahead. Instead of buying a bunch of crap nobody needs I somehow became ambitious and decided to sew stuff.

I searched Pinterest for heating pad tutorials but they were all for 6 sectioned types which required a lot of repetitive pinning and sewing which means a lot of pricked fingers for me. Plus, I have a busy one year old who can't focus on one toy for more than 30 seconds so I needed something quick and easy. I decided to make my own version and now I am going to share it with you!

What you'll need for sewing the flannel fabric pouches:

1/2 yard of flannel fabric (pretty prints always make a nicer gift)
a ruler (any kind, I just happened to have an engineering ruler from my past career. These rulers are and easy to hold while marking and cutting.)
good fabric scissors or rotary wheel and self healing cutting board with stamped on grid
a sewing machine
a sewing needle
6-7 sewing straight pins
a chalk wheel, fabric pencil or a washable fabric marker

What you'll need for the aromatic filling:

Dried Lentils (I purchased them in bulk from Smart & Final)
Dried Lavendar (from your own garden, or you can steal from a neighbor, I did that too)
Lavendar Essential Oil ( I wouldn't suggest that you steal this)
Eucalyptus  Essential Oil (this either, you can't sew in jail)
a large plastic or glass bowl for the lentil mixture
1/3 measuring cup for scooping and whaddayaknow measuring 

Making the smelly filling

Take a large bowl, add your Lentils (I poured in a whole bag at a time). Add 5-10 drops of essential oil, about 1-2 cups of dried Lavender. Mix with a wooden spoon and set aside until your done sewing all your fabric bags.

Sewing Instructions 

1. Fold your half yard of fabric pretty side in, cut in half. You now have enough fabric for two pouches. Don't cut the folded edge, you can use that as one of your pouch sides (less sewing).

2. Cut your fabric edges so that the pouch will be to the desired size. I trimmed my rectangles down with the rotary tool so that the fabric was about 20 inches long by 10 inches wide that way I could make three (3) sections that were 6 inches long with a little fabric left over for folding and hand-sewing at the edge.

3. Mark a line with the chalk tool about 1/2 inch away from each raw edge so that you have a straight line to follow and use the sewing machine. Sew around all raw edges of your fabric and be sure to stop and lift your pressure foot at corners, turn the fabric and keep going. Continue sewing all the way around leaving one short edge open for filling the pouch. If you have a folded edge as one of your sides Yippie for you, then you only have to sew two long sides!

4. Using sissors, cut the corners at a diagonal, above your stitching line (this makes for better turned out corners) then flip the fabric right side out, poking out the corners; you now have an open pouch.

5. Flatten out your pouch on the self healing cutting board grid and using your ruler as a guide, mark lines along your fabric every 6 inches. You should have three lines: one at 6, 12 and then 18 inches. There should be 2-3 inches of fabric left after the 18 inch chalk marker line.

6. After you've marked your lines you are ready to start filling the first section.

A. Scoop in 4 scoops of the lentil filling into the first section of the bag. Tap the bag on the table a few times to move all the lentils down toward the seam.

B. Using your pins, pin a line as close to the lentils as you can creating a flat space where your chalk line is. This will make sewing on your chalk line a heck of a lot easier and will keep your lentils far away from the sewn line so that they are not squirming about while you move the fabric through your machine.

Repeat steps A & B until you have filled three sections and have sewn down your last chalk line. 

7. Now the fun part; hand sewing. It really only takes about two minutes to close this puppy up so grab your needle & thread. Fold in the remaining 2-3 inches of fabric in on itself so that you have a nice folded and finished edge. Sew those two pieces together with a quick loop stitch. Knot the end, cut all excess strings from all sewing lines and edges and you are done!

I made the 6 sectioned one first but because it was so much work and becasue at some point I needed to feed my family, I decided to change the pattern to a larger, 3 sectioned heating pad instead which was much quicker. I really like the larger panels and it folds up much nicer. 

For gifting purposes, I added an excerpt from The Red Tent about welcoming an appreciating menstruation. The women in my life seemed to enjoy it. Or, they simply thought I was nuts, that's ok too, I am.

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