I don’t know who first came up with the idea of these wonderful warmers, but I’m assuming they came about after microwave oven technology arose. Prior to that a hot water bottle was a favoured way of warming a bed or alleviating stomach cramps or other aches and pains.
It’s amazing how much relief can be gained from application of localised warmth.
Warning! Do not overheat these packs. 1 and 1/2 minutes in the microwave is ample. Remember microwaving causes uneaven heat spots which can cause burns!
These wonderful warmers fetch a pretty price in the shops often around the $20-$30 range. If you would like to make some of these bags for yourself or as an excellent gift, this can easily be done at home. There are many ways this can be done but for today I’ve come up with the most easy pattern which can be made really quickly, especially if you have quilting pre cuts available. With the fabric already cut its just a matter of a quick sew, fill and hand stitch closed.
Different ingredients can be used to fill them.
Hot Packs, two ways;
Traditional – Fill with wheat, rice or beans.
Washable – Fill with cleaned cherry pits
I have read that others have used Epsom Salts in their hot packs. I have tried it out, as did Ellie Millbank – without success. The Epsom Salts all clumped together, so I don’t recommend it.
Ingredients for one Hot Pack
1 x 10″ square of cotton fabric
1 x 5″ square of cotton fabric
Filling of your choice
A few drops of Essential Lavender Oil, if making the washable pack (optional)
Or a small amount of dried lavender in a regular pack
Take the 5″ square and fold sides in toward the centre. Then fold in half so all the edges are enclosed. Pin. Sew down the two long sides along the edges. Fold this strip in half.
Fold the 10″ square in half, right sides together. Position the folded strip inside the square at the centre of the top side, with raw edges matching and the strip inside. Pin in place.
Sew a quarter inch seam, using a small stitch length, approximately 1.5 along the top to anchor the strip in place. Ensure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam and over the strip. Stop at one quarter inch from the edge of the long side, needle down turn, sew down the long side, turn and sew in about one inch on the last side. Ensure to back stitch. Clip a small amount from the corners if desired. Do not clip the seam.
Turn to the right side, through the remaining opening. Use a chop stick to smooth the edges and make the points. Fill with filling of your choice. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil, if desired. Hand stitch closed. Use small stitches.
To use, warm the bag in microwave on high for about one and a half minutes. Do not leave unattended. Do not over heat. For added safety, stand a glass of water in the microwave whilst heating the pack! Thank you Helen Riordan Evans for this great safety tip.
I would also like to thank Ellie Millbank for her contribution of a heat pack with more rounded edges and ties so that it can be worn. I am aware that there are instant activation hot packs available from the chemist but they are once only use stick on, which is great for a short term use but expensive if required more often. This project is a bit more complex an will require a subsequent post. Thank Ellie 💖
Christine Marlene Powers Ray, has also mentioned, that these bags can be great for animals, who are in need of comfort too. What a great idea!