Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heated Rice Bag Tutorial + Bonus Wrapped Corner Tutorial!

Ugh! Just when things were finally warming up; we hit another cold snap. On the bright side, it's the perfect time to share a tutorial for my most appreciated sewing project-- the rice bag. Out of all the things I make (from knit hats to cake) these little rice bags are favorites. I get requests for them through the cold weather, and I (gasp!) actually see them being used from time to time. Those of ya'll who sew will know how exciting that is!

I know there are lots of tutorials for similar items in all different sizes all over the net. This are simply how I make mine. Cold, these are basically sacks filled with plain white uncooked rice. When you warm them up in the microwave, they become toasty warm little nuggets of heaven.

I make mine extra large so they stay nice and heated through most of the night. Want to make one for yourself? Here's the skinny on how to get them done quick and cute.

Take two rectangles (mine are 9x13) place them right sides together and sew around 3 sides.

 If you are like me, when you turn it out, your corners will be dog eared like this, even if you take the time to poke it out with a bobby pin.

 If you want to get fancy, you can wrap your corners. To do this, sew down the short side, and then iron that seam allowance up toward the bag.

 Now go back through and sew the two long sides-- right over that seam you ironed up.

 This time when you turn it out you will have perfect gorgeous wrapped corners. I'll be honest, I only take the time to do this when I'm making a bunch of bags at once, since it requires getting up and going to the iron.

 Now, take your perfect little sacks and fill them up with plain, uncooked white rice. I use about 4 cups in each of mine.
 Tuck the raw edges of the bag inwards, and sew straight across to close the bag. I normally topstitch a few lines of stitching to make sure no little grains of rice escape. I do the same on both short sides just to make sure they match.

 And done! These sound like a lot of work, but really I could crank out all these in just a few hours.
To use one of these, just microwave for a few minutes. Please, please, please use common sense and caution when using these. Microwave for just a minute at a time, and shake the bag to make sure there are no hot spots before using.

Tips and Tricks:

  • I like to make mine assembly line style, so when I sit down to make them, I normally make 4-5 at a time. I 'chain piece' all the seams so I don't have to stop as often.
  • I also pick up the huge bags of the cheapest rice I can find at the store to make them as inexpensively as possible. 
  • In a pinch? Use fat quarters to totally eliminate any cutting at all. Just fold them in half hamburger style and go to town! 

These would make great gifts for anyone for anytime, but they are my favorite gift to give as 'get well' gifts. Put one of these in a basket with muffins, and I think they make a better gift then roses. So tell me-- what is the weather like where you are this time of year?