Make Your Own Microwave Heat Pack from a Pillowcase and an Old Sweater

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Using a leftover pillowcase and an old sweater, you can quickly make a microwave heat pack to warm toesies or soothe sore muscles.  Filling the pillowcase with uncooked rice is affordable and effective since it will hold in the heat.  I microwave it for 3 minutes and it stays warm for at least 20 more.  I use it on my sore muscles after a workout.  I also use it under my tv blanket at night to warm me up since my husband likes the house much cooler than I do!

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Leftover pillowcase
Old heat safe sweater (you don’t want to starting a fire in your microwave!)
Matching thread
Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
Cutting mat, tape measure, or ruler
Sewing pins
Sewing machine
Bag of rice or plenty of bulk rice

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Start by turning your pillowcase inside out and ironing out the wrinkles.

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Prepare pillowcase for cutting.  If using a cutting mat, line up the corner of the pillowcase with that of the grid.  You will be using the pillowcase corner for the corner of the interior rice bag.

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Measure and cut to 7.5 inches by 11.5 inches.

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Using a fine stitch and a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew one side together.

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Make sure to reinforce your stitches.

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Stitch both ends of the remaining side of the pillowcase leaving an opening in the middle.  Make sure the reinforce your stitches here too.

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Turn your pillowcase inside out and add the rice.

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You can clip the corner of the bag and rice and pour it in.

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Or you can use a piece of paper as a funnel to add the rice.

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Fold over and pin the open end of the interior rice bag.  Stitch closed.

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Turn your sweater piece inside out. Measure and pin the piece of sweater to fit the interior bag.

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If you are using stretch knit fabric for your heat pack cover experiment first on a scrap piece.  Make sure you try sewing on both directions of the fabric.

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I used stitch 21 when sewing with the grain and stitch 00 when stitching across the grain.

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Once you have figured out what stitch to use, stitch along the pin marks.

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Trim 1/2 inch from seam.

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Stitch up the side.

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Turn cover inside out and insert your interior bag and pin where you’d like the seam.

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Sew the final seam making sure not to sew over any pieces of rice from the interior bag.

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Cut off the extra fabric 1/4 inch from the seam.

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It’s ready to use!  Yay!  Heat it for 2 to 3 minutes depending on your microwave.  I always heat it for 3 minutes, but I’m very careful handling it because it’s really hot! It may be moist the first time you heat it in the microwave.  This will gradually go away after several uses.


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