New Pattern Release: Kitty Cat Heat Bag

I have a New Pattern to share with you!  My Kitty Cat Heat Bag!  As you may have seen on my last post I have just released this cute new heat bag pattern.  I LOVE this heat bag.  I love cats and so I thought a sleeping cat lying across your lap would be just ‘purrrfect’ for a heat bag!  My kids loved it too and so now they each have a Kitty Cat Heat bag of their own.

KittyCatHeatBagAd

You can find this Kitty Cat Heat bag pattern as an online PDF pattern in my Craftsy and Etsy stores.  It’s an easy pattern to make up and suitable for beginners too.  There are lots of pictures to show you each step of the way.  I have made this heat bag using a Cotton Drill fabric and you could also use an upholstery weight cotton or a double layer of quilting cotton too.  Please DO NOT use polyester or synthetic fabrics as they may melt when heated.

I also did NOT use any fusible webbing or glue when I applique the face shape onto the body.  I simply pinned it and sewing it around the edge and then embroidered through the two layers of fabric to help attach the face to the body.  Fusible webbing or glue may also melt when heated which is why I did not use them.

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I hope you love my Kitty Cat Heat Bag as much as we do!

Enjoy and Happy Sewing!

 

 

 

 

Free Tutorial: Heat Bags

Here it is!  My Heat Bag Tutorial.   And just in time for Winter too (well here in Australia it is!)

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You can make this heat bag to ease aching muscles or to keep your feet warm and cosy!  Make one or two for yourself or make one as a gift for a friend.  I love heat bags and use them regularly.  You can find more information on heat bags on my post HERE.

You can also use heat bags as cold packs too!  Just pop them into the freezer and take them out when you need to cool down in summer!

I recommend using Cotton Drill fabric to make these heat bags.  It’s 100 percent Cotton and thicker than quilting cotton so I think it makes it ideal for using on a heat bag.  You could also use an upholstery weight cotton fabric or a double thickness of quilting cotton fabric.  I DO NOT recommend using synthetic or polyester fabrics as they may melt when heated in a microwave.

Use a small stitch on your machine (I used 1 ½” on mine) so that the wheat is secured inside and doesn’t pop out of the seams.  Use ¼” seams when sewing all the pieces together.

These instructions make one heat bag approx. 7” wide by 15 ½” long.  I find that size ideal as it can lie across your lap or across both your feet.  It is also a nice size to go across the bottom of your back, or you can also drape it over a shoulder or around your neck.

Materials:

Cotton Drill fabric

Approx. 1 . 3kgs Wheat (uncooked – raw wheat) or Rice (you could also use another natural filling like barley but please don’t use plastic pellets or polyester fibrefill)

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Cutting:   Cut one piece of your main Cotton Drill (pink fabric in this tutorial) 7 ½” x 16” (this will be the back piece of the heat bag)

Cut two pieces of main Cotton Drill (pink fabric) 2 ¾” x 16”

Cut one piece of co-ordinating/pattern fabric (tape measure fabric) 3” x 16”

You should now have the four pieces like in the photo on the left.

 

 


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Construction: Line up one pink strip with the centre piece (measuring tape fabric) right sides together and pin along the long side (matching the raw edges).  Sew it together.

Now do the same with the other pink strip and attach it to the other side of the centre piece.

 

You should now have the front piece completed like in the photo above.  Iron this flat – pressing the seams to one side.

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Now place this on top of your back piece, right sides together.  Match up all the raw edges and pin all the way around.  Sew all the way around leaving a 2” gap in the middle of one short side.  This will be you turning gap and also where you will fill the heat bag.

Trim corners.

 

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Turn the heat bag the right side out through the gap.

Push the corners and seams out and then iron flat.  Turn in your ¼” seam allowance on your turning gap and press flat.

 

 

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Now fill the heat bag with wheat.  Hold a funnel into the opening of the heat bag and spoon the wheat in.  (If you don’t have small funnel – simply make a paper funnel by rolling up some paper and sticking it together) It takes approx. 1 . 3kgs of wheat to fill it to just over half to about 2/3rds full.  You don’t want to fill it much more as you need to be able to move the wheat around to distribute the heat evenly when you heat it up.

 

Hand sew the gap closed using small stitches.  You may want to go over this gap twice just to make sure it is secure and no wheat can escape.

You’ve finished!  To use it – simply place it in the microwave and heat it for 1 to 2 minutes.  You may also like to place ½ a glass of water with it in the microwave when heating to stop the wheat from drying out too much.

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You can find the labels here on my blog under Free Sewing Tutorials.

Simply print off the label for the filling you have used in your heat bag.  There are 4 of the same labels on a page.  I have labels for Wheat, Rice, Barley or Beans or a blank one that you can write what filling you have used.  You could print them off on some nice paper or light cardboard if you like and use a hole punch to put a hole in the top and tie it on with some ribbon or ric rac.  This then makes a nice gift for someone, plus gives them instructions on how to use it.

Enjoy!

 

KittyCatHeatBagAd

If you enjoyed making this why don’t you make up my Kitty Cat Heat Bag too!  This is a brand new pattern I have just released!  You can find the pattern in my Craftsy Shop here: http://www.craftsy.com/user/1707335/pattern-store

 

Happy Sewing!

 

 

Sneak Peak – new pattern coming soon!

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Well – it’s been a very busy week for me this week!  I’ve been busy writing up a new free tutorial and also writing the instructions for a NEW pattern!  I get so focused during this time and find all I think about – day and night – is the design I’m working on.

So today I had a much needed break and the kids and I went down to Paynesville.  They took their scooters and we grabbed some fish & chips and jumped on the Ferry over to Raymond Island.  It was a great!  Just what I needed!

Here’s a little sneak peek of my new pattern for you.

I’ll be releasing it in the next couple of days so come back soon to see!

Happy Sewing!

SneakPeek

 

 

Feature: Awesome Designers

My Awesome Designer for this feature is Natalie Lymer from Cinderberry Stitches

Natalie designs the cutest stitchery patterns, quilts, bags and also designs fabric too!  I’m a big fan of Natalie’s fabrics and have used them a lot when making toys, bags, quilts and kids clothes.

Here are some of my creations I’ve made using Natalie’s Fabric range – Woodland.  The most recent was the quilt I made for my daughter which you can read more about HERE and HERE.

Samanthas Jacket
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Kinder Girl
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I love her stitcheries too – and I am currently stitching a gorgeous Fox stitchery called Dream with Me in her Red Fox range.  Her patterns are nice and easy to follow and her paper patterns come with an iron on transfer for the embroidery design.  This makes is so much easier and quicker too – so you can get onto the fun part – the stitching!

 

 

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I made this cute fairies stitchery a few years ago for my daughter and I still love looking at it when I walk into her room.  Aren’t those fairies so adorable!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Natalie at a stitching retreat last year and she is such a lovely, fun and happy person.  She shared some great stitching tips and techniques with us too.


 

 

 

 

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She also has cute postcard patterns that I think are great stitcheries for beginners and my daughter is currently stitching Red Fawn from this range.

 

 

 

 

 

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Natalie has a new fabric range with Riley Blake Designs called Butterfly Dance that is due to arrive in stores in July/August this year.  It looks so gorgeous!

I think I’ll definitely have to get some of this range!

Make sure you pop over and visit Natalie’s website Cinderberry Stitches or check out her Facebook page!

Happy Sewing!

Heat Bags

This post will give you some information on Heat Bags and how to use them safely.  I am currently designing some heat bags and I will be releasing the tutorial and pattern shortly.  I personally use heat bags regularly so I can tell you from experience how I use them.

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I use heat bags when I have aching muscles (which I often get in my legs) or back pain.  The heat seems to ease this aching feeling or eases the pain of a sore back and can also help with a sore neck or shoulders too.  My kids also love using heat bags – and they like one if they are feeling unwell – it seem to give them a little comfort – like a nice big warm hug!  They also love to take a heat bag to bed with them to put at their feet – as it helps take the chill off the sheets in winter and keeps their feet nice and warm.  I also get cold feet in winter – so I also take mine to bed to warm up my feet too.

 

I heat my heat bags up in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes ONLY.

For the kids I ONLY EVER heat the heat bags for 1 MINUTE.

My microwave is 1100 watts and I find heating them up for any longer than this makes them too hot.  As kids have more sensitive skin I make sure that I am only heating their heat bags up for 1 minute and I test them – by holding them against my arm for about 10 seconds, to make sure they are not too hot.

It is important when making Heat Bags to only use natural fibre fabrics.  Do NOT use a polyester or synthetic fabric as it may melt when heated in the microwave.  I recommend using 100% Cotton Fabrics.  My preference is to use a Cotton Drill fabric as it is a nice thick 100% Cotton Fabric.  You could also use an upholstery weight Cotton fabric or a double layer of quilting cotton too.

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Make sure you also fill Heat Bags with a natural filling.  Do NOT use plastic fillings or fill with polyester fibre fill.  When filling Heat Bags only fill them up just over half way to two thirds full.  This allows you to move the filling around inside to help distribute the heat evenly once heated.

These natural fillings can be several things – most Heat Bags are filled with Wheat or Rice but some are also filled with Barley, Beans, Corn or oatmeal.  These are all raw uncooked dry fillings.  I decided to test out a few of these natural filling options to see how they compared to one to each other.

I made up some small sample heat bags (5″ x 5″) in a cotton drill fabric.  I then filled them with Mung Beans (rainbow bag), Barley (Yellow bag), Rice (Pink Bag) and Whole Wheat (Blue Bag).  I then placed all four in the microwave at once for 1 minute.  The warmest to touch immediately was the pink Rice bag.  Then the Wheat and Barely were about the same, and the Mung Bean was the coolest.  The Pink Rice bag cooled down on the surface the quickest – so you just needed to move the filling around to get the warmer parts.  After 10 minutes the Pink Rice bag was still a little warm and the Blue Wheat bag and Yellow Barley bag were much cooler but still had some heat.  Surprisingly the Rainbow Mung Bean Bag was the warmest.

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When looking at costs, Wheat and Rice are the most economical fillings.  Rice is widely available in Supermarkets too – so it makes it easy to get hold of.  I was able to buy the Whole Wheat from a health food shop – Bairnsdale Wholefoods (where I also got the Barley & Mung Beans too) it was $2:10 a kg.  Rice I purchased from the supermarket for $1.75 a Kg.

I then filled two large Heat Bags – one with Wheat and one with Rice.  I then heated them for 1 minute each and placed them on my legs.  Initially the Rice filling was hotter, but cooled off around the edges quicker – and I had to move the filling around to get the to the hotter parts more often.  They both held their heat fairly well – at least 10 minutes.  I preferred the feel of the Wheat but thought they both worked quite well.  So I would recommend Wheat as a filling as my first preference and then Rice based of this testing and when taking cost into account too.

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Also for safety reasons you should NEVER heat up a heat bag for any longer than 3 minutes.  This is very important as Wheat or Barley can be combustible and I know there have been reports of them igniting when left heating in the microwave for too long.  You can read more about that HERE in a report by the NSW government Fire & Rescue.

I would also suggest adding a glass 1/2 filled with water to the microwave when heating up these heat packs filled with Wheat or Barley.  This prevents the filling from drying out too much (thus making it combustible).

Make sure your heat bags have cooled down completely before reheating them (to prevent overheating) and regularly check them for wear and tear.

For Safety reasons please do NOT use heat bags in babies cots or for children under 3 years old.

Heat bags are great - I love them – but please use them safely.

(The information in the post is based on my personal opinion and experience only)

Thankyou! and an update..

Thankyou everyone for you lovely comments on my Giveaway Day: Sew Mama Sew blog post!  I love getting feedback on my designs and it was so nice to get some lovely feedback in your comments.  Thankyou too for letting me know what your favourite animals are and what animals you would love to see as softie toys.  I have some wonderful ideas now and some new inspiration for softie toy designs!  Thankyou also to my new newsletter subscribers, Facebook, Craftsy, Etsy and blog followers.  I hope you enjoy getting updates from me on what I’ve been up to and what designs and patterns I am releasing.

Thankyou to those of you who took my survey HERE on what Free Tutorial/Pattern I should release next.  The most popular choice was the Heat Bag.  So I have been finishing off writing the tutorial and taking pictures and will be releasing this in the next few days.   Here’s a little sneak peak for you!

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Come back on Sunday to see who the winner of the my Giveaway for Sew Mama Sew will be!

Happy Sewing!

 

 

 

Giveaway Day: Sew Mama Sew

MayGiveawayDay

This Giveaway is now CLOSED.  I’m participating in Giveaway Day over at Sew Mama Sew today!  Let me know what your favourite animal is (one that you’d like to see as a softie toy) for the chance to win Your Choice of one of my PDF Sewing Patterns.  Just leave me a comment telling me your favourite animal and I will choose a winner at random on May 18th.  I will then email the winner the PDF sewing pattern of their choice!  It’s as simple as that!  Here are my selection of PDF sewing patterns you can choose from:

 

Drafty the Door Sausage Dog
Drafty the Door Sausage Dog
Don't Worry Doll
Don’t Worry Doll
Marina the Mermaid
Marina the Mermaid
Santa's Little Helpers
Santa’s Little Helpers
Tiger the Door Sausage Cat
Tiger the Door Sausage Cat

 

 

Make sure you visit Sew Mama Sew to enter more giveaways!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Sewing!

 

What Free Tutorial/Pattern would you like next?

I need your help!  I’m trying to decide what Free Tutorial or Pattern to release next.  I have a few that need instructions written or photos taken and I’m trying to decide which one to finish and release next.  So could you please help me decide by taking this quick survey below.

 

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Thankyou!

Happy Sewing!