Monday, August 11, 2008

Furry Critter Heating Pads niece is a veterinary technician at a clinic. She asked me about making some microwaveable heating pads for them to use with the dogs and cats. So I scrounged through my fabric scraps and came up with some assorted sized heating pads. I used some flannel fabric that I had, and filled the bags with wheat berries. I thought maybe someone else might want to make some of these and maybe donate to your local vet clinic so I decided to come up with a simple tutorial on making these.
First of all, get yourself some sturdy material - I decided on flannel, and I have some odds and ends here to use. Decide on a size and add about an inch to your measurement for a seam allowance. Here is my fabric, cut in a 15 inch square - I cut on a fold on one side, you could use two separate pieces also.
Put the right sides together and stitch three sides of your heating pad, leaving one end open. If you cut on the fold, you'll only have to stitch up two sides. Here is what you'll have so far: Turn right side out and press. Then you will want to take the open end, fold over the edge approximately 1/2 inch and press to the inside. You don't want to forget this part! Next we're going to sew 'channels' on this so that the wheat berries will stay distributed across the pad somewhat, instead of being one large lump in the corner. Lay the pad flat and measure where you want your channels to be - I went with 2 inches on this - as it was 14 inches wide it worked out well. I pinned the open end, placing each pin at the 2 inch interval. I also placed a pin at the opposite end at two inch intervals so that I could keep track of where I wanted to sew. You can mark this however you want - chalk, pins or some other removable method since it's on the right side of the fabric. I just love my little pincushion - it's an emery cushion, from Dottyral on Etsy. It gets a workout!
Now you're going to sew from one end to the other, using the pins as a guide, or whatever other method you used to mark your fabric with. It's not that hard to keep the lines relatively straight once you get started. And anyhow, it doesn't have to be perfect - it will still work if it's a bit crooked! And here it is, ready to fill - see why you wanted to press in that edge now? It's all ready to stitch up as soon as you get it filled.

Now get out your wheat berries, or can use either, and your funnel(makes way less of a mess) and carefully fill each section about 2/3 full. You can lay it down and distribute the berries to see how full it is and adjust accordingly, just be careful not to spill everything out! Now all that's left to do is to stitch up the end, just be careful not to spill out the contents - make sure you are stitching both sides. I always backstitch beginning and end to make sure it is secure. And here is your finished heating pad - along with my quality control officer Icarus, checking to make sure it's acceptable :)