Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DIY Sewn Handwarmers - Tutorial

I, like many people right now probably, have been suffering from cold hands!! It's cold out there you guys!! Now, we may not be getting snow here in Texas, but being in the low 30s is still pretty darn cold for me, especially when I'm wearing my 4 layers on a regular basis....

Anywho, I decided I wanted to try and make my own little handwarmersjust like this fine lady over here that made handwarmers look like owls, NatashaGoes, only I wanted to make some of my own as a basic first try in squares.

Difficulty level: Beginner + 1 (Basic sewing machine skills needed)
Time needed: ~ 30 minutes or less (based on skill/experience) 
Supplies needed: fabric - enough for 4 5"x5" squares, matching thread, sewing machine, pins, scissors, rice, funnel, measuring cup/spoon, template and/or ruler 

I chose fleece I had in my fabric drawers in a white and lavender purple:

The yellow square is a piece of cardstock I have from a pack that measures about 4.25" x 5" that I used for a basic template:

Next, I pinned a purple and white together, right sides together:

Then under the needle we go! I used just a basic straight stitch at medium tension and length; these won't be something to wear nor fiercely handled. Note that I have not started at an edge nor in the middle, but closer to one side right past the middle. This is so once I get back around to this side on the other corner, I can stop sewing to leave a gap:

See the gap? I've stuck my seam ripper in there so you guys can see it properly:

Here we have both pairs of pieces sewn together: 

And now we flip them inside out. Through the gap you left earlier, push through a corner from the bottom and carefully pull the entire thing in on itself. Be careful not to rip the seams you made by sewing the pieces together in the first place:

The last bit of edges can be pushed out by sticking your finger in and poking in the corners. If you can't get your finger in there, use a small stick like a chopstick, pen, pencil, etc:

Once you do this to both, they should look about like this:

Next you need to gather your rice, funnel and measuring cup/spoon: 

For these small warmers, I only needed about 1/4cup of rice:

Funnel goes in the hole in your warmers, and the rice in the funnel:

You don't want to fill the whole bag to bursting at the seams, but you'll want to make sure it's mostly full:

Last step! All you have to do now is fold the edges under to match the seams you sewed previously and go under the sewing machine!!

Real quick note; make sure you put your foot down. I was so excited to get these done and distracted by the fabric being so darn thick in there, that I couldn't figure out why the heck it kept getting stuck!! Then I realized, when I reached back there to lift the foot up and get it all out to investigate.....the foot was never put down in the first place on this step!! Funny thing is, I did it right on the first one, this just happened on the second one:

Oh well, at least it's an easy fix!! Just open the door, get the bobbin out, and cut all those strings.

Well, there you have it!! you now have 2 awesomely soft handwarmers!! You can see where that external stitch shut was, but it's no biggie. This is about how professional cornhole bags look anyways:

I nuked one in the microwave for about 30 seconds and when I opened the microwave door, I could almost smell the burnt/cooked rice. Hmmm...... I took it out and it almost felt wet, like there was steam making the outside wet? Also, it didn't stay warm longer than about 20 or so minutes. 

I guess it's back to the drawing board? That is, unless I only need these guys to stay warm for about 20 minutes, which isn't that big a deal, but I want to try other fabrics as well as other sizes. I want to make one to put around your neck and see how well that works out. That and I want to try out making one cold and see how long it stays that way!

One thing's for sure, I had fun making these as they're very simple, and worst case scenario? I can make 2 more and now it's a set of cornhole bags for a kid's hands! :)

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