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Knowing how to sew is a really useful skill. Usually when we think of life skills we want our kids to know before they are adults we think of things like cooking, cleaning, driving safely, and budgeting. I think everyone should add basic sewing skills too!
Making cold/hot packs is a great beginning sewing project. It is a perfect way to introduce kids to sewing. They only need to sew three straight lines and they end up with a useful finished project they can be proud of.
We store a few rice packs in the freezer to use as cold packs. They are my favorite ‘ice’ packs for headaches, scrapes, and bruises because they don’t get painfully cold like plastic bags of ice cubes. They also mold around injuries nicely and don’t drip when they defrost.
Rice packs also work well as heat packs. Just heat the rice pack in the microwave for a few minutes until it is to your desired temperature. We usually heat bags for about 3 minutes. It is really nice to slip these warmed rice packs into bed on cold nights.
Easy Beginning Sewing Project
- Fabric – You do not need much fabric. We used fabric scraps left from previous sewing projects. Be sure not to choose a fabric with any metallic thread if you intend to heat the packs.
- Sewing machine – Be sure to remind kids to keep their fingers away from the needle.
- Uncooked dry rice
- Scented herbal tea bags – We used Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea bags because they have a light pleasant scent that is not overwhelming.
Gather all of the materials needed.
Cut the fabric to your desired size. There is no one correct size, so choose what seems best for your needs. We cut around a student size white board so we ended up with 8×11 rectangles.
Fold the fabric in half – edges together, ‘nice’ side facing in. Pin along two edges.
Sew the two pinned sides of the fabric, creating a pouch. Be sure to leave one edge open so you have a way to add the rice.
Turn the pack inside-out so the ‘nice’ side of the fabric is showing.
Add uncooked rice to the pack. The amount of rice will vary depending on the size of the ice pack you are creating, but generally you will want to fill the pouch about 3/4 of the way full.
Cut open a few tea bags and pour the tea leaves in with the rice.
Fold the remaining rough edges together and sew the pouch shut. This part can be a little tricky because the rice sometimes falls out of the bag while you are trying to sew. This was the only step of the project that I completed for my kids.
Check to make sure all of the edges are completely sewn shut so the rice stays inside. If there are any holes, just stitch over them again.
- Turn off the sewing machine any time you are not actively sewing. We needed to rethread our machines a few times and turning off the machine prevents run-ins with a sewing needle (ouch!).
- Let go of the idea of perfection. Seams might not be straight, but that is okay. Sewing is like baking. Everything is made with love.
Being able to sew means that you can use your creativity to make a limitless number of items – curtains, clothing, pillows, gifts, etc. You can have custom-made items that are EXACTLY what you want. It will also save money because you can reuse old fabric. I once spent $11 on a clearance tablecloth at Target. I used it as a tablecloth a few times, then made curtains out of it. After I grew tired of the fabric as curtains, I repurposed the fabric into new chair cushions!
Do you sew? What is your favorite sewing project?
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