Bags of Warmth

Categories: Sewing.

The January thaw is over and the temperatures are falling, falling, falling.   This kind of weather just makes you want to get cozy with a shawl or an afghan and a little added warmth.  I’ve been making these rice bags or stress bags for a few years now.  In fact one year I think everyone on my Christmas list got at least one of some shape or other.  Now you can go out and buy these items but I’m the sort of person that will look at an idea and think to myself “I can make that for less money.”


All you need are some pieces of material, some rice and a few minutes at the sewing machine.

To make the bottom bag you need a piece of fabric about 35 cm. long (about 14 inches) and about 15 cm. wide (6 inches). The best types of fabric are cotton or towelling. Fold material in half (right sides together) and stitch around the edges leaving the end open. Turn inside out. Fold the top edges in about 1 cm. (half inch) in and stitch down the middle of the bag. This will give you two long tunnels. Fill each tunnel with rice (not the quick cook type). Stitch the end closed.

Warm by placing in microwave for 1 or 2 minutes. Check as temperature depends on your microwave.

The top rice bag fits around the neck and rests on the shoulders  I’m showing it separately with a rough pattern outline which was cut on the fold.

stressbag01   stressbagpattern

The pattern is like a large letter C. It measures about 37 cm. long (15 inches ) but has the extra ends that will sit on your shoulders. At the widest part it is about 20 cm. in width ( 8 inches). Put right sides of fabric together and stitch around the edge, leaving a small opening to enable you to turn the bag right side out.  Follow directions above for warming.  It fits nicely around your neck and you can feel the nice soothing warmth immediately.

heat packs filled with rice, warm in the microwave

These bags can be heated over and over again. When you decide to replace the rice, all you need to do is open up one of the ends, pour out the old rice into the composter and refill with fresh rice.  These rectangular ones are great for tucking behind your back.  You can even warm them up and pop them into your bed and your feet will be toasty warm.

The shape and size of the bag is only limited by your own imagination. There are small round or rectangular ones to tuck inside your mittens. Or how about a fun shape, like a fish or a bear for a young child to take to bed.

Stay warm as the winter chill sets back in.

I’m sharing with Sew Cute TuesdaysFO Friday and  Fibre Arts Friday