I’m using 100% cotton fabric for this project. Do not use a synthetic fabric. It’s important that you use high-quality fabrics, as this will be handled frequently and you don’t want rice to leak out. I got these adorable fabrics from the FatQuarterShop.com
. They’re my favorite online fabric shop because they have amazing designer fabrics I can’t find locally.
Usually I’d begin by washing and drying my cotton fabric, but since the finished heat pack won’t be washable, we can skip that step.
Start by printing the free Cozy Kitty Heat Pack pattern (located above the supply box). Choose no margins and no scaling on your printer settings; the pattern will print full-size. Cut out the pattern pieces using paper scissors.
Double the main fabric piece and pin the body piece to it. Cut out with fabric scissors so that you have two body pieces.
Now we’ll cut out the accent pieces. We’re going to simplify the appliqué process by using Heat n’ Bond double-sided. Iron the Heat n’ Bond Double-Sided Iron-On Adhesive to the back of the accent fabric. Trace the appliqué pattern pieces onto the backing. Remember to trace the paw circle twice. Cut out using paper scissors.
Carefully peel the paper backing from the appliqué pieces. The back of the fabric should be shiny and smooth. If it isn’t, replace the paper backing and iron again. Center the appliqué pieces in the appropriate spots, and iron. This will hold your fabric securely while you stitch it in place, and will minimize the risk of fraying. Add the tail piece to the back body piece.
Because I plan to embroider my kitty’s face, I’m going to reinforce the front body piece with medium-weight fusible interfacing. Alternately, you could choose to paint a face using acrylic paint, or draw it using a permanent marker.
I’m using black embroidery floss and a hand sewing needle to create the face. You can look at the paper pattern for reference. To create whiskers, Tie a large knot about 2 inches from the end of your thread. Poke it through the fabric next to the nose, then out of the fabric on the other side of the nose. Then tie a second knot close to the nose to secure. Trim the end of the embroidery floss to about 2 inches. Repeat to add more whiskers.
Now we can move to the sewing machine. You can choose a thread that matches your accent fabric, or one that will contrast with it. Set your machine to a very narrow zig-zag stitch, or a satin stitch. Topstitch around the edge of each of your appliqué pieces. Don’t forget about the tail!
Now we’re ready to put our kitty together. Layer the two body pieces right sides together and pin. Sew with a ¼ inch seam, leaving one of the kitty’s sides open for turning.
Notch the curves and clip the seams as needed, being careful not to clip your stitches. Turn right side out. You may find it helpful to use tweezers on the arms and legs. Press the heat pack, front and back.
Fill with dry rice. (It would have been helpful to use a funnel!) If you’d like, you can add dried lavender for a calming scent. Do not overfill; you should be able to shift the rice around. I used about ¾ a cup of rice.
Fold the raw edges of the hole inward and sew shut with a ⅛ inch seam.
Microwave ovens can vary, so begin by heating for only one minute, and no more than three. Use caution when removing, as the bag may be hot at first. Knead the bag to evenly distribute the heat.
WARNING: Do not use on babies or the elderly; only individuals who are capable of recognizing when the pack is too hot– and who are physically able to remove it– should use a heat pack.
Now that you know how to sew a Cozy Kitty Heat Pack, you can have some fun adapting the pattern to create other critters. It’s easy to make a bunny or bear simply by changing the shape of the ears. Experiment with embroidering different facial expressions.