Ever since I realized how easy it is, I’ve become slightly obsessed with applique. I am now hunting all over the house for things to put adorable shapes on.
When Lila came home from her sewing class proudly clutching a heat bag, I was inspired. Heat bags can be cute! There’s an untapped applique gold mine here!
And as my 8-year-old detailed how she made her rice-filled heat bag, I sifted through my stash of fabrics. I settled on two from my Cotton + Steel fat quarter stash:
I haven’t come across one of their fabrics that I don’t love. (I buy a lot of my fabrics here)
2 fat quarters of coordinating fabric
Scraps of white and blue fabric (for the fox’s eyes, nose and white points)
Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutting machine
Sizzix Fox Bigz Die
HeatBond Lite – approximately 10″x10″ piece
Rice – I bought the large bag at the grocery store for approximately $9. About 8-10 cups per heat bag.
Sewing machine and thread, etc.
I cut the birds and fox fabric into a 12″ by 22″ rectangle. This would be the “body” of my rice bag. Before I sewed its sides, I had to applique the fox onto the right side of the fabric.
I used Heat Bond Lite as my iron-on fusible medium. You buy it by the meter at the fabric store, and it’s not so thick that your needle gets gummed up with adhesive.
You start by putting it paper-side up on the wrong side of the fabric. From there, you very quickly pass the iron over the Heat Bond – spending only about 2-3 seconds on each part of it. Then, you very carefully peel back the paper side to reveal the adhesive transferred to the fabric.
The adhesive will have a slightly milky sheen to it.
I attached the Heat and Bond to the navy and white pieces of scrap fabrics as well.
I put the red fabric in a “sandwich” with the Fox Bigz die and two cutting pads. The Sizzix machine cut out the shapes needed to make up the fox’s body.
The smaller details – such as the eyes and white points – were also cut out using the die.
Please ignore the yellow paint on my craft table. I know it looks like the fox has peed everywhere.
I mocked up the fox on the table and then proceeded to iron him down onto the right side of the fabric. I folded the fabric over (hot dog style) so that I could place the fox in a space that would make sense when it was sewed into a heat bag. I started with the red base – passing the iron over him for approximately 10 seconds, and then layered on the details.
Here he is without any stitching! Already adorable – however, not permanently attached.
I used a blanket stitch on my sewing machine to secure the fox to the fabric. I worked quite slowly around the shape, and whenever I had to turn a corner, I left the needle down in the fabric and pivoted around it. It helped to keep the stitches close to the fabric.
I used white thread to sew a straight stitch over the white points on the fox’s face. I used a navy blue thread to secure the nose and eyes to the fox.
After the fox was appliqued, I turned the fabric right side in, and then did a zig-zag stitch around its perimeter, leaving a 3 inch opening at one end. You want to be sure that you use a pretty skookum stitch, as the rice does put a lot of pressure on the seams.
I then turned the bag right side out through the hole and filled the bag 3/4 full with rice. I sewed up the end with a decorative stitch and voila! My rice bag was done!
We’ve all used this bag – whether it’s for a sore neck (Mr. Suburble) or because a warm bed puts you to sleep (the girls) – and it’s become a fixture in our nighttime routines.
For an adult – two minutes in the microwave create a toasty bag. For our girls, we nuke it for about a minute and a half.
This project is a great little gift that kids can help out with – think for mom, dad, grandparents, etc. And with an applique, it’s elevated to a whole new level!