Rice bags can be made from novelty or decorative fabrics of from muslin and a cover. What size should a rice bag be? Well, that depends on what it will be used for.
Possible uses are as:
warmer for knees, ankles, backs and hands
bread basket warmer to keep food warm or cool
To wrap a joint or arms or legs, try the dimensions 5 x 30. For a back warmer, make the dimension 10 x 12. If the recipient would use the rice bag for a back warmer, consider making a vest with a big pocket on the back to insert the rice bag in.
Want to make a gift for someone with arthritis in the hands? Make the rice bag in the shape of a glove.
For a bed warmer or a lovie on those cold winter nights, make the rice bag in the shape of an animal.
For a bread or bun warmer, make a basket liner with a pocket in the bottom in which to insert a rice bag shaped to fit the basket bottom.
Rice bags cannot be washed. If you need a washable bag, make the rice bag out of muslin and then add a removable (washable) cover. This a good way to use fun, novelty prints. Or better yet, make a quilted cover using a pattern such as bargello.
Things To Know When Planning Your Rice Bag
Use white, long grain rice. Do not use instant rice.
Do not wash rice bags.
To help the rice stay evenly spread, sew channels in the bag before inserting the rice. Sew three sides, press a hem on the open side, then sew channels from the sewn side to the open side. Add the rice using a funnel (don't overstuff the channels...fill one-half to three-quarters full) and sew shut across the open end.
Hot or Cold
When you are ready to use your new rice bag, place it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes on high (the time will depend on the size of the bag). Do not heat the rice bag too long-you could burn yourself. If you want a cold pack, place the rice bag in the freezer until cold (a couple of hours).
Note from Candace: Rice doesn't hold the cold very well. For a cold pack, fill the bag with gel crystals from a garden center (the kind used to keep houseplants from drying out). Never heat a gel pack in the microwave.
Contributed by Lisa Holzworth SEW WHAT'S NEW Nov-Dec '98 issue