Winter Warmers

Sarah and I had a Mother/Daughter sewing session this afternoon and made up some Heat Packs. Now we are finally getting some winter weather, these will be put to good use soon. It is a great project for beginner sewers as they are quick to whip up. We used left over fabric from our flannel pajamas as the flannel will make an extra cosy heat bag. We made up a few extra ones for gifts.

They are basically just two rectangles of fabric sewn together. This is how we made them if you would like the specifics:

Materials (per bag):

Cotton fabric, 2 pieces each measuring 28 cm x 15 cm (10 1/2 ” x 5 1/2 “)
Co-ordinating ribbon or trim, 1 piece measuring 5 cm length (2 “)
Wheat, 500 g
Dried lavender, 2 tablespoons
Matching thread

Sewing machine
Hand sewing needle
  •  Fold the piece of ribbon in half and position it 5 cm from the corner on one of the long sides of quilting cotton, and baste in place. Place the two rectangles of quilting cotton with the right sides together. Stitch around the rectangle using a 1 cm seam allowance, leaving a 5 cm gap on one of the short sides. Clip the corners of the bag. Turn the bag right side out. Use a chopstick or turning tool to poke out the corners. Press the bag.

  • Use a funnel to fill the bag with 500 g wheat, and 2 tablespoons of dried lavender. Use a ladder stitch to hand stitch the opening closed.
  • If giving as a gift, be sure to include the heating instructions:

Lavender Wheat Bag
Use to warm up your bed or soothe aching muscles
Instructions: Heat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave with a small
                                glass of water to prevent the wheat from drying out. 
The ones we were giving as gifts, were tied with ribbon and an instruction label. We used ribbon and twine from Ribbons Galore


Filler Options: 

I have made these with both wheat (available from pet food aisle of the supermarket – readily available in Australia) and uncooked long grain rice. You can also use lupins, barley, buckwheat hulls.


I added lavender for a nice fragrance. You could also add some essential oils, or spices such as cinnamon or cloves. 

Safety Caution:

Do not leave the bag unattended while heating in the microwave. As a precaution, you can set a cup of water inside the microwave while heating the bag to add moisture or spritz bag lightly with water before heating. Always check how hot the bag is before using it to avoid burns.

The little ribbon tag is purely for decoration.
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  1. says

    Oh yay, i just bought 20kg of wheat on Friday to make wheat bags too!! I live for them, they are life savers for aches & pains, not to mention chilly Winter nights. Your work is gorgeous, love Posie

  2. says

    You always make the simplest things looks wonderful, you are such a clever tandem!I love the fabric bien sur…I think I must search for it and I need soft warm PJ’s too now that I think about it:)
    Bon weekend Ladies!

  3. says

    I love Mother/Daughter stitching seasons. My DD and I had a wonderful retreat together last special.

    What a lovely present.

  4. says

    oh wow i swear you can read my mind, i was just thinking trying to make some of these the other day, so thankyou very much for you tutorial, ps yours look fab so i hope mine comes out just as great x

  5. says

    Those are just beautiful. I love the fabrics that you used. I bought one of these packs over 5 years ago (but I think mine has rice and lavender) and it still works wonderfully. Thanks for the instructions too.

  6. says

    These are so fabulous! I especially love that Paris print, combined with the red and white polka dots. What a fun project. I would love to try this, so thank you for sharing.

  7. says

    They are gorgeous! My mother and I have a sewing day evey Friday, i so look forward to it. It’s lovely to share a craft with someone you love.

  8. says

    these are so gorgeous and such a great idea, my poor old wheat bag has seen better days, I was reading through thinking I must ask Lisa a silly question…where DO you buy wheat? then you told us, great to get all the extra tips thank you soooo much these I WILL be making xx

  9. says

    I love these. Gosh you ladies really know how to inspire people. Just wondering where do you get your wheat from? I know I can buy a bag from the stock feed place – but what are the chances that it would contain weevils????? I am planning on making 17 of these to put into my next Scrapbooking weekend retreat goody bags.

    Cheers Kel

    • Jo says

      These can be used as cold or hot packs. I store mine in the freezer and then when I need a hot pack, just pop it into the microwave to heat. Feels wonderful at the foot of the bed on a cold winter night!

  10. says

    @Pretty baby Accessories: I used ours for years as a cold pack too, just spritz it with a mist of water, toss in my fridge…

    I am wondering if you can use rice instead of wheat?

  11. Anonymous says

    i also make these and i use rice and soy fragrance beads in these. lemon, cinnamom and vanilla beads work the best. it covers up the hot rice smell when you heat the bags and leaves a very nice aroma.

  12. Anonymous says

    Warning! You may be able to use buckwheat as filling, but don’t use buckwheat hulls as they will burn very quickly when microwaved – just giving you the benefit of my experience :\

  13. Anonymous says

    I’ve been making these for years with either rice or chicken feed inside and I store them in the freezer for cold packs – wonderful for headaches. And I heat them in the microwave for heat packs. Now I must add the lavender or other herb for the good aromatherapy!

  14. AdoAnnie says

    Ok, I’m not clear on what is meant by ‘wheat.’ I don’t think you mean flour. Is this cracked wheat? I would really like to make some of these for gifts, but I want to make sure I am using the correct filler.

    @petit – I think the little tab of ribbon must be for pulling the bag out of the microwave if the filler is a little too hot.

  15. says

    Wheat is available in the pet food aisle in Australian supermarkets? Seriously?? I was going to make some of these for last Christmas but couldn’t figure out where to buy the wheat and now I find out I can probably get it from the supermarket?! I’m so excited now!!!

  16. debbie w says

    i made these a few years ago and i filled them with oats,the kind you feed farm animals,i bought a huge bag of oats for under 15$ at the local co op store(or wherever you buy animal feed)and it worked great!

  17. nuttynut says

    I checked our Coles for wheat, they don’t exist! I finally found them in pet barn shop…just wondering where I could get dried lavender from? How long will they last in the bag though?

  18. Anonymous says

    Couldn’t find them in supermarkets, ended up finding them @ pet barn store, making my 4th one now 🙂

  19. Anonymous says

    Well, since I don’t live in Australia anymore, would like to know where in the U.S. I can purchase the wheat or buckwheat, I currently make my pad with rice and put in a old sock these are nice because they mold very nicely to the spot where you have aches and pains, someone told me that I could purchase buckwheat in a pet store like petsmart but have not seen wheat sold anywhere

  20. says

    I Make these all the time and I have tried all the mediums for fillers that are safe for microwave and I have found that using field corn….the kind they use to feed farm animals the best for holding heat the longest and the thing is also completely washable in your machine..The corn says washed on the bag so make sure you get it washed…some is not washed and contains grit and dirt…….Corn can be purchased at some walmarts and all farm and tractor supply companies and TSC(Tractor Supply Company) a 50 Pound bag is under 10 bucks and makes about 30 Bags depending on size ….I Make them in 3 sizes…one for knees/Feet is 5X5 one for Neck and shoulders is 6X9 and anywhere on your back Back is 8 X 10 or 11…Hope you find this info useful
    Pam in Mich

    • Michelle S. says

      I was wondering if you could give washing & drying instructions, as you stated they are completely washable, which would be wonderful for long term use.

  21. Anonymous says

    I have made these in the past using rice and lavendar-scented oil. I made them using muslin as the bag with channels sewn in so the rice stayed somewhat in a moldable place. Then I made a bag like the flannel or some other soft material with a velcro closure at the top, in which to put the muslin bag. That way, you can heat the bag and put it inside the other so you don’t burn yourself. And the outside bag is washable.

    • Lisa P. says

      Good point! It DOES get dirty over time!!! :S Perhaps, you need to adjust the time in the microwave oven due to 2 layers of fabric, would you?

  22. Vivian says

    I have used both rice and cracked corn. Never thought of adding lavendar or a fragrance.
    I do make mine out of muslin then make a flannel cover that can be removed and washed as needed!

  23. says

    I have made these using a combination of rice and flax seed, the flax seed has natural pain relievers that release when heated. I make smaller bags for the eyes and use 100% flaxseed with lavender and store them in the freezer. They are a very nice treat for tired eyes or headache relief.

  24. Anonymous says

    These are also marvelous if you make them longer and narrower to put in the window of your car. It makes the care smell so good as it sets in the sun and if you are shopping on a cold day it feels so good to put on your lap as you travel (especially if you are shopping and get in and out of the car several times. Lovely idea! Thanks.

  25. Anonymous says

    Thank you for this lovely post; my family will be getting one this Christmas, including my own. Just made my first one; so toasty warm. What a comfort item.

  26. says

    Rice and I think pearl barley mixed together make a nice bag that doesn’t heat too hot but holds the heat longer too. I like rice and barley better than wheat because you don’t really need to worry about them drying out.

  27. says

    Yep – another person checking in who makes these. 🙂 I use flax seed; never tried the wheat idea. I also, like a couple of folks I’ve read here, like to make an inside bag for the seed and an outer one that can be removed and washed.

  28. says

    Great to see the tip about using a glass/cup of water in the microwave when heating your ‘x’ bag. Many years ago I was told to do this by a technician AFTER I wrecked the magnetron and hence my microwave- expensive lesson!!

  29. says

    Your blog is the bomb!! This has totally inspired me to whip out my Aunt’s old Singer from the attic and make some awesome things. Loving the flannel and choice of fabric pattern – you make everything so simple and doable. This is so nice to see instead of overly complicated designs for people like myself!!

  30. Lisa P. says

    I love making microwave heating pads! Found them so handy for my girls’ colics and even for myself sometimes. I used lentils for filling them though, can I do the same here?

    • A Spoonful of Sugar says

      Thanks Lisa – you can use the filling of your choice. Vary the heating time according to the filling, thickness of fabric etc.

  31. says

    Hi there, I’m a new DIY blogger and just came across this. I’d like to commend you on your eye catching picture and the lovely vibe you give off as mother and daughter. I also want to say that I used to live in Sorrento WA and now Live in the USA. I love your blog so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered that you live in Hillarys. For some reason it made me love your work even more! Keep up the great work and enjoy that beautiful Sorrento beach that I miss so much. Here is the Link to my Blog if you’d like to take a look, all feedback is welcome.

    • A Spoonful of Sugar says

      Hi Kylie – thanks for your lovely message! Sorry for the delay in responding but we have just been on a 3 week vacation to the US 🙂 What a coincidence that you used to live in Sorrento. We certainly are lucky with a beautiful coastline here. Off to check our your site 🙂 Lisa

  32. says

    Hi – I use rice in my packs and use fat quarters to make each. I never add any water to the microwave though. I suppose that would be a way to make a moist pack for pain control….

    • A Spoonful of Sugar says

      Hi Tina – it is important that the rice doesn’t dry out too much causing it to become flammable. A little water is good for safety – it doesn’t become moist as such.

  33. Cathy says

    Love your pattern! I like using whole flaxseed as a filler. It provides a gentle moist heat, but because it produces steam, be very careful of overheating. For a ‘pillow’ of the size of this pattern, check after one minute (in a 1200w microwave). Thank you again!

  34. Karen says

    These look great, but I don’t understand centimeters and grams. I only know inches and cups! I rarely use the metric system.

    • A Spoonful of Sugar says

      Hi Karen – We are in Australia and only use Metric here. These can be made in any size you like and then fill with as much filling as you prefer. I have a variety of sizes on hand, the ones in this post are merely a guide.

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