For those of us whose feet never seem to warm up until the dog days of summer, this project is for you! (Or for a gift for your cold-footed friends!) These easy to sew socks of fleece have a removable muslin insert filled with rice. The whole sock can be microwaved, and the rice will hold the heat for a long time to bring welcome warmth to your lower extremities while you sit and relax. In fact, I am sitting here, my feet basking in the warmth of these creations while I compose this tutorial (who would have believed it is snowing outside today, the 2nd day of March, in Atlanta, Georgia?). The inserts can be removed when laundering the socks.
For this project, you will need:
1/2 yard of fleece fabric for sock
1/4 yard of muslin for insert
approx. 3 cups of uncooked white rice
small scoop or spoon
To begin, cut out the required number of pieces from the fleece and muslin as directed from the attached patterns. I wear a womens' size 9, which is what these patterns are based on. If you copy each of the pattern pieces provided onto an 8-1/2 X 11" sheet of paper, they will be true to size. Note that points A and B of the upper sock and toe patterns need to meet on the dotted lines, as they would not fit on one sheet of paper. You can reduce or enlarge according to the size foot of the wearer by drawing an outline around the proper foot. If you do this, be sure to lengthen or shorten the side of the sock accordingly.
Please note the horizontal lines drawn across the sole insert pattern. You can mark these on your muslin pieces if you like or just use the pattern as a guide for sewing these lines later. Also note the small section to be left open when joining the sole insert pieces.
ALSO NEEDED are two rectangular pieces of fleece measuring 6 X 11" for the cuffs of the socks.
Beginning with the muslin sole insert pieces, place two of the sole pieces right sides together, and, using a 1/4" seam, sew around the edges remembering to leave an opening where marked on the pattern. Backstitch at the beginning and ending of your stitching so that the seam will not come apart when turning and filling with the rice. Repeat the process with the other sole insert, making sure that the two inserts are mirror images (one for each foot). Turn right side out through the opening and lightly press.
As shown in the second photo, stitch horizontal lines on the right side of the insert, beginning on the opposite side of the side with the opening, and stopping stitching about an inch from the opposite side. Now we are ready to fill the inserts with the rice. This is a little time-consuming, but the funnel will help guide the rice into each section of the insert.
Insert the end of the funnel into the opening left on the side of the insert and pour a scoop of rice into the funnel. Gently shake the rice and "guide" it down into the furthest section of the insert until that section is nearly full. Remove the funnel and, making sure there is no rice in the path of your presser foot, stitch the remaining inch or so from the edge, connecting it to the existing stitching line, thereby enclosing the rice in that section. These sections keep the rice evenly distributed within the insert so it doesn't shift from one end of your foot to the other. NOTE: take the time to make sure there is no rice in the needle's way, or you may hear a CRUNCH and possibly break a needle! As I said, this step is a little tedious, but so worth it when you think about how warm your feet will be!! Repeat this process, filling the adjacent section next and stitching that section closed. Next, fill the two sections at the opposite end of the insert, leaving the middle two sections for last.
After you have filled the last section in the middle, turn the raw edges of the opening inside and stitch by machine or hand (see photo). The last photo shows the finished sole insert. Now we are ready to make the actual sock!!
Overlap the toe end of the bottom sole over the heel (larger) end of the bottom sole. Line this overlapped piece up with the upper sole piece and baste around the entire edge, close to the edge. This step is to keep the upper and bottom soles together when sewing to the upper sock.
NOTE: When sewing the remaining seams of this project, a narrow zig zag stitch instead of a straight stitch will ensure that the stitches won't break when stretching the socks when putting them on and taking them off.
Next, as in the next photo, using a 1/4" inch seam, sew the back and front seams of the upper sock. Without turning the upper sock right side out, pin the upper sock to the sole, the overlapped section facing up, as shown in the photo (the end of the ruler is inserted in the overlapped portion). Match the front upper sock seam with the center of the sole toe, and the back upper sock seam with the center of the sole heel. Sew a 1/4" seam, easing in fullness. (See next photo) Repeat for the other sock.
Fold each of the rectangular fleece pieces in half shortways, and using a 1/4" seam, sew, making a tube. as shown in the first photo. Now match the raw edges together, matching seams and marking the point directly opposite the seam (see pins in second photo).
Next, right sides together, pin the cuff to the sock, matching center back seam with the cuff seam, and center front seam with the halfway point of the cuff, as shown in the third photo.
Sew in a 1/4" seam, as shown in fourth photo, stretching fleece and easing in fullness.
We are almost ready to microwave. Your finished sock should look like the one in the photo; notice the split bottom sole. The second photo shows the insert being inserted into the sock between the two sole layers through the overlapped sections of the bottom sole.
When inserts are positioned in the socks, place the socks in the microwave, heat, place on frozen toes and get ready for that pleasant warmth, as if your feet were soaking in the Florida sun, even though it is still winter. My microwave is 1000 watts of power, and I usually cook these for about 2 minutes. I also wear other socks when putting these on. When laundering becomes necessary, remove inserts, wash socks and replace inserts for continued use. When summer finally comes and you sport your flip flops, store these comfy socks in a safe place, because you WILL need them again!! I hope you enjoy this project as much as you will enjoy the end result.