Introduction: Heated Cuddle Buddy

About: A Maker of Things, Cat is a recently graduated artist and perpetual student. Learning and creating are her two great passions, closely followed by circus arts and things on fire.

This is Toast, and he's not just a cute cuddly face. Pop him in the microwave and then between the sheets for a warm start to any cold night. He'd make a great gift for children and can also be used on aches and pains. 

He's also super easy to make!!

P.S. Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Sew Warm contest!

Step 1: Materials

For fabrics, Fleece, Flannel, or Cotton are best. Try to stay away from synthetics as they do have a tendency to melt. If you’re not sure about the fabric you have, cut off a small piece and do a microwave check. Everything going into this project should be able to withstand at least 2.5 minutes in the microwave without any ill effects such as melting, sparking, exploding, or fuming. This means no metallics!! No metallic thread or buttons or pieces of any sort. You don’t want anything that could explode your microwave or get hot enough to burn you. Remember you want this little guy to be a soft companion for cold winter nights, so make him cuddly and safe as well as cute!

For filling, you can use any sort of grain, such as wheat, oats, or rice. If you use oats, your fleecy friend will smell perpetually of oatmeal. Beans work as well but be careful not to get your buddy wet or he may go to seed.
If I wanted to get super scientific I could do microwave tests to find out the most efficient filling, but unfortunately for you, I’m lazy. I used rice because it’s cheap, easy, and I had heaps of it laying around my house. I’ve always hated oatmeal anyhow. 

If your fabric is fuzzy or heavily patterned, you will want some felt to make a background for your face. If you use material that isn't fuzzy, you can skip the felt and embroider your facial features strait onto the fabric. 

I used several pairs of scissors, but you can get away with one sharp pair if you're not picky about how long they stay sharp.

If necessary, you can replace the sewing machine with a good supply of patience and hand-sewing.

Step 2: Make a Pattern

Decide what shape you want to make. The possibilities are endless so flex your creative muscle! Just keep in mind that sharp edges, corners, or turns are much more difficult than gentle curves. Keep it simple for your first one, then expand to more ambitious shapes. 

If you are going for symmetry, fold your piece of paper in half and draw out half of your intended shape. 

Cut it out and unfold to look at your pattern. If you are unhappy, repeat the process, tracing the bits you like and re-drafting the bits you don't. 

It may help if you sketch out your ideas first. Try different features and proportions to decide what sort of look you are going for.  

Step 3: Transfer and Cut

 Transfer your pattern to the wrong side of your fabric, then sketch out a seam allowance.

Choose a relatively strait bit of your pattern and draw a tab about 1 - 2 inches in length. This tab will be where you turn and fill your friend. 

Place your two fabrics face to face (or fold the one fabric in half) and pin. 
Cut through both pieces of fabric with a sharp pair of scissors. 

(If your fabric is hard to mark on, then trace your pattern onto a clean sheet of paper and sketch out a seam allowance. Cut this out, pin to fabric, and cut around the paper.)

Step 4: Felt Faced

 If you have a non-fuzzy, solid color fabric (or are making something that doesn't have a face), feel free to skip this step.

Cut out a face-shaped piece of felt and pin it to the right side of one of your pieces. 
Sew around the piece of felt with a small zig-zag stitch in a complementary colored thread. Try and get right up along the edge of your felt. 

Step 5: Sew Here We Go!

 Pin your two pieces together right side to right side (face to face). 

Start sewing at the bottom of your tab and sew all the way around ending at the top of the tab (thus leaving a 1 - 2 inch length un-sewn).

Don't forget to sew forward, then back, then forwards again for a few stitches at the very beginning and very end to lock off your seam and keep it from unravelling when you turn your friend inside out. 

Step 6: Turn and Sew Again

 Turn your friend right side out through the bit you didn't sew. Make sure the limbs and ears are turned right side out as far as they can go. 

Make a French Seam by sewing around the bear a second time on the outside. Go slow as you may be sewing through several layers of fabric in parts and be sure not to sew the inch you turned him through.

Step 7: A-Filling We Will Go

 Fill your friend with your chosen filling using your funnel. Fill as full as you'd like, but make sure you can still sew the hole closed. I like mine somewhat floppy so I only used about two cups of rice.

Pin the hole closed, making sure you catch the tab inside and squish all the filling from the area of the hole.

(This is where the tab is important. It makes for a strong seam when you sew that last little hole shut.)

Sew hole closed, making sure to catch the tab and sew a locking stitch at the beginning and end. 

Step 8: The Fun Bit

Using embroidery thread, sew your face. 
I start with the nose because it's central. 
I also tie off at the nose, slip the thread back through the face and out through the body and cut it off, leaving a tail of thread tucked in so that there's no messy ends. 

Other Tips:
- If you double up the thread you get thicker lines.
- Don't pull too tight or you'll end up with puckering and pulling and won't see the stitching well. 

Of course, you don't have to make a sweet sleepy face. You can go nuts and make any type of face you want! Personally I have a thing for suspicious looking mustachioed expressions. 

Step 9: Microwave and Enjoy!!

Throw your little guy in the microwave for two minutes and enjoy!

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