Intro: Make a Hotpod (Microwaveable Neck-warmer)
This instructable will show you how to make a microwaveable neck-warmer AKA hot-pod. These are great for keeping your neck warm during those cold winter/late-autumn/Yukon nights. Just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and it stays warm and smells great for about an hour.
They also make great gifts. I made this one as a way-early Christmas gift for my sister-inlaw-inlaw-inlaw.
This instructable assumes you have basic knowledge of sewing.
Step 1: Materials
Here's what you need, to make a hotpod.
-Some cotton fabric, or a T-shirt you don't want (in this case, a t-shirt)
-Something to put inside the hotpod. There are lots of options for this. I'm using wheat berries that I got from the bulk foods section of the grocery store. It takes about a pound. You can also use oat seeds and regular (non-instant rice). Whatever you want to use, just try microwaving a little bit of it first to see that it doesn't burn or smell gross.
-Optional: some nice-smelling stuff to mix in with the seeds. A couple bags of your favourite tea will work nice.
Cost: $2 for the t-shirt (Anchor Blue was going out of business; you can also get cheap shirts at Value Village or Goodwill), $1 for a pound of of oat wheat berries (and I had a little bit leftover), and a couple bucks for the tea. Total: $5 - $6.
-A sewing machine. Or just a needle and some thread, if you're hardcore.
-Some scissors to cut the fabric
-Some scissors to cut thread (could be the same pair of scissors, I guess)
-A scoop of some kind, or a small bowl
-Optional: Some music to keep yourself entertained.
Step 2: Sewing the First Two Lines
You'll want to sew the front and the back of the t-shirt together, in two horizontal lines. Make one right across the bottom, along the seem, and make the other one about 3" up from that (or more, if you want your hotpod to be wider).
For the one across the bottom, though, do not sew all the way across. Leave enough room at the end for you to reach your hand into it without stretching the seems. Take a look at the picture to see what I mean.
Step 3: Section Into Fifths
Next, you'll want to section off your hotpod into four or five sections. You don't want to sew these sections off yet, just put some pins in or another kind of marker for reference to yourself.
Doing this keeps the filling more evenly distributed and keeps it all from falling into the ends.
You can measure out the width of your shirt with a ruler and do it that way, but it doesn't need to be exact; as long as it looks like 4 or 5 even sections to the eye, it should be good enough.
Step 4: Add Seeds
If you're planning on adding tea or any other scented things to your seeds, do it before this step. About 5 tea-bags worth should be enough for a single hotpod.
Now, pull a scoop of seeds out of the bag. It doesn't matter if you use an even scoop or a heaping scoop, just as long as you're consistent and put the same amount in every time.
Stick the seeds in through the hole you left in the bottom of the shirt. Then, pick up that end and let all the seeds fall to the other end of the shirt. You want to get all the seeds you just poured in to the section on the other end of the shirt, so feel the shirt to make sure there aren't any stuck in the fabric.
Once they're all in there, clamp off that end of the hotpod with your hand and just feel it to determine if it's the right amount of seeds. If it feels like it needs more, add another scoop. This is just a matter of preference, so go with whatever feels right. For the one I made, each section has 2/3 cup of seeds in it.
Step 5: Sew Up the First Section
Get the t-shirt on the sewing machine, and get ready to sew a vertical line along where the pin is. Make sure no seeds have shifted over outside this section when you put it on the machine. If they have, push them back.
Remove the pin or whatever marker you used, and then sew a straight line across (the green dotted line in the diagram), to seal off that section.
Step 6: Repeat for the Remaining Sections
Put in the same amount of seeds as you did for the first section, and let them fall down to the second section, then sew that off.
Keep doing that until the last section . After you've put the seeds in the last section, finish by sewing closed the hand-hole that you left open before. Now, the hot pod should be completely closed and sealed off.
Step 7: Cut It Free
Just cut a straight line, a little bit above where the top line you sewed is. It'll look good if you just it so that it's about the same size as the bit of fringe left between the bottom line you sewed and the bottom of the shirt.
Step 8: All Done!
You've finished making your hotpod! Now, it's ready to give to someone as a gift, or to zap for a couple minutes in the microwave and enjoy a warm neck for the night.