Frugal Crafts Friday: How to make a cozy heating pad cover

As part of the decluttering in progress, I’ve done a few repairs & improvements to various possessions. This one worked especially well.

Heating pads these days come with cheesy fabric covers onto which the manufacturer has slapped a shiny synthetic patch bearing the “do not do this at home” message. In the course of protecting you from yourself, said patches get hot enough to burn your skin-though possibly not before the cover itself falls apart. With two straight seams and eight back-&-forth sewing machine tacks, you can make a much happier cover that will last the lifetime of the heating pad.

You need

  • A length of “fleece”-type fabric long enough and wide enough to fold over the heating pad lengthwise
  • About 48 inches of ribbon (fabric, not the paper kind made for wrapping presents)
  • A spool of thread
  • A sewing machine or a sewing needle
  • A pair of scissors
  • A package of straight pins

The soft, felt-like fabric known as “fleece” does not ravel, so it doesn’t have to be hemmed. Because it’s extremely comfy, it’s perfect for a heating pad cover. Find this stuff at a fabric store or a fully stocked craft shop, such as JoAnn’s. About ½ yard will do.

Remove the old cover. Spread your new fabric on a table or bed. Lay the heating pad down on the fabric so that the fabric fits lengthwise; the cord should come off one cut end of the fabric. Fold the piece of fabric over the top of the heating pad to form a simple envelope, with the cord sticking out one end. Push one long edge of the pad up against the fold. Carefully pin the two layers together down the other long edge and along the edge opposite the cord. Pay attention! Do not stick a pin into the pad! The line of pins should be about an inch away from the edge of the pad.

You will sew a seam just inside this L-shaped line of pins, leaving enough room to drop the heating pad back into the envelope after it is sewn together. It’s OK for the pad to be fairly roomy-don’t feel the cover has to fit the pad tightly.

Remove the heating pad. Trim any extra fabric to within about two inches of the pins.

Take the ribbon and cut it into eight six-inch pieces. Set them aside.

If you have a sewing machine, thread it–any color will do. Run one straight seam along the long open edge and one along the pinned-together short edge. Remove the pins as you proceed, being careful not to hit a pin with the machine’s needle.

If you are sewing with needle and thread, thread the needle, tie a knot in one end, and stitch a plain, straight seam down the two pinned-together edges. The stitches do not have to be tiny but should be close enough together to hold the fabric together firmly.

Trim the extra fabric to about ¼ or ½ inch from the seams. Turn the cover rightside out, so the sewn seam is on the inside. Place the heating pad inside the cover.

Now take four pieces of ribbon and place them along the top open edge, where you would like to tie them to hold the cover closed. One should be fairly close to the cord, to hold it snugly. Pin these in place, again being careful not to poke a pin into the heating pad.

Remove the pad and pin the other four pieces of ribbon along the other open edge, directly across from the pieces you have already pinned in place.

Set your sewing machine for a zig-zag stitch as short as you can make it and still have your needle move forward. Stitch each ribbon in place by running a zig-zag back and forth six or eight times.

Or using a needle and thread, stitch each ribbon firmly in place by stitching a square box at the end where the ribbon connects to the fabric.

If you’ve used grosgrain ribbon (which ravels), tie off the loose with a single tight knot.

Now place the heating pad in its new cover and tie the four sets of ribbons together to secure the cover to the pad.

Store the rest of the fabric for future projects. You can use it to make a coat for your dog, to turn decorative tiles into coasters, and for any other project that would ordinarily use felt.

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