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If you follow me over on Instagram, you may have seen my excitement over Cricut’s newest product (feels like a bit of deja vu after my recent Infusible Ink post), the EasyPress Mini! I think we can all agree that tinier almost always = cuter, and the EasyPress Mini definitely fits into that category ;). But cuteness aside, Cricut definitely filled a need with the release of the EasyPress Mini, and today I’m partnering with Cricut to share all the details and a fun project for you to make yourself, a paper pieced quilted DIY rice bag and sleep mask!
I have a certain five year old who often gets terrible growing pains at night, and I love to give her one of these DIY microwavable rice bags to help comfort her. A couple minutes in the microwave, and it’s nice and toasty for a long time. And now that I have this sleep mask, I’m sure it will come in handy after helping her in the nights, hehe.
The EasyPress 2 was a game changer when it came to using iron-on, and of course now Infusible Ink as well. Just like it’s big bros that come in sizes 6×7″, 9×9″, and 12×10″, the EasyPress Mini has an even heat plate that’s perfect for applying iron-on and infusible ink. The difference is that while the EasyPress 2 is awesome for t-shirts, bags, and other medium to large projects, it’s difficult to use on small projects that have tricky to reach areas, like shoes or hats.
This is where the EasyPress Mini jumps in to save the (creative) day. It’s tiny raindrop shaped plate is perfect for getting into tight spaces, and as you’ll see below, is a perfect next-to-your-sewing-machine companion for projects like today’s paper pieced DIY rice bag and sleeping mask!
While I enjoy quilting, I don’t enjoy the constant back and forth to the ironing board. As the EasyPress Mini is dry heat (no steam vents), it’s perfect for paper piecing as you can iron each added piece without having to even leave your sewing chair! I just set up a cutting mat/rotary blade/ruler, and my EasyPress Mini and mat and had everything I needed at my fingertips.
It was so handy for a project like this that had only tiny bits of sewing at a time. I think I got used to it a little too quickly, hehe.
This little set makes a perfect gift, and pair it with a Blanket Hoodie using our free pattern, and the receiver will be over the moon!
Earlier I shared how to cut quilt fabrics with the Cricut Maker, and that’s exactly what we’ll do for today’s DIY microwaveable heat pack and DIY sleep mask. If you’d prefer to cut your fabrics by hand for the quilted rice bag cover, I also provide the measurements below.
Let’s get started on our DIY microwaveable heat bag and sleep mask set, and I’ll show you how I used the EasyPress Mini along the way!
DIY Microwave Rice Bag + Sleep Mask
Supplies: (affiliate links below)
100% Cotton fabric – 3 different non-directional fabrics for background, inner bag/back of quilted cover, and arrow – amounts noted below – I used this fabric sampler
Cricut Maker with rotary blade and fine point blade – measurements to cut rice bag pieces by hand are also given below
EasyPress Mini and mat
12×24″ Fabric mats if cutting pieces with Maker
Standard grip mat
iron-on – for sleep mask eyelashes
rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and self healing mat
fusible fleece – 8×5″ piece for sleep mask
1/4″ wide elastic – 15″ length
Rice – 1.5-2c
Cricut Design Space Project
Paper Pieced Quilted DIY Rice Bag Template – click here to download free template (follow checkout process and be sure to check your junk folder if you don’t see it in your inbox upon checkout completion). Print template at 100%, not set to scale, and cut each piece roughly outside the dotted lines.
Use the Design Space project to cut all the fabrics and iron-on with your Cricut Maker. Once you open the project, change the mats to 12×24″ size, and prepare each mat with the materials as instructed below. Feel free to move the sleep mask front/back and inner bag/back cover pieces to other mats as desired to reduce the mats needed and suit your fabric preferences. (Once cut, your mats will look slightly different than pictured.)
*Use rotary blade for all mats with the exception of Mat 2.
Mat 1 – cut from fusible fleece (7.5×4″) for sleeping mask
Mat 2 – iron-on (6×2″ piece) eyelashes (cut with fine-point blade – you can cut this mat first if you’d like so you only have to change the blade once)
Mat 3 – arrow pieces (12×11″)
Mat 4/5 – quilted background and sleeping mask front/back (12×23″, 11×5″)
Mat 6/7 – inner rice bag pieces, quilted cover back, quilted cover front lining (to conceal raw edges in finished cover) (10×23″, 6×14″)
As we start with larger pieces that will be used to paper piece the quilted rice bag cover, you’ll end up with a variety of rectangles and squares. To help keep track of the pieces, follow the info below to separate each piece into it’s corresponding section from the paper piecing templates and clip them together (Wonderclips are my favorite and much easier to use than pinning while stitching sections together later on as well).
You can also use the measurements below if cutting the DIY rice bag fabric pieces with rotary cutter and mat.
A1 – 3.5×4.5″ (cut 1)
A3 – 4.5×4.5″ (cut 1)
B1, C1 – 2.5×5.5″ (cut 2)
B2, B8, C2, C8 – 2.5×2.5″ (cut 4)
B4, B6, C4, C6 – 3.5×2″ (cut 4)
B9, C9 – 10×2″ (cut 2)
D1 – 5.5×2″ (cut 1)
A2 – 3.4″ (cut 1)
B3, B5, B7, C3, C5, C7 – 3.5×2″ (cut 6)
B10 – 10×2.5″ (cut 1)
Rice Bag Cover Back/Front Lining, Inner Rice Bag Fabric:
Rice bag front lining, inner bag – 4.5×12.5″ (cut 3)
Cover back – 4.5×7.5″ (cut 2)
Now that we have all the pieces separated and ready to go, let’s start by whipping up our DIY sleep mask!
How to Make a Sleep Mask
First, plug the EasyPress Mini in and set to low heat as instructed in Cricut’s EasyPress heat guide. Once heated, fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of one mask piece. Use light pressure and 30 seconds to fuse the iron-on eyelashes to the remaining mask piece and remove the liner. You can now adjust the heat to high to be ready for the next steps.
Stitch elastic ends (pin first to test length to make sure it will fit your head comfortably and adjust as needed) to side edges of back mask piece using 1/4″ seam allowance.
Pin front and back mask pieces right sides together and stitch around edges, leaving 3″ opening along top straight edge.
Trim seam allowance to 1/8″, leaving the opening untrimmed. Press edges at opening 1/4″ toward wrong sides (this will make it easier to nicely stitch them closed once turned right side out).
Turn mask right side out through opening and press flat with the EasyPress Mini (isn’t it nice to not have to leave your chair?! ;)). Topstitch close to edge around entire mask, closing opening as you stitch.
Great job! We’re ready to move on to our paper piecing tutorial and DIY rice bag!
How to Make a Microwavable Rice Bag
First, a couple of tips before we begin paper piecing our rice bag cover front. Set your machine to a shorter stitch length, which on my machine would be between 1.5-1.8. Also, use a size 14 needle which will help stitch through the paper. Both the larger needle and shorter stitch length will help to create more perforations in the paper and make it easier to tear off when we’re done with it!
Lastly, as back stitching will create unwanted bulk, use a lock stitch if your machine has one at the beginning and end of each stitch line. Some quilters prefer to stitch a few stitches before and beyond each line instead, to ensure they’ll be caught in another stitch line for security.
Grab the four sections clipped together. Set B, C, and D aside, and we’ll start with A. Place a line of glue on the wrong (non printed) side of the A1 section on the template. Place the fabric piece for A1, wrong side against the glue, and make sure it extends more than 1/4″ past all borders for the A1 section. You can hold it up to the light to check, or just simply flip the paper over and lift the corners up to check. As long as it’s covering the area with more than 1/4″ past the borders, it will be okay!
Fold the paper along the line where A1 meets A2 and A3. Use a rotary cutter and ruler to trim the fabric extending past the fold line to 1/4″ (this will soon be our seam allowance when we add the next fabric piece).
Right sides together, align the A2 fabric piece along the trimmed edge of A1. Flip A2 over to ensure it will cover the A2 template section when stitched to A1. I like to lightly finger press it where the seam will be to help check.
Carefully holding the A2 piece in place along the trimmed A1 piece edge, flip the fabrics and template over and stitch along the template line between A1 and A2.
With both fabrics facing up, press flat along seam.
To get ready to attach A3, fold the template along the line between A1/2 and A3. Trim the fabrics to 1/4″ past the folded edge.
Right sides together, align one edge of the A3 piece with the newly trimmed edges of A1/2. Again, be sure to check that the entire A3 section will be covered when stitched and flipped.
Flip pieces over and stitch along line between A1/2 and A3.
Use EasyPress Mini to press flat along seam, all fabrics right side up.
Use rotary cutter and ruler to cut along dotted lines. And that’s it for section A for now!
We’ll complete section B with the same technique as section A. Glue fabric piece B1 to the wrong side of the template, right of the fabric facing outward. Be sure the edges extend more than 1/4″ past all the boundaries for section B1 on the template.
Fold the template on the line between B1 and B2. I went ahead and pre-folded all the remaining lines as well for efficiency, but you can do one at a time as you add the fabric pieces if you’d prefer. Trim the fabric to 1/4″ past the fold line between B1 and B2. I also trimmed the long edges at the same time, but those can wait until later if you’d prefer.
Right sides together, align the B2 fabric piece along the trimmed edge of B1. Flip B2 over to ensure it will cover the B2 template section when stitched to B1.
Holding pieces carefully in place, flip over and stitch along template line between B1 and B2. Right sides up, press flat along seam.
Just as before, next we’ll fold the line (if you didn’t pre-fold) between B2 and B3 and trim the B2 fabric to 1/4″ past the folded edge.
Right sides together, align the B3 (this will be the first piece from the arrow fabric) fabric piece along the trimmed edge of B2. Flip B3 over to ensure it will cover the B3 template section when stitched to B2. These diagonal pieces are a bit trickier to ensure the correct coverage, so a double check is always helpful!
Holding pieces carefully in place, flip over and stitch along template line between B2 and B3. Right sides up, press flat along seam.
Fold the line (if you didn’t pre-fold) between B3 and B4 and trim the B3 fabric to 1/4″ past the folded edge.
Continue with the same method above to stitch the remaining diagonal pieces.
Fold template line along bottom of B9 section and trim fabrics 1/4″ beyond folded edge.
Align piece B9 with trimmed edge, flip pieces over, and stitch along line on bottom of B9 section. Press B9 fabric away from other fabrics.
Fold template line along top of B10 section and trim fabrics 1/4″ beyond folded edge.
Align piece B10 with trimmed edge, flip pieces over, and stitch along line on top of B10 section. Press B10 fabric away from other fabrics.
Trim fabrics along dotted lines of template. You’ve now completed section B!
Section C is identical to section B, with the exception of the middle arrow piece. Complete it with the same technique as we did for section B.
Section D will be our easiest yet ;). As it’s only one piece, simply glue the wrong side of the D1 fabric piece to the wrong side of the template and trim along dotted lines.
Next, we just need to attach our sections together to form our quilted DIY rice bag cover. Right sides of fabric together, stitch section B to section C along bottom of B10 section and top of C1-C8 section. Press seam allowance toward center.
Right sides of fabric together, stitch section C to section B along template line, adding our arrow head! Press seam allowance toward arrow head.
Right sides of fabric together, stitch section D to the end of the arrow. Press seam allowance toward section D.
Carefully peel away all paper template pieces (this is when you’ll be grateful you used a large needle and small stitches!).
To hide the seam allowances, baste one 4.5×12.5″ rectangle to the wrong side of the paper pieced arrow, a scant 1/4″ from edges.
To form back of removable cover, we’ll use the 2 4.5×7.5″ pieces. Press one short edge of each piece 1/4″ toward wrong side, and then another 1/4″ toward wrong side. Topstitch close to pressed edges.
Right sides together, clip back pieces to quilted front, allowing topstitched edges of back pieces to overlap each other. Stitch around all four edges using 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim corners and zig zag stitch or serge edges to finish raw edges.
Turn quilted rice bag cover right sides out and press flat along outer seams.
Lastly, we’ll make our inner microwavable rice bag!
Press one short edge of each 4.5×12″ piece toward wrong side.
Unfold pressed edges, and right sides together, stitch bag pieces together around 3 sides, leaving pressed edges open. Trim corners and finish seam allowances using zig zag stitch or serger. Turn bag right side out and press flat along seams.
Use pourable measuring cup to fill bag with 1.5-2c of rice. If you overfill it, it will be difficult to maneuver the cover on and off, so be careful that the bag still has lots of flexibility!
Fold pressed edges back toward inside of bag and stitch closed with two rows of stitches for security.
Slide inner rice bag into outer cover and voila! Your DIY rice bag is complete!
Pop the bag into the microwave for 1-3 minutes (will depend on your microwave – be sure to check it before it gets in the hands of little ones!) and you’ll have the perfect DIY heat pack to help sooth aches, warm you up, or just relax!
Throw on your sleep mask and you’ll be feeling like a million bucks in the morning.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.