Five Minutes and a Fat Quarter

January 12, 2010

When I posted last week on Restorative Yoga for Children, many of you asked if I had sewn the rice pack and eye pillow that were featured, and if so, would I post a tutorial.

The pack that was in the post was actually made by Bernadette about five years ago, for one of our doula clients (the eye pillow was purchased). When Bernadette and I first began working together, she had the wonderful idea to sew herbal rice packs for each of our birthing mamas to use during their labor. We each made a bunch, and it was a great piece of our selves to leave behind once our job was over.

If you have a fat quarter of flannel, and a fat quarter of either muslin of cotton, than you can quickly and easily make a rice pack, as well as a matching eye pillow, in under an hour.

I used an 8.5×12″ ruler to cut two pieces of my outer flannel fabric. For the inner lining, I trimmed 1.5″ from the length, and 1″ from the width, to cut two 7.5×10.5″ pieces. For either of these, if you are using a piece of fabric larger than a fat quarter, you can cut your fabric on the fold, and save a few minutes seaming the bag together.

Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, and wrong sides together, pin and sew three sides of your outer fabric. Cut your corners, and trim any excess fabric. Turn your top hem down 1/4″, and then again 1/2″, and top stitch. Turn your outer fabric right side out, and using a knitting needle or chop stick, push your corners out. Iron, and set aside.

Beginning two inches in on the top of your muslin lining, and using a 1/2″ seam allowance, stitch all the way around, until you are left with a 2″ opening on the top of the bag. Trim your corners. Using a funnel, fill you lining with rice and herbs of your choice (I used a mixture of lavender and chamomile. If using for headaches, you can also add a small amount of dried mint). Sew your seam closed, either by hand, or by machine.

Before filling your lining, consider what you are planning on using the pack for. A heavily filled bag is perfect for yoga, and as a way to ground yourself or your child during restless moments. A less filled bag is great for either hot or cold use in sore areas, or upset tummies.

To make your matching eye pillow, use the remaining scrap of your fat quarter, and cut two 9×5″ rectangles. With your remaining scrap of lining fabric, cut two pieces 7.5×4″. Stitch the exact same way that you did above.

Many people choose to use silk for their eye pillow case, but it is a really hard fabric for little children to handle. The flannel will stay on their face a lot easier, and it is a much more snugly fabric as well.

Now you have a matching eye pillow and rice pack set, perfect to use for yourself, or to give away as gift.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

bright and blithe January 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I love the flannel idea. These would make wonderful gifts for new mommas and babies. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.


HilarieMae January 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm

This is a perfect thing for doula clients! I can't wait to try it out and I love the idea of leaving a bit of myself behind when the job is done. This is so perfect! Thanks for sharing!


Julia January 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Oh yea!!!! Thank you Heather. I was one of the ones that asked about it. It is so simple. Now I just have to find a place that sells lavendar in this area.

Flannel is my friend this time of year….as is heat.

Hugs, Julia
” target=”_blank”>


eliz~ so wabi sabi January 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm

once again you've inspired me with your ability to give…thanks for sharing this simple project. I need projects just like this to get me to confront my creative space…warm ups…and these are things we need.


Gypsy Forest January 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

love this 🙂 definitely sharing the idea with my doula friend 🙂


Ivy January 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I just gave a rice bag to a friend for her birthday. I made mine out of denim but I like the idea of the flannel case. And I love the eye pillow.


LisaAnne January 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm

This is great, thanks for sharing! Is there a good way to heat them if you don't have a microwave?


Brooke January 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

great tutorial Heather! Always good to have quick crafts that are so useful. I have been trying to do the yoga at night with the kids and they really seem to enjoy it… now I just have to get my husband to encourage it (we trade off days getting the kids to bed!). Thank you! Hope you had a great start to the week, and are feeling better! And hopefully you find time to mark things off your list of things to see and do in your beautiful area! 🙂


maeghan January 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm

So wonderful. I am going to add this to my inspiration board to make for my chiropractor. She would love these!


Its_Lily January 12, 2010 at 7:01 pm

There's something about flannel that's just so soothing and comfortable. I love sleeping in flannel sheets for the way they drape and snuggle around me so I imagine this project will be perfect for three darling kidlings that I just happen to know. Thank you for sharing with us.


Valarie January 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Now there's a good use of a fat quarter. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I will have to make a few up with some herbs from my garden. Have a great day.


KimmieKusz January 12, 2010 at 7:13 pm

What a fabulous idea!


Chelsea January 12, 2010 at 8:52 pm

tho today is the "official" due date, I think I may still have some time to make one or two for the birth, perhaps? +Chelsea


Emmalina January 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm

These look lovely, I have been thinking about your yoga post a lot and wondering about the bags you use. Great timing! I make these too but use wheat kernels instead of rice. They warm very well in a microwave and give off a relaxing bread type smell. You've inspired me to make some of these for the boys, thanks again!


jessica January 12, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I think these would make a perfect gift for a friend needing a little pick-me-up (and also a big restorative yoga fan)


Paige January 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Wonderful! I'm so glad you shared this – we've been doing some restorative yoga and my 4 year old just loves it. I've been soaking her feet before bedtime, and I think it really does help her to relax, plus she looks forward to it every night.


Julia January 13, 2010 at 1:57 am

Hmmmm. Where did my comment go? I posted one this morning.

OH Well. I was one of the ones begging for a tutorial. Thank you. You make it look effortlessly easy and beautiful….typical Heather.


Hugs, Julai


larissa January 13, 2010 at 2:19 am

Thanks for posting all the measurements. I'm making one for each of us – i just need to find some lavender. Can you recommend an on-line store?


Julia January 13, 2010 at 3:02 am

Never mind…now I see it. I wonder what happened? Oh well….it is still a wonderful tutorial at any rate.


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm

For some reason, you had been blocked by Intense Debate.When I saw your message, I went in and looked, and it was in the spam folder. I will let you know if that happens again. Have a great day


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Oh yayI can't wait to see the ones you made. I LOVE Mountain Rose herb company. Amazing herbs, and other great things as well


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm

You are too sweet girl. These really are crazy easy 🙂


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Thanks Jessica. I hope that everything has settled in your new home, and that you are having a great time setting up you new space. These do make great gifts, and they are so easy, that is is quick satisfaction. Have a great day


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Oh I love that, they do have a bread like smell. I love warming these, especially right at the end of practice.

Have a great day


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm

These are really great for labor, and for postpartum. We use them a lot with back labor, and with early labor to try and create some relaxation, without getting into the bath (in the early stages). wishing you a beautifulbirth of your son.


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Fresh herbs, how wonderful. I love growing herbs in the spring/summer, and this will be a good way to use the end of season herbs


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I love flannel! I jusw that Anna Marie Horner has a new set of Funky Flannel. I am so excited to be able to get my hands on just a little bot of it 🙂


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Thank you Brooke, I am so glad that the yoga is working. It is really nice to see your kids relax and have something to put them into a restful sleep. My husband has a bit of a hard time as well, but I at least ask him to give them a good foot soak, a soft light and and some reading. I think that they enjoy the difference in routine when they are with him. It is like they have their own special routine with him.


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Oh that is great Paige! I love to hear that there is a good response by other children and families. It has worked so well with my boys, and it has made the biggest difference with their sleep. Have a great day!


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Thank you Lisa Anne :). Do you have a hot room stove that you could put it on? If not, You can try putting a pot on the stove with a small amount of hot water, and then a big glass bowl on top (like a double broiler), and then put the rice packinto the bowl, and cover it with a top. Let me knowif either of these will work. Have a great day


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Oh cool. I think that it is a great tool for every doula to have her pack. Both times that I was in labor, I so needed heat, and since it is not a great idea to get into the bathtub in early labor, it really helps a lot. Have a great day!


Shivayamama January 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm
heather January 14, 2010 at 12:45 am

mmmm, very awesome. i hope to make some of these soon….


Chris Worthy January 14, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I am such a slacker. I bought a huge bag of rice over a month ago so I could whip up new rice bags for us. I need to put that on the to-do list for this weekend. Thanks for the reminder!


Chris Worthy January 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm

One comment on the lavender — Our local health food store usually has it, but be careful about it if you have allergies. Once heated, the scent is very intense. I omit the herbs now for that reason.


Jennifer B. B'klyn January 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm

What a wonderful post! You may also want to consider using untoasted buckwheat as a filler instead of the rice if you're using it to heat; buckwheat holds the heat a bit longer than rice. Also, I agree about the herbs, especially since chamomile is in the ragweed family. Though for anyone without sensitivity to them, both chamomile and lavendar smell lovely!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: