A Little Festive Tutorial... 'Winter Warmers"

Warning :: this a very picture heavy post...

I was kindly asked by Vouchercodes.co.uk to take part in their Most Wanted Christmas DIY Challenge and produce a festive tutorial for a gift that anybody could create. It took me a while to decide what to make that was easy and from bits and pieces around the house and that would only cost a few pennies. As its been rather chilly these last couple of weeks I have decided to make these Winter Warmers for all my friends as gifts for Christmas to keep their little hands toasty as it doesn't seem to be getting any warmer. Why not have a try.....
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Step 1
Finished product.... I love them, I even made myself one :D

Step 2
// Step 1 //
Choose the fabrics that you will want to use, these could be anything from an old shirt or a old pillow case that is a little past it. I used some fabrics that I had lying around. Cut out 2 pieces of each material, the size I used was 19cm x 16cm. You can make them any size or shape you like.

Step 4
// Step 2 //
Warm your sewing machine up. You don't have to use a sewing machine if you don't have one, you can sew these by hand also. Just make sure you don't leave any holes as you wouldn't want your mixture falling onto your lap.

Step 5
// Step 3 //
As these are gifts I thought it would be nice to personalise them. I have sewed each of my friends names onto some felt using embroidery threads. Cut these out so they have a 5mm border around the embroidery for when you sew them on.

Step 6
// Step 4 //
I also cut out little strips of ribbon for hanging tabs, these were around 8cm long. As you can see from the picture I also cut out extra white lining material in the same size as the outer material. I did this because I like them to feel a little bulkier, you don't have to include lining material if you don't have any.

Step 7
// Step 5 //
Using the sewing machine or hand sew your name labels onto the front of one piece of material. You could sew on anything from flowers to just decorative embroidery.

Step 8
// Step 6 //
Place your pieces of material in the order I have done in the picture. The order they are in: lining material, flower material (face up), ribbon tab, flower material (face down), lining material. So the flower material must be outer sides facing each other.

Step 9
// Step 7 //
Pin along 2 of the sides ready for sewing. Don't forget to include the ribbon tab.

Step 10
// Step 8 //
Sew along the 2 sides.

Step 11
// Step 9 //
Trim off excess material to give it a neater edge. This will help later on with the other bits of sewing.

Step 12
// Step 10 //
Turn right side out and they should look like the above picture. You should have two open ends.

Step 13
// Step 11 //
Fold the top raw edges inside the bag and pin along 5mm from the top as the picture demonstrates.

Step 14
// Step 12 //
Sew along the pinned edge making sure you don't leave any gaps at either end.

Step 15
// Step 13 //
Once you have done all your sewing you can move onto the next step.

Step 3
// Step 14 //
Mix up one bag of Barley Flakes (500g) and half a bag of Wheat Bran (250g). I got these both from a local health shop. This will be your filling for the Warmers. I have also got some cloves to pop in later to give that festive smell when warmed. You can use anything, lavender, rosemary or any type of dried condiment you want.

Step 16
// Step 15 //
Fill each bag with 11 tablespoons of the mixture.

Step 17
// Step 16 //
Add in your cloves or desired extras. I put 5 cloves in each bag. Add 1 more tablespoon of mixture.

Step 18
// Step 17 //
To achieve the triangular shape you will need to seal it by placing the 2 seams together in the middle. Fold in as before to achieve the neat finish. Pin along this edge as before.

Step 19
// Step 18 //
Sew along the edge as before. Remember to not leave any open sections as the filling will fall out.

Step 20
// Step 19 //
Repeat to finish all Winter Warmers.

I would recommend heating in the microwave for around a 1 minute and a half depending on your microwave and the size of your Warmer. When heating, place a cup of water in with the Warmer so this will prevent the mixture inside from drying up and getting too hot. Please take care when doing this as the water will also warm up! If you are going to give these as a gift maybe make a little label explaining this.

If you have any troubles or you find the tutorial confusing please leave a comment and I'll try and answer for you. Also send me a link of photos of your own Winter Warmers!
Enjoy and keep warm x

UPDATE: some people have mentioned that the cup of water could explode. For an alternative you could spritz the Warmer with some water just to keep some moisture in. I have put mine in with a cup of water many times and havnt had a problem as its only a minute but if you feel safer you can spritz it.

N.B: please take care when heating these as they can get very hot. Please place a cup of water in the microwave when heating the Winter Warmer to prevent the contents drying out too much.

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