Make a rice-filled hot bottle

I thought I would make a rice bag that's a tribute to the old-fashioned hot water bottle. It's a simple project that can be done in an hour.


Pattern 1 - Pattern 2

Red fleece fabric  

Scrap muslin or other cotton fabric for the inner bag

Paper and scissors

2kg dried rice or other grain

Sewing machine and accessories

Optional: felt or ribbon for embellishment




1. Print the two pattern piece and cut them out along the solid outer lines. One of the patterns is actually a template for 3 pieces - you'll have to make a couple of simple folds along the way. Place the larger pattern on your fleece 2 cm from any edges. Use your rice to weight it down, and cut around the pattern leaving 2 cm seam allowance all the way around.

Now is the time to add any decorations you may want. I played around with adding a felt initial, a felt heart and some ribbon. Just stitch whatever you choose to the right side of this main front piece. It can also be left plain, of course, for a more authentic-looking hot water bottle.

2. Fold your first pattern back at the long dotted line. (note: be sure to fold, don't cut, as you will need to unfold it later.) This is now the pattern for the bottom half of the back piece. The second pattern is the top half of the back piece.

3. Place these two patterns on the wrong side of your red fabric, and lightly mark around them. I found a black marker did not show through the fleece, but if you are concerned, you may want to use something erasable like tailor's chalk. Cut around these 2 pieces, again leaving 2cm seam allowance.

4. Fold over the two straight edges of the back pieces and hem. Place your front piece right side up and cover it with the hemmed top back piece, right side down. Over this place the hemmed bottom back piece, also right side down. Pin as needed, and sew along the lines you marked. Sew all the way around the lines, overlapping at the end to secure the seam.

5. Trim your seam allowance and clip any curves or corners. Turn this right side out. This will be your cover.

6. To make the insert, use the front pattern again and unfold the first crease you made. Fold down the neck of the bottle at the dotted line to make the pattern for your inner bag. Lay this down on the muslin or scrap cotton, mark around the pattern and cut 2 pieces with a 2cm extra seam allowance.

7. Sew along your markings, leaving an opening at the top for filling. Clip the seams and turn right side out and fill with rice; stitch closed.