I made this a while ago, but since I had a chance to use it recently, I figured why not take some pictures before it gets even MORE covered in fuzz.
It's really just a basic rice-filled cotton bag. That's all. There are so many tutorials for them out there on forums and blogs, but to me they're either too floppy (just a sack the rice can fall all around in--thanks, gravity) or too structured (sewing the rice into tiny little tubes works fine, I suppose, but when you stuff it too much it won't really conform to all your achy curves).
So, I combined the two ideas and sewed mine together with four separate stitch lines, neither of which intersect or connect. You can kind of see the stitchings in the picture--they stop in the center before the middle skull in the trio's teeth, and they stop before the edges of the bag, as well. The little unsewn sections provide some place for the rice to move around to, but it will mostly evenly stay in the four sections. This means you can wrap the bag around your neck, drape it over your shoulder blades, lay on it...whatever you like. The rice won't all fall to one corner, and the heating pad won't fold like a piece of cardboard!
I plan to make more, so I can probably shoot a photo of my "pattern" later on. In the mean time, here's a photo of it holding its shape even after I fold it up--the color is also a little more accurate in this one:
PS: That fabric? It's some print I found in the remnants at a fabric store around here... I think it's by Robert Kaufman. But I love it because it's not the normal bright tacky sugar skull print, AND IT REMINDS ME OF HELLBOY. The moment I saw the print I was reminded of Mike Mignola's simplified skulls and limited color palettes.
But shhh, don't tell anyone I'm a geek.
PSS: Those same "tutorials" on the internet all suggest filling your bags with calming lavender essential oils or some such thing. Being that I like heating pads to make me feel better so I can, you know, do stuff, and not sleep, I decided to scent mine with a vanilla pomegranate... Bad idea. Apparently when you heat some essential oils they just smell like cheap plastic laced with fragrance. So, in the future, I will not be scenting these things, thank you very much.