Even though most of us these days use electric blankets and central heating, there is still a place for the old hot water bottle. The problem with hot water bottles though is that they are limited in where you can really put them, and they can pose a danger for young children. Wheat bags solve those problems and have many uses. They are also very simple to make.
The great thing about wheat bags is their flexibility, and the fact that they can be used for either a heat treatment or cold. For kiddies and adults alike there is nothing quite as soothing as being able to cuddle up to something warm. If you are unfortunate enough to be suffering from stomach pains a wheat bag is perfect to provide warmth to your tummy and soothe away those cramping pains. Backache and stiff necks also respond extremely well to an application of heat. On cold days a wheat bag can warm hands and toes to toasty perfection. For sporting injuries, or tired sore eyes a cold ice pack is required. You can of course purchase expensive cold packs, but a wheat bag kept in the freezer works just as well and you can make a variety of sizes for different needs. I like to use little circular wheat bags to rest on my eyes.
Wheat bags are so quick and simple to heat up too. No need for filling anything with hot water. All that is required is to heat them for around 2 minutes on high in your microwave. For extra healing or soothing benefits you can also put a few drops of essential oil onto your wheat bag.
To make your wheat bag you first need to decide on the size you want. Apart from tiny wheat bags for eyes, you are going to divide the bag into sections. This gives the bag its flexibility. Most wheat bags are made about 14-16 inches long, and around 6 inches wide and are divided into 3 sections. There is nothing to stop you making your wheat bag larger or smaller and using as many sections as you like. Generally speaking though, one section per 6 inches is a good rule of thumb.
Next select the fabric you are going to use. To some extent any old fabric will do but it pays to consider what your wheat bag is going to be used for. You don’t want a fabric that is scratchy if it going to be near your skin. Cotton is ideal, particularly flannelette as it is warm and soft. If you are making a bag specifically for the freezer though either choose a non-rotting nylon (something like raincoat material), or else remember to store your bag in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer so your fabric won’t get damp and rot. If your material is thin, or you have kids that tend to be a bit rough it can pay to use 2 layers of material instead of one.
Pin your material together and mark off where your sections will be. Sew down the lines of each section first before sewing the edges. A double line of stitching is a good idea for added strength. As you sew up the edges leave a ¼ inch gap for pouring in your wheat. When sewn up just add the wheat and then hand stitch up the holes. Plain old barnyard wheat works just fine, but if you want your wheat bag to last for years and years consider buying sterilized wheat.
My family just loves wheat bags and we always have several on hand ready for use. Cheap and easy to make, your wheat bag will serve you well for years to come.