Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sewing Neck Coolers

Neck Coolers can be made for yourself or for our troops in service. This (highlighted) website has given the following information, along with a free pattern, downloadable to your computer:

Materials:
1 yd cotton fabric (at LEAST 42" wide) -- this will make 8 coolers
please prewash the fabric to remove any sizing
1/2 - 1 tsp polymer granules per cooler (see resource at end)

sewing machine or serger
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helpful:

rotary cutter and mat (makes for quick cutting)

here are some objects that have been reported as useful when filling the pockets with crystals:

a 2 ft length of 1" PVC Pipe

a long-neck funnel (check your local auto supply store)
roll a sheet of paper into long tube

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Cut or tear strips 4 1/2" wide by the fabric width (selvedge to selvedge). I usually use 45" wide fab, so I just cut them the width of the fabric -- 45" should be the max
NOTE: If your fabric is too wide (or not wide enough), purchase 1 1/4 yards and cut in the direction of the selvedge (from top to bottom) instead.

Fold in half, right sides together, on the long edge

Sew/serge the long seam and turn. Iron. As shown above, the seam has been placed in the center back, rather than at the edge. Now you have a tube about 2" wide and 40 - 45" long

Mark the center of the long edge and stitch across it. Drop in a scant 1/8 tsp of crystals on each side of the seam (I used Watersorb, make a test tie with the brand you're using to be sure this isn't too much/too little after it's soaked).

Mark 4 1/2" from the center seam and seam again.

Now you have 2 pockets with crystals.

Drop in another scant 1/8 tsp of in both sides and seam like before (4 1/2 inches from the first set of seams). You should have a total of 4 pockets.
NOTE: Some people make 2 pockets that are 9"/10" each, and some make just one 18" pocket. For longer pockets, adjust the quantity of granules accordingly.

Serge ends (or fold in raw edges and sew across) to finish ... I personally prefer the ends diagonal. THE SHIPS PROJECT: please tuck in and sew, do not just serge to finish ends.

Check the Watersorb site to order the crystals in bulk. I personally like this brand the best, it requires some 50% less than the brand I bought in the garden department. If ordering from Watersorb, order the "medium" granules.

NEW USE: The ShipsProject has received word directly from a contact at Watersorb® that cool ties made with Watersorb® brand crystals can also be heated in a microwave (once they have been soaked, of course). They will purportedly retain heat about 3x times longer than they will retain cold.

Please attach a care label:
immerse in cold water approx 60 min, until crystals become gel tie around head or neck;
regenerate by soaking 1-3 minute;
do not freeze;
dehydrate to store;
hand wash only, mild soap;
ties can be heated (briefly) in a microwave...take care when removing as they will be extremely hot!

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