How to Sew a DIY Cooling Neck Wrap
What is a cooling neck wrap?
A cooling neck wrap is a long, sash-like fashion accessory, constructed of fabric and filled with water-absorbing polymer crystals. The user places the cooling neck wrap in cold water for 30 to 60 minutes before wearing it to provide hours of cooling relief on hot days or during high exertion.
What individuals might find cooling neck wraps most useful?
The cooling neck wrap is a useful fashion accessory for bicyclists, blacktop pavers, bricklayers, dog walkers, farmers, fishermen, gardeners, highway construction workers, horseback riders, joggers, lifeguards, marathoners, military personnel, parade participants, roofers, triathletes and others who exert themselves outdoors in hot weather.
In addition, those with heat-affected medical conditions (such as multiple sclerosis) and women facing menopausal hot flashes often find cooling neck wraps to provide welcome relief from overheating.
Some pet owners place cooling neck wraps on their dogs for outdoor exercise on hot and humid days, although they must be sure to prevent their pets from chewing on these items.
Cooling neck wraps may be purchased in sporting goods stores and online, with prices ranging from $5.00 to more than $25.00. However, a cooling neck wrap is quite easy to make, offering considerable cost savings and unlimited color choices.
What materials are needed to create a cooling neck wrap?
A few essential items are required for producing a cooling neck wrap. In fact, once purchased, most of these components will be enough to make several of the refreshing summer fashion accessories – for gifts or personal use.
Cooling neck wrap supplies: Water-absorbing polymer crystals
Water-absorbing polymer crystals are available at garden supply stores, as well as online. E-tailers offering water-absorbing polymer crystals include Crystals,US, High Country Gardens, Rainbow Crystal Soil, Steve Spangler Science, Super Crystals, Water Gel Crystals and more.
These gel-like crystals, which absorb an amazing amount of water (up to 500 times their own dry weight), may be frozen and refrozen to provide the chilling feature of the do-it-yourself cooling neck wrap.
Cooling neck wrap supplies: 100 percent cotton fabric.
One cooling neck wrap requires a 4.5″ strip of 45″ wide all-cotton woven fabric. A single yard of cotton fabric (such as broadcloth, calico, chambray, gingham, poplin or shirting) will make eight cooling neck wraps.
Cooling neck wrap supplies: Sewing machine and notions
Additional materials needed to make a cooling neck wrap include a sewing machine, as well as a ruler (or tape measure), a pair of scissors, a steam iron, several straight pins and a spool of thread.
Here are simple, step-by-step instructions for making a cooling neck wrap.
First, lay fabric flat on a counter, table or other flat surface. Begin at the fold, and measure and cut a 4.5″ strip of fabric.
Iron fabric strip flat.
Fold fabric strip in half, lengthwise, with right (colored) sides together. Iron folded fabric strip flat.
Pin selvages (rough edges), with pins positioned perpendicular (at a 90-degree angle) to fabric selvages.
Use a sewing machine to straight-stitch the pinned selvages together. Leave narrow edges open, creating a long tube of fabric.
Pin a large safety pin to one narrow end of the fabric tube. Pull safety pin through fabric tube to turn fabric tube right side out.
Iron fabric tube flat.
Fold fabric tube in half (width-wise) to find the center. Machine-stitch straight across this point.
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Use a small funnel to fill one half of the fabric tube with a small amount of water-absorbent polymer crystals. (Filling half of a cooling neck wrap will take approximately ½ of a teaspoon.) Do not overfill the fabric tube, as the water-absorbent polymer crystals will expand a lot when moistened.
Beginning at the center seam on the fabric tube, measure and mark 16 inches on the filled side. Machine-stitch straight across this point.
Repeat the filling and finishing steps on the other end of the fabric tube.
On each end of the fabric tube, tuck raw edges into opening and iron them flat. Machine-stitch straight across this point (on both ends).
Steep finished cooling neck wrap for at least half an hour in clean, cold water. Gently squeeze excess water out of cooling neck wrap, so it is not soppy, but still quite damp.
Tie cooling neck wrap around neck for instant relief.
How to re-chill the cooling neck wrap.
The cooling neck wrap may be cooled in a refrigerator, if it becomes too warm to be effective (as after several hours in hot weather). Often, however, a re-steeping in clean, cold water is sufficient to provide chilling relief with the cooling neck wrap.
The cooling neck wrap makes a wonderful gift.
Cooling neck wraps are speedy to stitch, and these practical items are simple to ship. As such, the cooling neck wrap is a super gift idea for anyone who spends time in hot environments.
Here’s a tip for gift-giving with the cooling neck wrap. Skip the water submersion step, wrapping and giving the cooling neck wrap in its lighter, dryer form. Include instructions for wetting and chilling the cooling neck wrap to activate it.