See that smiling girl right there? That’s the proud face of crafty accomplishment! You see, I’ve suffered from migraines and chronic headaches for years. Although I’ve got a few go-to over-the-counter drugs to help ease the pain, sometimes I really hate having to rely on medicine to cure my headaches. Instead, over the years, I’ve learned that a simple ice pack held down over my head with a beanie helps ease the pain without pills.
The only problem with my at-home method was that the ice pack would slip all over the place whenever I moved around—it would rarely stay in place. So, after chatting things over with my clever husband, John and I came up with the concept of a built-in beanie ice pack. The idea was simple: hand-stitch a piece of felt to the inside of a beanie to create a pocket for my ice pack to slip into. After months of putting this project off, I finally decided now was the time, and I sat down to craft my own cure for a migraine. Read on for the full step-by-step DIY tutorial!
Here’s What You’ll Need
- Knit beanie
- Piece of scrap felt (try to somewhat match the color of your felt to your beanie)
- Thread (again, try to match the color of your thread to your beanie)
- Paper clips or pins
- Flat ice pack
Pull the beanie down over your head, and slip four paper clips between the knitting of the beanie where you would generally like to situate the ice pack—one for each corner. I tended to rest my own ice pack toward the front of my head for comfort, so I kept that in mind as I chose placements for my paper clips. Once all four paper clips are in place, you can take the beanie off and set it aside.
Lay the ice pack flat on your piece of scrap felt so that you can get an idea of how large to trim the felt. You can either eyeball your cuts, or use a marker to trace the pack and then cut it out. Keep in mind that you’ll need to cut the felt about half an inch longer and wider than the ice pack to allow for stitching in Step 3.
Flip the beanie inside out. Thread your needle with the thread you chose, and using your paper clips as a guide, hand-stitch the felt to the inside of the beanie. I just used a very simple straight stitch since I’m a beginner sewer, but feel free to do whatever type of stitch you’re most comfortable with. If you closely matched the color of the thread to the color of your beanie, you won’t really notice the stitches on the outside of the hat.
Note that you’ll need to leave one short side of the felt unstitched to allow room to insert the ice pack when finished (think: pillow case).
Once you’ve reached the end of the third side of your felt, knot the thread to secure it on the inside of the beanie. Remove the push pin place-holders.
With the beanie flipped right side out again, gently hold the newly-stitched inner felt pocket open and slip your chilled ice pack into the beanie. Then, you’re all done and ready to put the ice pack beanie to good use when you come down with another headache! You can either choose to keep the full set-up (beanie and ice pack together) in the freezer until needed, or just keep the ice pack frozen and store the beanie with your other cold weather accessories.
I’ve already used my newly stitched built-in beanie ice pack on a number of head-aching occasions, but the cool thing that I don’t think I even anticipated is that I can still wear the knit beanie sans ice pack when I’m headed outside on a cold day. The empty felt pocket sits flush against my head and isn’t noticeable from the outside, so the beanie is wearable with or without the ice packed inside.
Are you a sufferer of migraines or chronic headaches? If so, I really hope you give this simple project a try! If you’re not sure you would use the permanent built-in set-up often enough, try just slipping an ice pack inside a plain beanie to test out the theory. It worked for me for years, but I’m really excited to finally upgrade to a DIY built-in system.