I have been meaning to blog about making a weighted blanket for a while and I was about to write instructions for a friend on how to make one so I thought that perhaps a blog post would serve it better. This is now September and the blanket was made in April so some details may be a bit sketchy.
For those of you who don’t know what a weighted blanket is – I didn’t know too much until recently myself – it’s technically a quilt, pocket-stitched, that has weights in the form of beads etc, distributed throughout the blanket. Children, and adults, that have sensory issues (which often goes along with autism spectrum disorders) or sleep problems can benefit greatly from them. They don’t have to be restricted to night-time use. If a child is having a meltdown/shutdown, or simply is feeling overloaded from a sensory point of view, the blanket can be very calming.
I felt that one of my sons would respond well to one but the cost of most of them is prohibitive. I researched them and found that they could be easily made if you were any way good with a sewing machine. I can knit but sewing is not my forte by any stretch of the imagination. In spite of this, myself and Gerard, my husband, decided that we’d try our best and see how we got on. One of the Mums from a Facebook group I belong to had made one and explained how she made it so she inspired me to give it a go.
I bought a single duvet cover for €11 in Penneys. I got my son to pick out one he liked so that it would be a colour and theme that he would enjoy. We went with robot. I could have used the front and back of the duvet cover for the blanket but my son loves soft things so I bought the coordinating fleece blanket in Penneys at €6 to use for the underside of the blanket which left the blanket soft & gentle next to his skin. I bought some wadding in Hickeys (I can’t remember the cost but it wasn’t expensive.
I ripped the seam of the duvet so that the front and back came away from each other. I also cut the seam off around the edge of the blanket as it would have made it too bulky to sew.I then laid the fleece blanket on to the front of the duvet and with some tailor’s chalk, I drew a line on the duvet so that the size of both were the same. I did the same with the wadding but folded it over on the double.
With the right sides of the fleece blanket and duvet cover facing each other, and the wadding aligned up with the edges, I sewed along the three outer sides to make a kind of pocket out of the fabrics. This left me with just one opening along the top edge of the fabrics. I then turned the fabrics “inside out” so that the right side of the fleece blanket and the duvet were visible and the wadding was on the double inside those fabrics.
I sewed five vertical lines (divided up evenly) down the cover of the duvet, making sure the four layers were sewn together. This gave me six channels in total. I then marked, using tailor’s chalk, five evenly-spaced horizontal lines so that I knew where to sew across when it came to that stage.
I had estimated that I needed about 3.6 kg of beads for the blanket so I reckoned that a 6 x 6 set of pockets (36 in total) would be handy for filling as I would need 100 g of beads in each pocket. I measured 100 g of beads on my scales and found a glass in the press that it fitted exactly into so that I could just use a glassful of beads for every pocket instead of having to weigh each amount individually.
I poured a glassful of beads into each of the six channels and then shook the quilt so that those beads went to the bottom. I sewed across the first of the horizontal lines which sealed those beads in the bottom row of pockets. I repeated this process until all six rows, or 36 pockets were completed. I folded over the top of the quilt and sewed it tight.
Things to look out for are – the wadding was difficult to keep in line with the fabric. It puckered up several times and we had to re-do it. Also, if the sewing machine needle hit a bead, the needle broke. We went through a fair few needles so make sure to have some spare ones just in case.
Ours is very amateurish looking but it serves its purpose well. All in all it cost us between €20 – €30; my son adores it and uses it every night so it was well worth the bit of effort. It helps calm him and makes him feel secure – just what we all need!