How to Sew a Weighted Blanket

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Weighted blankets can be soothing and calming for anyone with sensory integration issues. Children with autism or attention deficit disorder can benefit from having a blanket weighted especially for them. Allow at least one afternoon to make this project, including filling the bags with weighting material. The time you spend will save money and result in a blanket that can be weighted specifically for the user.

Things You'll Need

  • Blanket fabric
  • Pocket fabric
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Hook-and-loop fastener
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic doll pellets or flax seed

Preparing the Blanket Fabric

Cut two pieces of the blanket fabric to the size needed, plus 1/2 inch on all sides for a seam allowance.

Press the 1/2-inch seam allowance to the wrong side of the fabric along one short edge, on both pieces of fabric.

Cut a piece of hook-and-loop fastener measuring 1 inch narrower than the fabric width.

Separate the two sections of the hook-and-loop fastener. Place the gripper section on one pressed seam allowance, starting 1/2 inch in from the end, and sew it down, ending 1/2 inch from the other end.

Sew the smooth section of the fastener to the other pressed seam allowance in the same manner.

Preparing the Pocket Fabric

Cut a piece of the pocket fabric to the same measurements as the blanket fabric.

Cut the piece of pocket fabric into 5-inch-wide strips. If your fabric doesn't divide evenly by five and you have a narrow piece left over, discard it or save it for another project.

Press under 1/2 inch along both long edges of each strip.

Hem one long edge of each strip along the pressed-under seam allowance.

Lay one blanket section wrong side up with the hook-and-loop fastener at the top. Pin the pocket strips to the blanket section, starting at least 1 inch below the hook-and-loop fastener. Place the hemmed edges of the strips at the top and the unhemmed edges at the bottom. Allow approximately the same distance between each strip. Leave at least 1/2 inch at the bottom of the blanket for the seam allowance.

Sewing the Blanket

Sew the pocket strips to the sides of the blanket using the 1/2-inch seam allowance as the sewing line. Sew the bottom of each strip to the blanket along its bottom unhemmed edge, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Sew straight seams along the length of the blanket section and pinned pocket-fabric strips to create the pockets, keeping the seams approximately the same distance apart.

With the right sides of the blanket fabric together (the pockets will be facing you), sew the blanket sections together along the side edges and the bottom, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Leave the edges with the hook-and-loop fastener open.

Turn the blanket right side out.

Divide the total weight needed for the blanket by the number of pockets in your blanket. Fill baggies with plastic doll pellets or flax seed and slip them into the pockets. Close the blanket with the hook-and-loop fastener.

Tips & Warnings

  • A lap blanket usually measures from 28 to 32 inches wide and 36 inches long. Blankets measure 66-by-90 inches for twin size, 70-by-90 inches for full size, 96-by-96 inches for queen size and 108-by-90 inches to 108-by-96 inches for king size.
  • If you're making a standard-sized weighted blanket, it may be simpler to use ready-made blankets for this project.
  • If you're making a blanket for a child, you can add weight as the child grows by removing the bags and adding more weighting material.
  • Occupational therapists have determined the correct ratio of blanket weight to body weight. Be sure to determine the correct weight for your blanket.
  • Remove the weighted bags before washing and drying your blanket.
  • Avoid using rice, beans or other foods as weighting material since they can become moldy.

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