Weighted Blanket Tutorial

Ahhhh, nothing like a gentle hug to soothe and calm us! Weighted blankets can provide that same calming effect for lots of kids with sensory issues. They are not cheap to buy, though it’s possible to cut expenses by making your own at home. There are directions at several sites online, but the best tutorial I’ve found was written by Weeks Ringle. She includes the secret bit of information no one else will tell you—how to calculate the weight of a blanket based on the child’s weight! Of course there is the disclaimer that you should check with your child’s doctor or physical therapist, but at least you get a ballpark estimate so you can purchase enough filler for your project. She even includes a downloadable PDF of directions to follow as you sew (or to pass on to a sewing family member when they ask “what can I do to help you, dear?”).
The ideal filler material, both for washability and mold-resistance, is poly-pellets. I really like the ones made by Fairfield because they are smooth beads without any sharp edges to wear the fabric thin. They aren’t cheap, though, as a blanket that weighs 8-10 pounds may cost you more than $60 by the time shipping is added. Search around online for “Fairfield Poly Pellets” for the best price; the bargains and free shipping incentives change from one day to the next. [At this writing (Nov. 22, 2010), the best buy I found online for 10-lb bags was $29.95—free shipping within the USA—from BattMart.com].

Here’s a picture of the weighted blanket my daughter helped her caregiver sew (what better way for them to spend a long drizzly spring afternoon?). The caregiver operated the sewing machine while my daughter controlled the power using her switch and a power interrupter. Great fun was had by all. One side of her blanket is snuggly flannel for cooler days and the other is quilting cotton for warmer weather. I don’t advise sewing stretchy PolarFleece to quilting cotton unless you are highly comfortable with sewing…it’s kind of like mixing oil and water.
Without further ado, here is Weeks Ringle’s awesome tutorial for sewing a weighted blanket!

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An added tip I learned from Tracy M. at Dandelion Mama is to use a knitting needle or pencil to hold the poly beads aside while you sew. It makes it less likely for them to roll under the needle as you sew the rows. GREAT tip, Tracy!

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I’ve been working on several tutorials to share with you over the next few weeks. I can hardly wait to get them wrapped up to show you! A sudden freak snow and ice storm brought my work to a halt yesterday, however, and I’ve had to shift priorities. Our kids are home from school, so it will be a delightful day of holiday baking and board games. The fabric errands and sewing will have to wait for a warmer day…but do keep checking back!
Also, our young goats needed coats—NOW—for temperatures dipping into the teens with a wind chill driving those numbers even lower. I spent yesterday afternoon whipping out a couple coats for our little hoofed buddies. If anyone else needs a great “goat coat” pattern, check out Pat Hendrickson’s pattern and instructions . I love this pattern because it stays in place without a belly band…which anyone who owns goat will appreciate.

Everyone stay warm...goaties included!

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