Weighted Blanket Tutorial!




Hi, all!

I wrote this tutorial to fill a gap I found on line - no matter where I looked, I could not find a simple-to-understand tutorial for an economical, completely adjustable weighted blanket for children with sensory issues such as autism.  So I decided to write one.  This tutorial is the result.  I think it is simple enough for even a beginning sewer, can be made very inexpensively, and is completely adjustable in weight, so it can grow with the child.  I would welcome your feedback if you use the tutorial - please let me know of any changes or corrections you would make, and I'd love to see pictures!!


Adjustable Weighted Blanket Tutorial

Finished size:  30” x 48”, six inch grid with 40 pockets

Materials Requirements:  
1 queen size flat sheet or 6 yards 44-45” wide fabric for 
weighted blanket
3 yards fabric for the “duvet” cover for the weighted blanket 
 4 2.5" pieces of grosgrain ribbon
 4 8" pieces of narrow ribbon
80 sandwich size zip bags (do not use quart storage bags - they are too big!)
Thread
Frixion pen or other water soluble fabric marking pen
(Frixion pens are sold in office supply stores; they are
marketed as erasable pens, but when you iron over 
the marks on fabric, they disappear.  Excellent for 
marking fabric, and they come in many colors!)
Poly beads (sold in craft stores for making stuffed animals)
Food or postage scale
Drinking straw

UPDATE:  I have updated the pictures in this tutorial to make it easier to see how the pieces go together.  The parts are shown in different colors.  The colors used for each part is indicated in red in the tutorial.

Cut from flat sheet or fabric:
8 strips 32” x 7” (lavender)
16 strips 32” x 9” (8 in blue, 8 in yellow)
1 piece 32” x 49” (pink)

Cut from cover fabric:
1 piece 32” x 50”
1 piece 32” x 56”

Step 1:  Fold the 9” strips in half lengthwise and press.  You will now have 16 strips 31” x 4 1/2”.

Left to right - 7" strips, 9" "A" strips folded in half,
9" "B" strips folded in half.


Step 2:  Make a “sandwich” of one 32” x 7” strip (lavender), one "A" strip (blue), one "B" strip (yellow), and one 32” x 7” strip (lavender).  Match the raw edges at the top of the sandwich.  



Stitch the long raw edge side using a 1/2” seam.  Make 4 sets.  Press the seam open, with one 7” strip and one folded strip to each side.  You should now have 4 sets and 8 folded strips.


Step 3:  Repeat the process using two of the units you just created .  Make 2 sets.  Press seams open in the same manner.

Step 4:  Repeat the process using the two units you just created.  Press the seam open in the same manner.  You should now have one piece measuring approximately 32” x 49”, and two folded strips.  



Sew one folded strip to the top by laying it against the top edge with the folded edge facing toward the bottom of the blanket.  Repeat on the bottom of the blanket, folded edge facing up.




Step 5:  Layer the folded pieces in pairs, with the upper one over the lower one on each row.  This will create an envelope closure for the weights.  



Pin along the outside edge, securing each flap overlap and the open seams. Stitch 1/4” from the edge on each side to secure the flaps and seams. 

Step 6:  Cut four pieces of 3/4" grosgrain ribbon, approximately 2.5" long.  Fold the pieces in half, and pin them to the top and bottom of the pocket unit at the corners as shown, approximately 1" from the edge of the blanket.


Take the 32” x 49” piece (pink) and lay it on the pocket side of the blanket, matching corners and raw edges.  Pin and stitch around the blanket, leaving an 8” opening in the center of the bottom for turning.  



Clip corners.  Turn and press.  



Stitch as close to the edge as possible all the way around the blanket, securing the opening left for turning and stabilizing the edges.

Step 7:  Lay the blanket strip side up on a flat, hard surface.  Using your Frixion pen or water soluble marker, measure 6” in from the long edges of the blanket.  Draw a line from top to bottom of your blanket.  Repeat the process 6” from each of the lines you just drew.  You should now have four lines running lengthwise of your blanket.  Pin across each of the overlaps on each line.  These are your stitching lines for the weight pockets.  Be sure your flaps are well pinned, then stitch on those lines.



Step 8:  To remove the marking lines on your blanket, either spritz with water (for water soluble markers) or press with a hot iron if you used a Frixion marker.

Step 9:  Determine the weight needed for your blanket.  The formula is body weight x 10% plus 1 pound.  So for a 40 pound child:  40 x 10% = 4 +1 = 5 pounds.  Convert 5 pounds to ounces:  5 x 16 = 80 ounces.  Divide by 40 pockets:  80 / 40 = 2 ounces per pocket.

Step 10:  Measure out your poly beads into sandwich bags.  A postage scale or food weight scale is great for this.  Remove the air from the bags as much as possible with a drinking straw (be sure not to suck up a bead!!), close up the bag and spread the beads out as evenly as possible.  

Double bag the weight, removing the air from the second bag as well.  Place one weight in each pocket, fitting it into the corners of the pocket.



You can also make permanent weights using fabric.  Cut 80 fabric squares the size of your smallest pocket (usually the ones on the corners).  


Match the squares in pairs, and using a serger, close three sides of the bags.  Measure your filler beads and fill a pocket with the correct weight, then serge the final side closed.  Repeat for all the weights.

Making the Cover:

Step 1:  Take one of the two cover pieces, and turn 1/2” on one end.  Press.  Turn down another 1/2”, making an enclosed hem.  Press.  Stitch close to the rolled edge to secure the hem.  Repeat on the other cover piece.  Each piece will now have one hemmed end.  


Now take two 8" pieces of thin ribbon and mark the center of each piece.  On the shorter piece, attach them at top edge of each corner (approximately 1" in from the edges) and stitch down using multiple lines of stitching for strength.  These will be used to tie the weighted blanket into the cover.

Step 2:  On the longer of the two pieces, take the hemmed end and fold a 6” flap down to the right side.  You will see the wrong side of the fabric on the flap, over the right side below it.  Press. 


Lay the shorter piece of fabric face on the flapped piece, right sides together.  



At the bottom edge of the cover, pin two more 8" pieces of thin ribbon approximately 1" in from each edge, with the halfway mark of each piece at the seam line.  Leaving the flapped end open, stitch the other three sides using a 1/2” seam.  Turn and press.


Step 3:  Turning the cover turned wrong side out, tie the bottom ties to the loops on the bottom of the weighted blanket.  Turn the cover right side out up over the weighted blanket.  You may have to work it up like a pillowcase, but it is designed to fit snugly so that the blanket doesn’t slip around.  Once the weighted blanket is in place, tie the top ribbon ties to the loops on the top of the weighted blanket, and flip the flap over the open end, covering the top of the blanket.  


You’re done!!!

If you need this tutorial en espanol (in Spanish), it has been translated and posted on UnaNada's website.  You can access it by clicking here.

83 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for making this blanket for my classroom! My students asked to use the blanket. While we were using it, I noticed that there needs to be a way to attach the cover to the weighted part of the blanket. Like maybe a snap or a ribbon to tie the two together. Again Thank you SO much! I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. fascinating idea. Can you tell me the purpose of a weighted blanket? And is the "sandwich baggie" durable enough? does it ever come apart?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weighted blankets are used for sensory input for individuals with sensory processing issues, autism spectrum disorder, and sometimes with children with ADHD to help the individual calm.

      Delete
  3. I wonder if a food vacuum seal with some freezer grade plastic might be a good alternative to the sandwich bags for durability. Thanks for the tutorial!!

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  4. I've made these for our GGD. She has sensory problem not related to autism. The Birth to 3 organization loaned me one so I could make our own. I made long sleeves, filled 1 section, stitched over to close then did this for a total of 6 times. I have a button at the top of the section, button hole in the pellet sleeve. This way the sleeve stays in place and the pellets don't shift. To wash remove the sleeve and throw the outside piece in the washer. I closed each section with Velcro. It's suppose to weigh 10% of the childs weight. She's almost 3 and uses one at daycare and home. They are wonderful for those with sensory issues.

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  5. Aqua #33 is my fave!! And I'd love the pdf of your Tennessee plate. My email is spetzie at att dot net

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  6. Sarah this is AMAZING! Thank you for putting in the work to teach us how to make weighted blankets! There are people without sensory problems who enjoy feeling bundled up too and would like this.

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  7. My 33 year old son copes with these sensory issues (high functioning but still sometimes disabling). This tutorial is excellent . . . he's been wanting something like this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. HI! I'm a novice at sewing. I am confused about the steps 3 and 4. Do you sandwich the 4.5 between two 7 in strips? and if so, do you sew the folds closed? is that what makes the bottom of the pockets? any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you sandwich two of the 4.5" folded strips between two of the 7" strips. All of your raw edges should be on the same side, and caught in the seam allowance. You make four sets like that. What you will end up with is two 7" strips seamed together, with two of the folded 4.5" strips in between, like pages of a book. You sew those four sets together with more 4.5" strips in between, then fold the strips toward each other over the 7" strips to create the pockets. They will overlap slightly, like an envelope closure on the back of a pillow cover.

      I hope this helps! Looks like I may need to put more pictures or a video with this tutorial…. Let me know if you have any more questions - I'll be glad to help! (PS email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com - you are a no-reply blogger so I can't email you directly!

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This looks like a very interesting tutorial! I've made weighted vests, but have been asked several times about blankets. Might just have to try this one out! :) Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I just sent the link to this to my BFF. She works with special needs kids, and asked me to let her know when your tutorial was done.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm also lost and u please add more pictures to step 3 & 4. It will also be great if u can make a video too

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the great tutorial for the weighted blanket. I found your instructions very good and steps 3 & 4 made more sense to me as I sewed with my fabric pieces.

    My question relates to the plastic bags with zip lock seals. The air was out of the bags last night, but I noticed this morning, the plastic bags had air in them again. Are the fabric weight bags more succesful?

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sally, I've made the fabric weight bags twice now and found them to be pretty simple. I stitch around three sides with a serger, then put the beads in and stitch the fourth side shut. The only problem I've had doing it this way is if I miss catching the edges of the fabric with the serger! The little poly beads are very sneaky and can get out of a small hole.

      Delete
  14. This looks like a great tutorial- I'm trying to make one appropriate for school use (completely washable). I made a lap blanket already using duct tape over the weighted bags so it's wipe-down-able but I can't figure out what fabric to use or how to keep a cover securely on. Any ideas, Fabric Addicts?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Such a beautiful tutorial that is. really very nice.
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  16. I intend to use your tutorial, but I need to upsize the blanket to a twin size, roughly 36x72. I've calculated the amount of pellets needed, and the number of bags, but I'm having trouble figuring how much fabric I will need to purchase for the insert. I considered just purchasing a 2nd queen sized sheet, since I'm fairly certain that will cover it and the "duvet" seems easy enough just to add another yard of fabric to cover the additional two feet of length. Can you help me calculate the correct amount of fabric? I'm not sure if I'm a "no reply" blogger, so my email address is maat.maiden@gmail.com. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I think this is perfect for the growing child.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have seen many Blankets Creator But you guys are seriously such a brilliant makers, I use this techniques and its really work for My Interior Designers

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was making one from charm squares with a backing then adding the pellets. I like this idea much better. That way I don't have to worry about the seams ripping.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've never made a weighted quilt, but I make quilts that are given to the local children's hospital. To keep costs down I try to use repurposed fabrics when possible, usually thrift store finds. My nearest thrift store tends to get a lot of yardage of the nasty synthetic double knits from the 70's. When they have large enough pieces I buy them to use as filler instead of quilt batting. The firmness of the knit means minimal quilting needed, and it is WARM fabric. It also makes for very heavy quilts. While not adjustable, it might be a good option for other home quilters/crafters who find they have need of a weighted blanket.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was wondering if you could give me some advice. The ziploc bags will not stay in my pockets but it may be because I tweaked the design as I found out I would be shy in materials. I would still like to keep it adjustable if possible and not have to stitch everything down. Do you think if I make bean bags out of material rather than plastic bags that they will stay in better?
    The problem comes when I pull it up on me sitting on the couch and it gets folded and shifted around to move it.
    I had planned to make an insert with your design to sew inside the 42" x 77" zippered cover. The Queen size sheet I tried was not enough material. I skimped on the design and just cut individual 42" sections to tack together. I cut 11- 17" x 42" strips and folded in 5" on each side to overlap, then basted into 7" sections for the pockets. I tacked these sections together one next to the other to make up the length of the zippered case. I sewed it all in along the perimeter of the zippered cover, filled with weighted Ziploc bags skipping the edge pockets, turned it inside out and zipped it shut.
    Looked great but the had the problem on moving it much. For now have put 3 quilting knots down the center and am handling it carefully.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'd like to make one of these blankets for my adult daughter. I saw Autumn Cabral's question above re help with quantity of fabric for a twin-size blanket, but did not see a reply. Can you please advise how much fabric to purchase for a twin-size blanket. My e-mail is suehoffman700@gmail.com Thank you!

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  22. This is a great idea. However, we could use a LOT more pictures ... I don't understand the purpose of the 6" diagonal flap, etc. I'm no novice ... I'm 62 and I've been sewing since I was twelve! Show how to tie the cover to the weighted portion, etc. Thank you!

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Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!