Hi ya'll! as you know, my daughter Serena was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome last year. It has been a hard road, but with therapy we have come a long way. As a sewist, I have been able to make items for her use, including the miracle that is the weighted blanket. Any child with Sensory Issues (and adults, I love her weighted blanket, it is relaxing!) can benefit from one. See, Serena had major sleep issues. She would not settle down and night, and would wake a few times at night and wake us a few times a night. So her therapist recommended a weighted blanket, and OMG we are now a sleeping house! I made ours, which is more affordable, and now have a group of wonderful women in my Local Quilt Guild making them for children in our county! Our biggest expense are the poly pellets. I order poly pellets online, and have found a seller on eBay who does free shipping at the best prices.
Anyway, here is a quick tutorial on how we are making them. They really are a necessity for children with Sensory issues, and sometimes are priced out of a family's reach, since they are not covered by most insurances.
First, ask your therapist what weight for the child. Most do 10% of the child's weight, but a few children have been recommended less, and a few more.
Next, chose your fabric. This blanket is for a 7 year old girl, so I have 2 cuts of a yard and a quarter fabric.
This will make sense to quilters, if you are not a quilter someone at your local fabric store can help you! You need to square up your pieces, but also make sure they are exactly the same length. I do this by laying them on top of each other after they are pressed and folded. I have to use a bit more pressure with my rotary cutter, but it is worth it!
Next, you open the folded pieces and make sure they are the same width, since all fabrics are a little different. To cut the Salvage edge, I open so the salvages are together for both fabrics, the refold so I can cut them on the mat, like you would if you were cutting sashing from a directional print!
Just be really careful to get the folded sides lined up together.
Put fabrics pretty side to pretty side (right sides together) and stitch the sides and bottom, leaving the top open for the poly pellets!
Measure the width of your blanket. If it is divisible (or close) by 4 or 5 or 6, you have your square size! I like to aim for 5, which this one is!
Fold in half and press. e will use the center mark to start. Then measure the half length to double check your square size. Not all squares have to be perfect, some might be a quarter inch off because of the width, that's OK!
My squares will be 5 inches, so I open my fabric and start with marking the center crease. Then I measure 5 inches from that line on each side, and continue until all my vertical lines are done!
Then, starting at the bottom, measure up 5 inches, and create your horizontal marks. Keep going until you have only about 6 inches left at the top. See, they are 5 inches apart!
It is REALLY important to leave room at the top. You are working with heavy beads, and need the extra room for the last row. If not, they will just all spill out!!!
Next we are going to sew our Vertical lines. I also seam the sides and bottom, but the sides only to your last marking at the top, because you will stop there and create your folded edge later.
For each seam, start at the bottom, reinforce with a few back stitches, and go only to the last marked line, so there will be about 6 inches at the top!
When all lines are sewn, you are ready to measure out the poly pellets and fill. Oh this is fun! First, break out either a mailing scale or a food scale.
Measure the weight of the beads you need. This was a 6 lb, but I have pellets in 4 lb bags, so Here is my first bag!
Now you have to figure out how much each square needs. convert pounds to ounces, and then count your squares. I had 72 squares, so 6 pounds is 96 ounces divided by 72 squares, each square needs 1.33 ounces of pellets!
Grab a bathroom cup or small cup (this is a top from a shaving cream can), zero your scale for it, and measure your per square pellet amount.
Measure out the amount for one square to see where it is at your cup. My cap has ridges, so I know that at approximately the second ring from the top is the amount I need. If I was using a paper cup, I would draw a line with a sharpie. Then start filling the pellets into the channels! Put the same amount in each channel all the way across, then sew your horizontal lines. This gets tricky, you have to shake all the beads to the bottom of the pockets, then keep the weight of the pellets on your sewing table so it won't pull, and use your hands to keep the pellets very far away from your needle!
I sew with the pellets to the left of the machine, carefully moving the pellets left away from the needle. I also use my walking foot.
Continue this until your last row. It will start to be a struggle and be really heavy! The best advice I can give you is go slow. sew the last horizontal line, making sure you cross your vertical seams! then take it to the cutting table and cut the extra off, leaving about an inch or so to turn in on itself to create a finished edge.
Pin and sew! I sew at a few spots.
First close to the edge, then once down the center.
All done! feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Happy Sewing!