Over the years I have heard a lot about weighted blankets. I had thought about making one but I never did. However, when Thing 2 started to have problems falling asleep I decided to research weighted blankets and make him one.
It took me a couple of attempts through trial-and-error to make the weighted blanket exactly how I felt it should be constructed. This resulted in Thing 1 and myself also getting weighted blankets! I must say that they are truly wonderful and relaxing!
Weighted blankets can be somewhat expensive. I take extra care, as you will see below, when making my weighted blankets so that the material does not slide around during construction and stays even. I take care to make sure that I use double seams for added stability. Since weighted blankets can be expensive I try my best to make sure that the customer has exactly the weighted blanket that they desire. This is why I work with a customer so that they can pick out the pattern for their top fabric to make the blanket more personable to them. I also offer an embroidery option to have a person’s name embroidered in the top corner of the blanket. (I will be using pictures from different projects in this blog post. Some pictures are from weighted blankets and some are from weighted lap pads)
When I make a weighted blanket I use a cotton fabric for the top of the blanket and a matching color of minky fabric for the back. I also use a layer of medium weight quilt batting inbetween the layers of fabric.
I begin the process by measuring and cutting my fabric to the size that I need. Once I have them measured and placed together I then start pinning the fabric pieces by placing a line of pins in the center of the fabric. I then pin a square around the perimeter of the fabric and possibly a second time around depending on how big the blanket measures.
Finally, I use small clips and I clip the two pieces of fabric together all around the edges placing the clips about one inch apart. I do this for both weighted blankets and weighted lap pads. This is very time consuming but it is an important step. The minky fabric slides very easily and without all of the pinning and clips the blanket would come out very crooked.
Once I have the blanket pieces pinned and clipped I sew around the two long sides and the bottom short side of the blanket using a twin needle. I find that the twin needle and double seam give the blanket extra support and stability for when the poly pellets are added for the weight.
Once I have the blanket pieces sewn together I need to remove all of the clips and pins, trim the corners and turn the blanket right side out. Once that is done I press the seams and then start the pinning process all over again. I clip the top opening of the blanket to keep the minky fabric from slipping during sewing. I re-pin the center and perimeter of the blanket. Once that is completed I top-stitch with the double needle the two long sides and bottom of the blanket adding more stability to the blanket.
When the top-stitching is completed I remove all of the pins and clips and insert a layer of quilt batting.
I then re-clip the top of the blanket closed to keep the fabric and quilt batting even. I lay out the blanket and use dressmaker’s chalk to draw and evenly space the squares on the fabric. This chalk brushes off of the fabric by the time I an done with the blanket. If it hasn’t all come off by the time the blanket is completed I use a damp cloth to remove the rest of the chalk. I then place pins every few inches apart lengthwise following the long chalk lines to keep the fabric from sliding. I use a twin needle and stitch down the long chalk lines on the blanket to make tubes and then I remove the pins. I leave a few of the clips in place at the top of the blanket to keep the blanket opening even.
Now I need to figure out how many poly-pellets I will need. If a customer needs a nine pound blanket and the empty blanket weighs one pound then I know I need eight pounds of poly pellets to make the blanket’s total weight equal to nine pounds. I then have more math to do.
I have to figure out the amount of squares that I need per blanket which I have done in advance for each of my blanket sizes. I then need to determine how many Tablespoons of poly-pellets I need to place in each square. So, using the example above, if I need eight pounds of poly-pellets I take my measuring cup and measure out the poly-pellets into a paper bag. I keep track of how many cups I use and I periodically weigh what I have measured out. Once I reach eight pounds I write down how many cups I measured to reach eight pounds.
Let’s say, for example, I used 24 cups of poly-pellets. I then multiply 24 cups x 15 Tablespoons (because I can fit 15 Tbsp of poly pellets in each cup). That would give me 360 Tablespoons. I now need to know how many squares I will have to fill in my blanket so for this example we will use 55 squares. I then take the 360 Tablespoons and divide it by the 55 squares and I find that I need to use 6.54 Tablespoons, or approximately 6.5 Tablespoons, per square to evenly distribute the weight.
At this point it is time to fill the tubes. Each tube, using the example above, will receive approximately 6.5 Tablespoons of poly-pellets. I use an empty gift wrap tube and a funnel to add the poly-pellets. This makes sure that the poly-pellets will all go to the bottom of the tube without getting stuck on the layer of quilt batting inside the blanket.
Once each tube has the correct amount of poly-pellets I then stitch with my twin needle across the short chalk line which then creates the square which holds all of the poly-pellets. I then repeat that process of adding the poly-pellets to each tube and sewing them into the square until I have filled all of the squares.
I can then finally stitch the blanket closed. Once I finish the last row of squares I add another double-stitched row to the edge of the blanket for added stability.
As you can see, weighted blankets are a lot of work! However, I love the process and the final product. When I had finished my first weighted blanket for Thing 2 he was already in bed asleep. I decided to read on the couch for a little while before I went to bed. I covered up myself using his blanket to try it out and I couldn’t believe how relaxing it felt! I suffer from some anxiety and the weight of the blanket just seemed to really relax me. I made a few adjustments to my pattern and made a weighted blanket for Thing 2. I then made a few more adjustments to my pattern and made myself a weighted blanket using the description above and I am very happy with the outcome.
I have washed our weighted blankets many times. I wash them on the delicate cycle. Once washed I either hang them out to dry on the clothes line or I hang them over the back of a kitchen chair. Now, I will say that I have also put the blankets through the drier on low heat and they turned out fine but I try not to make a habit of it.
The length and width of the blankets that I made for myself and my boys seem to cover us well. The boys are 9 and 10 and they cover up to their shoulders with the weighted blankets. I made them the large blankets which measure 38″x 58″ and I made them at a weight of 8 pounds. For myself, I made the extra-large size which measures 38″x68″ and I made it at a weight of 10 pounds. I am 5’6″ tall and my blanket covers comfortably from my shoulders to my toes. If I turn on my side sometimes I have to readjust the blanket but then it covers my front and back. If you roll around while you sleep part of the blanket may slide off but I have found when I wake up that I am pretty much still covered with the weighted blanket. Now that the weather has turned cold I will sometimes use a second regular blanket when I’m sleeping but the weighted blanket still works well for me. I find that the minky is super soft against my skin and makes the blanket even more cozy!
We are having a rainy and chilly day here so I think that I will take my weighted blanket, a good book and a cup of tea and snuggle up on the couch for a little while!
If you are interested in purchasing one of my weight blankets you can fine them in my Etsy store here.