Sewing a Weighted Blanket

This winter a friend mentioned that she wanted to try a weighted blanket – and since I’ve always wanted to try making one, I did! (Riveting story, eh?)

There are tons of tutorials online, but they mostly seems to focus on making kid-sized blankets. As I learned when I made a king-sized quilt, a larger blanket gets exponentially harder to maneuver on a home sewing machine. I’ve been having RSI wrist pain all winter, so I chose to go for a slow-but-easy process on this!

In other words, I made up my own method! ๐Ÿ˜‰

STEP 1: Order plastic pellets from Amazon.

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STEP 2: I made 48 bean bags! Thats nice and easy, right? I cut rectangles from deep stash mid-weight wovens, and serged them mostly closed. I have to say, this was hands down the funnest sewing I’ve done in a while! So free! So fast! No need to be remotely neat! Awesome.

STEP 3: However, then comes the less fun task of filling them with an equal amount of plastic beads! A wide-neck funnel would have made this easier, but I made do with a little silicone one from my Christmas stocking. Thanks Santa! I didn’t feel like measuring out the exact amount, so I just added some to each bean bag and then went back and added a second round til I was out of pellets.

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STEP 4: Serge the opening shut on all the bean bags.

STEP 5: For my outer blanket, I used an old Indian bedspread which very handily had squares I could use for my design. If you don’t have a geometric fabric, I would highlight recommend you draw out all your vertical and horizontal lines on the fabric. Following your lines, begin by sewing vertical channels from one long edge to the other. drop a bean bag down into each channel, and sew a horizontal line of stitching to keep them in place.

STEP 6: Repeat until you’ve filled up the blanket!

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I chose to put my sewing machine on the floor, and use the “Start/Stop” button instead of the foot pedal. It was tough on my back but easy on my arms because all the pellets stayed on the floor and didn’t pull as I was sewing!

Now, here’s the thing: Every tutorial I saw online suggested that you sew the channels and pour the pellets in directly. But can you imagine the mess that would make? Pellets 1/4 the size of a pea rolling out of one channel as you try to get them in another, and pellets clinging to the fabric and breaking your needle? I feel like my beanbag method was worth the extra effort!

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I’d say the whole thing from start to finish was about 4 hours of work, and I quite enjoyed the process! My friend is quite petite, so I made a large throw size blanket that weighed 10 pounds. I’m not sure that I would tackle a queen or king sized blanket, but a small one was fun!

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Voila! I did try lying under it, of course, as did Jamie and my mom. Our common verdict was, “It’s kinda cosy but not better than lying under a wool blanket!” I didn’t like having to fight to get out from under it, but lying still was nice.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve sewn a weighted blanket before, or if you or your family like using them! There is so much stimulation in the world that I can certainly see the appeal of a nice heavy hug from a blanket!


19 thoughts on “Sewing a Weighted Blanket

  1. Where were you a year ago?!? ๐Ÿ˜‚ Last year I made two, a big one for my husband and a smaller one for one of my sons. I used the method I read about most, sewing channels, getting beads in with a funnel, then sewing across. Beads everywhere! I canโ€™t tell you how many beads I sewed and how heavy the blanket got and what a pain it was! (Both times…seems I learned nothing from my first attempt, but I thought the one for my son would at least be easier since it was smaller. Not really, it just took less time. ๐Ÿ˜…) You should see the โ€œsquaresโ€ on these blankets. Well, the important thing is the work, and my sewing machine still does as well. But if I ever do this again, Iโ€™m totally using your method.

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    1. I honestly can’t even imagine wrangling a really big weighted blanket through the machine! That would be enough to turn you off sewing forever! Have you ever tried washing them? I’m curious how a washing machine would handle all that weight!

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  2. Such an interesting sew! And seems like a very good method you developed there!
    I’d been thinking about trying a weighted blanket for insomnia and RLS but >100โ‚ฌ seemed a bit of a gamble. I might try this. But quick question: From what I’ve heard, the weighted blankets with any effect weigh about thirty kilos or so – would that be too much to sew or did your friends simply not want this? I already have a heavier camel wool blanket, so I definitely head your comments about it not being much difference.

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    1. The recommendations I saw online (and checked with my occupational therapist friend) were for 10-15% of body weight… I figure this blanket is about 10%. I made it a bit smaller to hopefully balance that out – I figure a large blanket spreads out more of the weight onto the bed, and a smaller one condenses more weight onto the body? It’s honestly probably not quite heavy enough, but since I was making it for a friend without her knowing, I figured a $40 experiment was fun, but an $80 experiment was probably too much!

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      1. Thanks, yes, you’re both totally right! Somehow the 30lbs recommendation stuck in my head but poor old metric me simply assumed that would be kilos. Obviously 30kg would be almost 1.5 times as heavy as a full suitcase, so yeah, probably not too relaxing ๐Ÿ˜€
        And wow, you are very generous both with your time and your money! Those beads really add up. I think it’s amazing what you did.
        As always, love your blog. Hope you (and all readers) have a joyful day!

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  3. My mom and I worked together on a weighted blanket for my son this past Christmas. He used to kick off his blankets at night and then get cold, this has helped. We used 2 flannel sheets and flat marbles in little pockets; it’s a lot of tiny pockets but the consistency of the drape is very satisfying. I plan to make a washable outer cover for it, the fabric is all cut out and by the machine, and has been since January..

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    1. Gotta love those projects that marinate next to the machine because they are boring! It sounds like the blanket is lovely though – I bet he feels very safe and loved underneath it!

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  4. This is a terrific tutorial and I love the blanket! You’ve aptly described the joyful act of using up things you own and making something where you get to weigh bean bags. I’m sold. A few things: How did you figure out that you do this with plastic beads and do they just sell plastic beads for this purpose? Are they heavy or voluminous? Also, great way to use your machine for ergonomics! I recommend that peeps who have some kind of brittle bone challenges (arthritis, osteoporosis etc) be careful when using a weighted blanket because you can pull things when trying to move under those blankies! Ask me how I know and I don’t have a weighted blanket – but a duvet cover that weighs 800 pounds (by accident). Finally – I’d love to know what the peri- and menopausal ladies would say about these. Given how many times I’ve tried to fling my 800 pound blanket off myself nightly over the past couple of months, not sure if they’re optimal for the “change” ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Yes! Beware the blanket so heavy it will strain your body just to lift it!
      I just searched Amazon for plastic beads for weighted blankets – there were tons of options, so I went with the cheapest! They are 3mm-ish round balls of whitish plastic – 10lbs filled a box about 40x20x30cm. I really should have taken more pictures during the process! I swear I thought I did, but by time I went to write the post, turns out I didn’t!

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  5. I haven’t made one, but want to. We did buy one for my dad to help with end stages of Parkenson’s to help keep him calm and less fidgety. It helped him a lot, and since both my mother and I tried it and it is VERY calming. As we are both menopausal, neither one of us had a problem with being hot which was nice. The blanket we bought had glass beads, which don’t retain any heat, which may be one reason why. So for those of you wondering about using this when having night flashes, I’d give it a try, and I recommend glass beads! I will be making one form myself very soon.

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  6. Before I sprang for buying a 20 pounder at Christmas, I had planned to make bean bags like your idea, but instead of sewing them into channels(which means all that weight in a washer or just a tub to swish around, I had planned to make slip pockets on one side of a blanket/sheet… meaning once you have the strip of fabric on the bottom, you create another piece that folds from the top so you slip the bean bag in… and then out as needed. Thought this would also allow weight adjustment if needed. I still need to make of but s duvet cover for mine. Love it!

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  7. Bean bags – so smart!!! I’m another one that did the channels and sewing across. Those pellets go everywhere! Such a pain! If I ever make another one I’m totally doing bean bags and using the serger!

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  8. My mom has a very HEAVY wool duvet and I always sleep so well with it (I always sleep better when I can’t move my feet). I wonder if the plastic beads rattle or rustle as the blanket moves; do they?

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  9. My son has insomnia and I bought him a blanket from Amazon. His is 20 pounds. I paid $90 US. I got a lighter one for my mother who also has insomnia and she hated it- she felt trapped. My son likes his. He finds he sleeps better with it. You have to be careful not to get them too big- throw size is perfect. If it hangs off the sides of the bed, it is too big. And you will find it strains your legs with that weight hanging off. I have to make a duvet cover for my son’s blanket now. He’s been spoiled by Grandma’s quilts and isn’t happy with a store bought duvet for it.

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