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! 😉
STEP 1: Order plastic pellets from Amazon.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!