Thursday, December 22, 2016

Weighted Blankets

I recently heard about weighted blankets - They are used especially for children with sensory or other processing issues such as autism, ADHD, etc.  

Recently the blankets have shown promise for use with adults.  This link is to a company that manufactures weighted blankets, and includes a very long list of symptoms/syndromes/situations that a weighted blanket helps.  There is something about being surrounded by weight that helps a person - any person - to relax.

I was especially interested in this because my son has long had to deal with various tics that have ebbed and flowed over the years.  He actually received the diagnosis of Tourette's at one time, although we hesitated to commonly use that term for several reasons.  When he was in junior high and high school, I did not want him "labeled" for a set of symptoms that ranged in intensity, never severe and sometimes nonexistent.  So I did not use the term openly.  Furthermore, the term brings to mind other very serious symptoms, most often associated with involuntary swearing, which is rare, and which my son has never experienced.  

But he has still had to deal with recurring tics from time to time.

Anyway, I decided last week to make my son a weighted blanket for Christmas.  I started with a purchased duvet cover from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  This decision did simplify the whole project, because the side and bottom seams were already completed, and it was finished at the top, turned under and hemmed, with buttons attached.  It would have been a much bigger project if I had had to do all that as well.

This was all an experiment - no pattern involved.  I sewed twelve columns in the duvet cover, five inches apart, from bottom to top, leaving a 14-inch drop on both sides. I then sewed across the bottom of the cover, about five inches up from the bottom, so that there would be a slight flap at the bottom before the weighting started.

I got crushed stone from Jo-Ann Fabrics, in 2-pound packages.  (This week that store has FOUR 50% off coupons that I was able to use on my phone, twice.  So the filler was a minimal expense. Plastic pellets would have cost a lot more, as well as would have destroyed my sewing machine needle had it come in contact with just one of those.)  Crushed stone is essentially sand, just a little more coarse.  

I calculated how many squares I would have to fill, and how much rock I planned to use.  (22 pounds, as a blanket is supposed to be between 5 and 10% of someone's body weight.)  That came out to 1.8 ounces per square.  Then I weighed a small measuring cup and figured out with a postal scale what was the volume of 1.8 ounces of crushed stone.  From there on, all I had to do was fill the cup to that point and dump it in each column.  I would fill all twelve columns, shake the stones to the bottom, and sew across the top of the pocket, using a tape measure and chalk to keep every seam approximately five inches apart.  I did this fifteen times, from the bottom of the blanket to a few inches below the button closure.  Then I double-seamed the top for further sealing of all the rock inside.

Here is the project in the works:

And here is the finished weighted blanket, spread across my dining room table:
I gave my son the blanket tonight.  We will see how well it works!!

This was a trial and error experiment.  It would have been easier had my temperamental sewing machine not acted up at first.  But it decided to settle down and cooperate, which made the project much easier to accomplish.

Now my daughter wants one just for general sleeping purposes. . .But my shingle is not hung out, and will not be hung out, for making weighted blankets for the general public!


rk2 said...
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rk2 said...

A lot of work coupled with a lot of love! I'm glad your kids liked it, but you can rest assured I won't be requesting to buy one. The weight of a comforter alone is usually too much weight for me.