Our son Alex has used weighted belts and vests in school and therapies. We have seen success with them and so we wanted him to have the same type of tools here at home. Alex is actually using both his blanket and his lap pad at school each day. We take it between home and school each day. I did some research and found this pattern online to get me started. I decided however to add my personal touches. The following pattern was used to get material measurements and the mathematical equation to figure out the weight disbursement.
I chose to create a blanket based on the baby quilts that my Mom has made for each of my children. I didn't want Alex's blanket to have the stitching visible on the finished project. Using muslin fabric I created the inner portion of the blanket. As follows...
I took 3 yards of fabric and folded it in half. Lay your material our on a flat hard surface. Take a yard stick and measure 4 inch spaces across the top and bottom of the fabric. Use the yard stick to create lines running from the top to the bottom of the fabric. Knowing that I wasn't going to see my lines I used a permanent marker. You goal is to create tubes to feed your weights (Poly Pellets) into. Sew over each of your lines creating your tubes.
Return your material to your flat hard surface and have the material on the opposite side as your lengthwise permanent lines. Create 4 inch marks going up the sides of the material on both sides. Connect the lines going across the material. Because you have already sewn your tubes you will be able to see the grid really well. Once your lines are drawn it is time to do your math problem to figure out how heavy your blanket is going to be. You need to know how much weight to put into each little square. The weight of your blanket has a lot to do with how big your child is. The best thing to do is ask your occupational therapist what they suggest. Alex's is 10lbs, but that might be to heavy for a smaller child.
Once you know your weight of the blanket and of each square set up cups for each tube in your material. Alex's blanket had 11 so we had eleven cups. I would use our scale to measure out the Poly Pellets (washable and nontoxic). After all of the cups were full you send the pellets down the individual tubes. You will use your yard stick to make sure that all the pellets make it to there destination!
Once you have your pellets in you will sew up the material creating little 4 inch squares. Continue the process until you reach the top. On the final level you will want to fill each square one at a time. I highly suggest pinning your pellets into your final row so that as you lay down the blanket to sew it the pellets don't spill out all over the floor (not that that happened to me wink, wink).
As I was talking to my Mom telling her that I had finished the weighted part of the blanket we discussed my wanting to tie the blanket like she had done for her baby blankets. I told her that I was planning to tie it and then sew up the side. She made a fabulous suggestion though...create a pillow case effect and slide the weighted middle into the cover. I love my Mom!!
Lay your fleece out on your hard flat surface. Place your patterned fabric face down on top of the fleece. (You do this so that once you sew around the outside of the material you can turn it inside out and have no seams visible.) You want 3 to 4 more inches of fleece on the top to close the blanket (the very last step). Pin the two pieces of material together and then sew the edges. I doubled my seam (went around the blanket twice) because of the weight of the blanket.
Once you have sewn the edges turn it inside out. Use your yard stick to poke the corners out really well! You can now put your weighted filling into the casing. Lay it out on floor and make sure that everything lines up well.
Once you have everything lined up get a yarn needle and of course yarn of your choice and color. Thread your needle and make sure that your yarn is doubled (your needle should truly be at the middle and the yarn should be equal in length). Start your stitch on the top of the patterned material. Leave 3-4 inches at the end of the thread and then come back up right next to the area you started the stitch at. Once you have pulled all your yarn through feel your way to the next point (which should be 4 inches away) and follow the same steps going down through the fabric and back up. You will have yarn connecting the stitches, but you will cut those directly in the middle and then tie them.
When you have tied your quilt (every 4 inches) you are ready for the final step which is closing the hole at the top. With your extra inches of fleece you can fold over the edges (so it looks clean) and sew down one side of the fleece, across the bottom of the folder over piece and then up the other side. I chose to sew buttons on top of the fleece for the complete look!
Alex had received so much use out of it already. The blanket calms him when he is upset and or worked up and gives him the extra push to be good during circle time and reading.