How to Make a Weighted Blanket

I made a weighted blanket a few months ago for myself, and just finished making one for Ianthe. I know a lot of my friends are interested in making one because they’re so expensive to buy, so I figured I’d make a guide. Ianthe graciously allowed me to use pictures of xer blanket, so thanks! :)

Estimated time: maybe 10 or 20 hours?
Skill level: well it was my first time using a sewing machine, so…
Cost: depending on the quality of the fabric and the weight of the blanket, anywhere from $50-$100. To make it cheaper you could repurpose blankets from a thrift store as opposed to buying new fabric
You will need: 

  • Fabric - I used two outer layers, each 44” x 2.5yd, and two pieces of muslin of the same size for the lining for extra durability. I recommend at least one of the outer layers being plaid or some other pattern with even vertical and horizontal lines. You’ll see why later.
  • Poly pellets - The rule of thumb for a blanket is 1/10 your body weight, plus one pound, but I wouldn’t mind having mine a bit heavier. Unlike sand or stone, these are non-porous so they are washable and won’t harbor mold. I found the cheapest ones here. You can get 17lbs for about $30
  • A sewing machine, thread, and pins
  • A kitchen scale (not necessary but it will make it a lot easier)
  • a bunch of identical cups (I used 7, and once again, not necessary, but it will make it easier)

First, sew the lining to the inside of each of the two outer layers of fabric on all four sides.

I first laid them out flat and pinned them together along the sides to make sure they were lined up. This can take some time, but it’s worth it to not have an uneven blanket.

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then, sew along all four sides, as close to the edge as possible, removing the pins one by one as needed to sew it. If you remove too many at once the blanket’s alignment can shift and it won’t be matched up correctly. Be careful though, I forgot to remove one of the pins and broke the needle on my sewing machine when I sewed over it by mistake.

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Then, sew the two pieces together, inside out, on three sides

Line up the two pieces, now sewed to their linings, so that the patterned fabric is in the center of the blanket “sandwich,” and the lining is on the outside. Doing this inside out will make your blanket look nicer and be more durable because the seams will be on the inside. Pin the pieces together along all four sides, BUT ONLY SEW THREE SIDES SHUT, otherwise you won’t be able to turn it right side out and fill it later. Sew along both of the long sides and one of the short sides.

You want to make sure that you’re sewing further in than the seams used to sew together the outer layer with its lining, because if you sew further out than that seam will show later.

Then, once you’ve sewed the three sides, remove the pins from the fourth side, which is now the “top,” and turn it right side out. You may wish to push on the inside (the lining side) of the corners if they don’t completely turn out, to get a clean 90 degree corner.

This is what it should look like when you’re done with this step:

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Now sew in columns

I sewed 7 columns, but the number you sew is up to you. The more columns you use, the smaller your “pockets” will be, making the weight more evenly distributed, but it will also mean a lot more work.

Begin at the bottom of the blanket, and sew evenly spaced vertical lines up to the top.

This is where it comes in handy to have a blanket with a plaid-like pattern, because then you can use that to determine the width of your columns, though if you don’t have a pattern like that you can measure out increments and use a fabric pencil to mark straight lines along which to sew.

Make sure you sew all the way down and don’t have a “gap” between the seam and the edge of the blanket where pellets can get through. You will probably have a long thread on each side, which I tied together with a few knots and cut short to make sure they wouldn’t unravel.

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Now weigh out your beads to fill the rows

I determined that with the plaid pattern I used for this one that to make squares, given that I had 7 columns, I would need to make 13 rows. Make sure that you factor in a bit of space at the top of your blanket - don’t include about 2 or 3 inches from the top in your calculations; you can always trim the top if there’s too much fabric, but you can’t make more fabric.

Because I needed 13 rows, I weighed the pellets into 13 equal parts. This is where a scale comes in handy. I was using 25lbs of pellets, so I made each part 1.92lbs. I really strongly recommend that you weigh them all out at once first, as opposed to as you need them, because the weight of the pellets you receive may not be exactly as advertised (I think this ended up being more like 26 or 27lbs), and your scale may not be completely accurate, so by sorting them all out first you can evenly distribute excess or take the same amount from each if you come out a bit short, avoiding the problem of getting to the last row and not having nearly enough or having way too much left.

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Next, fill the columns and make rows

Because there were 7 columns in this blanket, I divided a bag of pellets that was 1/13 of the pellets into 7 equal parts (giving a seventh of a thirteenth of the total weight, or 1/91). 

Instead of trying to use a scale to get that much accuracy for such a low weight, I purchased some disposable cups that were only a couple bucks, and filled 7 of them to the same height. When I had a light behind them they were thin enough that I could crouch down to get them at eye level to make sure they were even, though how you choose to do it is up to your discretion.

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Then, pour the contents of each cup into each column and shake the top of the blanket to make sure to get them down to the bottom. If there are a couple that don’t get down to the bottom it’s not a huge deal, but try to make sure most of them do.

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The next step is to sew your first row, a horizontal seam, sewing the first set of pellets inside. 

I let the side with the beads hang off the edge of the sewing machine so that gravity would keep the pellets from getting on the wrong side of the seam. Be careful that you are checking to make sure that you’re not accidentally going to sew over a pellet, because stray ones often end up in the place you’re sewing. If one ended up where it shouldn’t be I just pushed it away to the part where all the other pellets were.

Then repeat this process with all the rows until you’ve sewed columns to the top of the blanket.

I kept the side with the pellets on the left, and the fabric without the pellets as the part under the arm of the machine because it’s what I found to work best.

As I sewed more rows I rolled the pellet side to take up less space and allow gravity to keep the pellets hanging on the side of the machine instead of being flat on the platform, keeping them from getting in the way of the needle or ending up on the wrong side of the seam.

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Last step! Sew the top of your blanket closed.

I ripped the seams that were at the top of the columns a bit, so they only extended to about 2” from the top of the blanket. Then I tucked the fabric inside so that the edges of the fabric would be on the inside. Then I pinned it shut like that, tucking the corners inside so it would lie flat. Then I sewed it closed like that, and made two seams to give it a bit more structural support.

I didn’t take a pictures of that part of Ianthe’s blanket before I gave it to xer, but this is what it looks like on mine 

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Enjoy your weighted blanket! (mostly just including these pics because I cannot handle how adorable Ianthe and it makes me super happy that xe likes xer blanket :D )

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P.S. if anyone has any questions or would like clarification, feel free to send me an ask and I’ll try my best to be helpful.

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    As an aspie, I find weighted blankets to be pretty much the best thing EVER, and they really help me feel more...
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    OMG Pockets! I could fill boyfriend’s side with the heavy stuff and leave mine alone! Yesssss!
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