What’s A Weighted Pocket Quilt?
A Weighted Pocket Quilt is a customized lap quilt for prolonged sitting. They are a perfect solution for anyone with limited mobility! Weighted Pocket Quilts have pockets to hold personal items. Most importantly is my secret to keep them from slipping, falling, or blowing off your lap. How many times do you grab your purse throughout the day? Now imagine sitting with only limited access to what you need. Then envision your arms propelling yourself around instead of your legs. With your hands busy, how do you hang on to your phone, keys, or purse? That’s an incredible challenge and one I was determined to overcome.
Recently, when a wonderful new idea presented itself, I acted on it immediately. I noticed a wheelchair bound co-worker always had a large, heavy towel over her lap. Folded on top was a smaller towel with personal items tucked in. We talked a bit about sewing and quilting and I asked if I could make her a quilt to use instead of the towels. She appreciated the idea and we talked about functionality and most importantly, colors!
As quilters, we are creatively inspired and love to share what we design. I was so excited to make my first Weighted Pocket Quilt. Finding a quilting opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life is incredibly fulfilling. There are countless baby quilts I’ve made that have adorned a newborn’s crib. I’ve gifted many lap and bed quilts to friends and family. Sharing a quilt sends a message of love from me. Designing a Weighted Pocket Quilt for a friend is another way to share my gifts with others.
Why A Weighted Pocket Quilt?
Think about how wonderful it feels stepping out into a cool breeze wearing your new swing coat. Feeling the light wind is invigorating as your hair stylishly blows around your face. But wait, what if you’re in a wheelchair? Do you deserve any less style and confidence? Of course not! Weighted Pocket Quilts offer a fashionable accessory to look and feel fabulous when sitting is your only option. They can be fun and whimsical, stylish and chic, and even interactive for kids. There’s not a more thoughtful gift than something that brings a smile. Even better are all the smiles from passersby who enjoy your creative expression.
Now imagine being seated with limited access to what you need. Then envision your arms being used to move yourself around instead of your legs. With your hands busy, how do you hang on to your phone, keys, or purse? That’s an incredible challenge. Weighted Pocket Quilts offer varying size pockets to hold your personal items in your lap, but also to keep them there! That’s my secret to making Weighted Pocket Quilts – holding this lovely lap quilt right where you want it!
Consider making a Weighted Pocket Quilt for someone you love. Then make ten more to give away! Perhaps to the children’s ward at your local hospital, or an extended care facility, and keep in mind those folks in need. Local churches can help you find the perfect recipient for your new Weighted Pocket Quilt.
My first step was to look for a pattern online, but nothing existed. There were all kinds of bags for walkers and wheelchair handles, but nothing to lay across your lap when seated. Consider how awkward it would be to handle a bag behind you while sitting in a chair. That’s not practical at all! So out came the notepad and pencil to jot down some ideas. The basic design had pockets across the top edge. To keep items from falling out, I added a few extra inches that would fold over the pocket openings. This was also a great opportunity for a second layer of pockets on the underside. These were less visible and very easy to reach into. A great idea was formulating.
Ideally, a Weighted Pocket Quilt can be used to store items much like we would use a purse or backpack. Varying size pockets allow for a wallet, phone, comb or even a book. The basic concept is to provide an attractive lap cover that will also hold various personal items. Since it’s relatively small, just 42” x 42” inches, my concern was how to keep it from sliding around or blowing off with a gust of wind.
What are Weighted Pellets
While developing this idea, my daughter-in-law was making weighted lap pillows for special needs children. When she showed me the weighted pellets (affiliate link) used to weigh down the pillows in their lap, I knew they would be perfect to stabilize my quilt, too. With a bit of experimenting with the weight of the pellets and inserting them into the quilt, my problem was solved. Adding a couple side channels to hold the weighted pellets were the last necessary components to complete the project. My new quilt came together quickly. Isn’t it amazing how the simplest ideas can be the best solution?
Weighted Pocket Quilts are a wonderful way to improve access to personal items for anyone, whether in a wheelchair or sitting in a recliner. It’s a practical variation of a lap quilt for watching TV. My Weighted Pocket Quilt pattern is available at no charge. Since weighted poly pellets (affiliate link) aren’t available in a lot of stores yet, the easiest way to find them is online. I encourage you to give it a try.
Weighted Pocket Quilt General Instructions
Free Downloadable PDF Pattern
This is a free downloadable PDF pattern for adding weighted pockets to any quilt. Once your quilt top is quilted, add your weighted pockets before your quilt is bound. With about a yard of fabric and a bit of time, you’ll have a completed Weighted Pocket Quilt. Take a look and try for yourself.
Click the link above for your copy to make this quick project.
Note: Since I teach you how to make great projects, I also want you to know where to buy what I use. This course contains affiliate links for specific products I use for this project. I’ll receive a small commission on any purchases you make but it will not affect your price. Thank you!
Weighted Pocket Quilt Pattern
This is not a pattern for a quilt top or a specific block. Instead this course teaches you how to make a Weighted Pocket Quilt using your favorite fabrics and patterns. When this pattern refers to the ‘Unbound Quilt’, that’s the base quilt used for adding pockets and converting it into a Weighted Pocket Quilt. That’s the beginning point for this tutorial.
The pictured Weighted Pocket Quilt in this quilt tutorial was made from a single fabric. With 1 yard for the top and 1 yard for the back, I added a layer of batting and quilted the three layers together. Then I added pockets using the same fabric. After completing the pocket assembly, I bound the quilt and it was ready to be used.
What’s Needed to Make A Pocket Quilt
Where to Begin
This basic design may be easily modified to suit the needs of the intended user. The example made uses a 42″ x 42″ unbound quilt. I’ve also used a 36″ x 42″ unbound quilt which keeps the full 42″ width, but shortens the length to 36″. This reduces the length that the quilt will drape over the front of the user’s lap.
A taller individual may prefer a longer quilt but be careful it doesn’t get caught in the wheels. You may also decide to add a second pocket assembly to create pockets on the front and the back. Loops or rings may be added to attach keys or toys. Be creative and customize the perfect pocket quilt for someone you love.
42” x 42” unbound quilt, or a size quilt of your choosing
12” x 42” back pocket fabric optional
12” x 18” front inner pocket fabric
18” x 42” front outer pocket fabric
2 pieces 7” x 9” muslin for bead bags
1/3-yard binding fabric, or quantity needed for your size quilt
1½ cup Weighted Poly-Pellets plastic beads*
Small Funnel to pour pellets into bead bag
*Weighted Beads: Plastic beads add weighted support to lightweight items. They are intended to move and shift to hold an item in place. Only fill your pouch about ¾ full so there is room for the beads to settle. You can purchase the plastic beads online or in most craft or fabric stores. Look for Weighted Stuffing Beads or Poly-Pellets. They are usually available in clear, white or gray depending on the brand.
Pocket Assembly Instructions
Prepare back pocket: Fold the back pocket fabric, wrong sides facing each other, with long sides together and press. The finished piece will measure 6” x 42”.
Prepare front inner pocket: Fold the inner pocket fabric, right sides facing each other, with long sides together and sew both side seams. Turn, pushing out corners and press. Finished piece will measure 6” x 17 ½”.
Prepare front outer pocket: Fold the outer pocket fabric, wrong sides facing each other, with long sides together and press. The finished piece will measure 9” x 42”.
Attach Double Front Pockets Together see photo above
Lay the outer pocket with folded side facing to the top. Place the inner pocket on top keeping the folded edge facing to the bottom. Pin the inner pocket to the outer pocket with the raw edges 6″ from the top edge of the outer pocket. This distance equals the depth of the small, inner pockets.
Sew a ¼” seam across the length of raw edges of the inner pocket. This seams secures the outer and inner pockets together.
Stitch to Divide Smaller Pockets see photo above
Fold the inner pocket up so it is just below the folded edge of the outer pocket. Press seam and pin top edge in place. Mark three pocket divider lines equally across inner pocket from the top folded edge to the bottom sewn edge. Top stitch down one side and across the bottom to the first divider line. Top stitch up then down each divider line, and across the bottom of the inner pocket. Reinforce beginning and ends of all seams for extra durability. Press again to keep pockets flat.
Attach pockets to quilt
With the inner pockets facing upward, lay the pocket assembly across the top of the quilt front keeping the fold facing away from the top edge. The sides should align with the sides of the quilt.
Place the the raw edge of the front pocket assembly 12” from the top of the quilt. Pin in place. Sew a ¼” seam across the bottom raw edges.
Bring the pocket assembly up towards the top edge of the quilt. There will be a 3” space from the edge of the pocket assembly to the top of the quilt. Pin corners and sides in place. Press to keep pockets flat. Topstitch 1/2” from bottom fold to secure pocket assembly in place.
Sew Large Pocket Dividers
Now that the small pockets are already divided, the two larger pockets need to be secured in place.
To sew the two larger pocket dividers, begin sewing at the top of one side. Sew a 1/4″ seam along the side edge from the top to the bottom of the pocket assembly and turn. Continue sewing across the bottom edge to the center divider line previously sewn. You will sew across and skip the first small pocket divider to the next one in the center. Turn and sew along the same stitching line to the top of the fold and back down again. Turn and sew to the corner, turn continuing to the top edge and secure stitching.
Optional: Turn and sew back to the other side for extra reinforcement. Secure seams at both beginning and ending points.
You now have two large pockets that each have two smaller pockets inside.
After pinning the front pocket assembly to the quilt, align the back pocket to be sewn in place at the same time. This way all the seams are sewn at once. Then fold both pocket units and secure, also creating the two large pockets on the quilt back.
Adding Bead Bags to Quilt
The pocket assembly edges should be lined up with the quilt edges. Sew the pocket assembly in place 4” from each side edge of the quilt. You are creating a narrow pocket in each edge of the quilt to insert the bead bags. This is how the quilt will be held in place when in use.
Prepare Bead Bags
Prepare two muslin bead bags to secure weighted beads within the quilt. Fold long sides together of each 7” x 9” piece of muslin. Sew a ½” seam around the long side and one end. Keep one narrow end open. Sew again ¼” from edges to secure seam. Turn inside out.
You may find a funnel helpful for this next step. Pour about 3/4 cup of the beads into each bag. Fold in ½” seam allowance along the open end and top stitch. Reinforce seam with a second row of stitching. This bag will ensure the beads stay where they need to be.
Place one bead bag into the opening on each side of the quilt. Sew along the 4” side opening and across the top pocket edge to seal the bead bag inside.
Finishing Your Quilt
With the pockets in place and bead bags secured inside, it’s time to add your binding. I used a 2 1/2″ strip folded in half for my binding. If you find the beads are too close to the edge as you’re attaching the binding, gently push them away from where you’re sewing. The beads should be packed loosely enough so you can sew your binding without interference along the pocket edges.
Your weighted pocket quilt is now ready to use. Remember, since the beads are plastic, they are machine washable making this quilt very easy to clean.
Give an Old ‘Quillow’ an Update
This red and blue quilt began as a quillow over twenty-five years ago. Remember those lap quilts that folded into a pillow pocket that doubled as a foot-warmer? I just had to make one at the time but it wasn’t as practical as I’d expected. Instead, I recently gave it new life as a Weighted Pocket Quilt.
After removing the quillow pocket and border, I had the perfect size for a pocket quilt. I put pockets on the underside and used the quillow pocket on top. It works great for larger items or to keep hands warm on a chilly day.
Quillow Conversion Instructions
First was the deconstruction. The blue border made this quilt too large to be used in a wheelchair, plus it was stained. So I removed it as well as the pocket on back. After removing the quillow pocket and border, I had the perfect size for a Weighted Pocket Quilt. Then I salvaged the binding. Since I always double fold my binding, the fabric inside the binding fold was in great shape. I simply flipped it around and gave it a good pressing to remove the fold line.
Since I didn’t have any matching fabric I used a batik that matched nicely for the pockets. The big difference was adding the inner and outer pockets on the underside of the quilt. I spaced the pocket dividers to match up with the quillow pocket that I sewed on top. It works great for larger items or to keep hands warm on a chilly day.
This is a great upcycle to an old project that may not be getting much use! Keep in mind, these make a wonderful, stay-in-place lap quilt, too. You can have everything close by within reach, including the remote! Have fun with this project. Thank you for reading this post.
Upcycling a Quilt Binding
In addition to using an old or damaged quilt, the binding may also be reused. I’ve always used the double fold binding method. Once it’s removed, it may be folded with the inside out for a nice new binding. The fabric inside the fold has been protected and will make a perfect binding to match your new project. The binding on the red and blue quilt looks brand new!
Post Your Weighted Pocket Quilts!
I hope you enjoyed learning how to make a Weighted Pocket Quilt and are ready to sew your own. Feel free to reproduce this pattern and let everyone know about Weighted Pocket Quilts. Please post your weighted pocket quilt pictures on Instagram #LeaLouiseQuilts and/or #inspiredweightedpocketquilts to share with others.
Share this Pattern with Others!
Please share this pattern so more mobility-challenged folks can enjoy their own Weighted Pocket Quilt. Or make them as a community service project to give to hospitals and extended care homes. I hope you enjoy making these quilts for others as much I do. If you’re not a quilter, please pass this on to someone you think may be interested.
You are welcome to reproduce this pattern for others, though please include my website on any printed materials.
It’s a pleasure to share this pattern with you. This pattern is for free personal distribution use only. It may not be sold or used for commercial purposes.
Weighted Pocket Quilt © 2018 by Lea Louise https://inspiredquiltingbylealouise.com