Fidget Quilts

There was a question on the facebook page about fidget quilts.  I kind of knew what they were about, but it got me a bit more curious, so I took a look around and found some great resources and ideas.

What is a fidget quilt?  It really doesn’t have to be a ‘quilt’ but the idea is: giving the fingers and hands something to do.  These are great for little kids, or olders who have alzheimers, dementia, or need some help keeping busy.   It’s all about texture and one must keep in mind that these articles must be able to withstand hot water as they’ll be washed frequently.

Bonus—-> Precise piecing and stitching isn’t necessary so it makes it a perfect project to practice new stitches, if you are a beginner or just want to sew crazy fast and not worry about perfection.

fidget blankets ideas and how tos

They feature zippers, ties, ribbon, strings, buttons, snaps, closures, different textures – like minky, stretchy, pom poms, buttons, pockets, braids…you name it!

Anything that can keep the fingers busy and can be washed will work.

They are similar to a quiet book, but are larger- can be an apron even or just a mat that is laid across your lap.

There are a few local organizations that you might find that could use a donation or two.  This would be a great project for your quilt guild to do as a group project or focus for the year.

fidget quilts pattern and tutorial

How to make a Fidget Quilt~

Your top will need to be the size of a placemat– or really any size that will fit across your lap.  Around a fat quarter or 18″ X 20″.  Feel free to customize this to what you need!  There is no right answer or size here.

It will need a stabilizer in between the layers.  You can use batting, peltex, or multiple layers of flannel.  Again keep it simple. You want this to not be floppy, but not crazy firm.

  1. Layer the quilt top and backing fabric – right sides together.
  2. Lay this on top of the batting or stabilizer
  3. Sew all the way around the outside, leaving a 3″ opening for turning
  4. Snip the corners, turn right sides out and stitch 1/8″ from the edge to secure the layers and close the opening
  5. Grab your supplies and lay them out on top of the fabric.
  6. Pin in place the items and start stitching them down by hand or machine.  Because your stitching will go through all the layers, this will keep them more secure and quilt the layers together, making it wear better through washings and use.

Busy Fingers, Fidget Fun Mats & Quilts Tutorials~

fidget quilt for boys

Alzheimers fidget quilt


Dementia Fidget Lap Blanket


Busy Hands Fidget Apron

fidget fun mats

Fidget Fun Mats

fidget quilt with hankie

Simple fidget quilt

sensory blanket

Sensory Blanket

Fidget quilt pattern + it rolls up!

These busy blankets are perfect for using your scraps from projects that are finished.  Those odd ball supplies that are just hanging around and not doing much in your sewing space but taking up space.

Take a look around– you know what I’m talking about.  Start making little quilt kits with your fun dodads and when you have enough….sit down and stitch them up.

* Make sure that everything you use is securely stitched down.  You don’t want things to pop off and get lost.

* Don’t overthink this.  Keep it simple.  They are supposed to be busy, but don’t make it sooo busy it’s overwhelming

* Involve your kids!  Have them help decide or layout the mat and stitch things down.  Perfect for youth groups!

What kind of things do you put on your fidget quilts?  Any suggestions for us?

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  1. Bernadette Webre

    15 March

    The “Fidget Quilt” could also be adapted for Alzhemer’s patients. This would have been great for my dad.

  2. Becky

    16 March

    yes Bernadette– great idea! I bet he would love it.

  3. Pam

    17 March

    The most important part of the quilt is the mix of textures. In all likelihood the recipient will only fidget or “worry” a couple spots that they find calming. More stuff just to fill it up is not better, think simple. I made the first fidget on your examples, it has flannel, denim, cotton, mesh with marbles trapped under it, zipper, buttons that work, snaps, rope and the rubber key chain. This was our manly version because the men were turning down any with flowers or fru-fru stuff. It was a great guild project donated to a division of our hospital who worked with alzheimer dementia patients, they cant get enough.

  4. Debra McHugh

    26 April

    One great resource for ‘fidgets’ is the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. Finding fidgets for men’s quilts is especially challenging. I buy plastic plumbing parts the can be strung on ribbon and screwed together and unscrewed while attached to the quilt. I also find rubber, plastic and light weight metal rings, washers etc. for sliding activities.

  5. Karan Brown

    19 June

    Love this! Just a heads up for your Dementia project bright colors are more stimulation and not too small with the activities as vision is often affected. Love the giant braid on the apron! Love that they are so pretty and not toddler-ish! Thank you!

  6. P. Garcia

    28 July

    Great idea! Only comment I have is that if it is for a baby or toddler, make sure there are no small parts that can cause choking.

  7. Jenny Fish

    28 July

    A group I know knit or crochet fidget muffs – a loose fitting tubular piece with different yarns, buttons etc. Great for those who are prone to pulling out drip lines etc – can be pulled across the line and connection point so they don’t see them and play with the muff instead.

  8. Jenny Fish

    28 July

    Here is the direct link to the post. Check out the photos in the comments as well.

  9. Becky

    3 August

    you are right on that! thanks for the reminder.

  10. Marge

    12 August

    Thank you for this,will have to make some for kids

  11. Toni

    3 October

    I wish I had known about these when my beautiful senior relatives were still alive. I had responsibility for three who all had some form of dementia. I too am facing a similar future with Parkinson’s. I have asked God to guide me and to make the best of what I have so far to work with, and I believe this is the answer. I just spoke with one of our associate pastors and we may just take this on as a mission project, not only for us experienced sewers but to help teach sewing to those who want to learn “the basics”, win, win, win!

  12. Rose

    13 November

    This is a great article!! I like to try to find things at Goodwill that can be upcycled

  13. Karla Randazzo

    18 November

    What a wonderful idea.

  14. Mary Ann

    22 January

    Can you use plastic pellets between the top and bottom layers.
    Made some weighted lap pads for autistic children and have some pellets left over

  15. Carol

    19 February

    I stitch a piece of extra soft fleece (about 5″ square) down before sewing a pocket from jeans on top of it. It gives the sensation of slipping your hand into a glove. I position the pocket sideways so it is easy to slip a hand inside.

    I also drop a marble inside the quilt then stitch a “maze” of a couple of rows along an edge. Similar idea to that of mazes that I have seen.

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