Sensory Mats or Fidget Blankets provide a soothing and stimulating activity for people living with dementia or recovering from strokes.
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Sensory Mats or Fidget Blankets provide a soothing and stimulating activity for people living with dementia or recovering from strokes.

The size of your fidget blankets is up to you; the dimensions below make a lap mat as per the photo that can be tied at the waist or positioned on a table with velcro.

What you need

  • Volunteers and sewing machines. Not all volunteers need to know how to sew; they can decorate, cut fabric, and separate items for personalised mats.
  • Decorations: Leftover wool, strings, buttons, zippers, buckles, bells, fabric in different textures, soft toys, squishy and squeaky items, key rings, beads, and more.
  • Stiff stabilizer, fusible on both sides. – 1 piece 24 X 19 inches or 56 X 47 cm
  • Fabric - 2 pieces (front and back) - 24 X 19 inches or 56 X 47 cm

Assembly

  • Lay first piece of fabric right side up on a table
  • Lay second piece of fabric, right side down (on top of first fabric)
  • Lay stabilizer on top of fabrics
  • Sew around and leave one side open
  • Turn fabric layers inside out
  • Now you have the interfacing between the two layers of the mat fabric
  • Finish mat’s open side by folding inwards and sewing shut.
  • Iron the mat well to allow the interface to fuse
  • Sew all around the 4 sides of the mat once more to finish the base.

Decorating

Use your imagination; anything interesting and safe is suitable. Decorations should be securely attached to fabric for safety reasons.

For example: Sew on a zipper, attach buttons, make a button hole for large buttons with button flaps, sew in a bunch of wool strands (about 7 inches/18cm - to be braided); attach belt and buckle, sew in a fluffy piece of fabric and leather, attach pom-poms, squish toys, and more. Attach soft toys, sew in a little pocket, large colourful beads, key ring and attach it to mat.

Variations

  • Mats may be personalized, e.g. if the client was a hairdresser, attach things she would recognise and enjoy to touch.
  • You may wish to make it into an apron by placing ribbons on the sides.

Remember that people living with dementia must be supervised.

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Comments   Post a Comment

Nasrin 25th Aug 2020 Lifestyle
Hi ,I would like to make one for our memory support community ..any ideal suggestions how I can start with?
If any pictures would help me?
Anyone have any clue please drop your idea for me would be appreciated
BreAnne Boyle 10th Mar 2020
Wouldn’t it be easier to decorate the top fabric before sewing together?
Solange 10th Mar 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Breanne, yes, you can decorate before as long as supervision is adequate. The reason we recommend to decorate after is for safety reasons. Some people in the later stages of dementia are fidgety and may pull out the decorations ( buttons, beads, key-rings) which could end up in their mouths. Securing decorations over various layers makes it difficult for clients to pull. Thank you for your inquiry.
Margaret Mc Quillan 28th Jan 2020
What is the ideal size to knit a fiddle blanket please.?
Solange 28th Jan 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi, Margaret. It depends on the wool ply you use. For instance, bulky/chunky wool
need thicker needles. The best is to pick a yarn and make samples with two or three different needles. Thinner needles will make tight samples and thicker needles soft, malleable samples.

FIDGET BLANKETS FOR BEGINNERS
NEEDLE SIZES FOR BULKY/CHUNKY WOOL/ACRYLIC
Australia U.K. U.S.
5.5 5 9 - 10 - 11
Deborah walker 24th May 2019
Are certain colours better for twiddle muffs I seem to remember someone telling me that colour was important to people suffering with dementia ???
Solange 28th Jan 2020 Diversional Therapist
Yes, black and white are said to be better for people with advanced dementia.
Betty Martin 7th Jan 2019
Do you use twiddle muffs as well? I have a few ready to go if you would like them
Talita 8th Oct 2018
Thanks Janet! We would love to see a pic when you are finished!
Janet 7th Oct 2018
Love the simplicity of your instructions. I can't wait to make a sensory blanket for my grandma.
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