These instructions are for making a busy blanket for the elderly or those suffering from Dementia.
There are 2 sizes to choose from, but sizes are just a guide. Blankets are to be quilted. Using 2 or 3 layers (top and thick fleece) (top and wadding and backing).  All raw edges must be enclosed. All embellishments must be secured.  By creating the blankets in blocks, the embellishments can besecured within the seams.  It is suggested that ties and a label are included on the rear of the blanket.  The ties allow the blanket to be fixed to a chair arm or similar, so it does not drop to the floor.  The label is for makers and receivers names.

SIZE:                      2 sizes are requested:

Small lap size –  Square                     40cm x 40 cm (16” x 16”)
This size is small and will sit on a lap without falling off
(rectangle of similar proportions also acceptable)

Large lap size –    Rectangle             65cm x 50 cm (25” x 20”)
This size will sit across a large lap or across the top of a bed

CONSTRUCTION:       Blanket will be quilted

Top Layer:

Make a layer of pieced blocks –

                  * this is the easiest system as you can embellish more items and all raw edges can be secured

  • Embellish each block.
    • Use an extra block of calico (or similar) to stabilise, soft or tricky fabrics or blocks with lots of embellishments
    • Join blocks together in columns, or pairs then squares enclosing additional embellishments like loops, elastics or flaps
    • Join rows together adding any extra embellishments

Tips: if using an extra calico block layer, you can sandwich the ends of any cords or ribbons between the two layers. This doubly secures them.

Small lap size–                       cut 9 block           6” (15cm) square

Large lap size–                      
Option 1:
cut 20 blocks      5 ½” (14cm) square

Option 2:
cut 4 blocks         10 ½” x 5 ½” (26.5cm x 14cm)
cut 12 blocks      5 ½” (14cm) square

Option 3:
cut 4 blocks         10 ½” (26.5cm) square
cut 4 blocks         5 ½”   (14cm) square

Assemble Blocks:

Join blocks together using a ¼” seam allowance to create pairs, squares or columns to assemble.

assemble blocks into pairs, lines, squares add loops and extras as you go.

Assemble Layers:

  • 3 Layer System-
    • top layer,
    • middle layer (batting/wadding/ thick flannel)
    • backing fabric

The 3 layers must be stitched and secured together.
All edges must be enclosed.
Use either enclosed pillow case technique

  • Place right sides of top and back together with batting on the back
  • Stitch around circumference leaving a gap
  • Turn through
  • Stitch gap closed
  • Stitch around the edge of the quilt
  • Stitch in areas to quilt/secure top to backing


Layer then bind edges with traditional machine stitched binding


  • 2 Layer System –
    • top layer
    • backing (thick fleece/minky )
  • Use either enclosed pillow case technique
    • Cut backing top layer
    • Place right sides of top and backing together
    • Trim backing even with top
    • Stitch around circumference leaving a gap
    • Turn through to right sides
    • Stitch gap closed
    • Stitch around edge and in areas to quilt/secure top to backing

Ties aid in keeping the blanket from falling on the floor from a bed or chair.
Before delivering the quilts, please securely tie these into a sturdy bow, for storage.
The ties, must not be long enough to form a strangling hazard.
2O-22 cm (8 – 10”) is the finished length of each tie.
Nursing staff can cut these off if not required.

For smaller lap size:                  
1 x 50cm (20”) length of good ribbon with ends finished (flat cord, bias binding, woven ribbon)
Fold in half and securely stitch through the middle, to one corner side on the back of the quilt.
*(this is so the quilt can be secured on either side of a chair or bed)

For larger lap size:           
2 x 50cm (20”) lengths of good ribbon with ends finished (flat cord, bias binding, woven ribbon)
Fold each in half and secure ,through the middle, to the back of the quilt.
Placing one length on each corner at the bottom.
*(this is so the quilt can be secured on either side of a chair or bed and will be the right way up to the user, They can also be tied around the waist and used as an apron.)
** optional

It is important for the sender and receiver to know they are treasured.
Put a fabric label on the back with your name and a short happy message.  A simple love heart perhaps?
Stitch or draw a line for the recipient’s name,  and make a second line in case the nursing staff want to add their dept info.
Make sure you use a permanent washable pen.

Nb: @GoldCoastScrubCaps FB group makers will have specially designed labels available, that you can attach.

Keep in Mind:

Dementia patients can be confused or agitated easily.

  • Bold differential colours can cause confusion.
    • Bright colours are fine
    • Muted colours are fine
    • Monotone colours are fine
    • But keep the colour layout and patterns simple.
  • Older fingers have decreased ‘fine motor’ skills
    • Avoid things that will frustrate them if they cannot do them… eg:
      • Threading – a lace through shoe holes
      • Very small protrusions like stiff zippers with small grips
      • Small buttons and button holes
      • Weaving / threading
  • Older eyes may not see as well
    • Add things like crinkly cellophane sewn inside fabric pockets
  • Think quiet stimulation
    • Sight
    • Soft Sound
    • Gentle textures
  • Older skin is more fragile
    • No sharp edges eg: Think hard edges of plastic or metal
    • Scratchy fabrics
      • Texture is good, but gentle texture… nothing that will cause irritation
  • Dementia patients may not recognise themselves.  A mirror or reflection may be a stranger!
  • All edges must be finished
  • All additions must be SECURELY stitched
  • All additions must be washable
  • If attaching items by hand sewing, use crochet cord or similar.  Sewing cotton is not always strong enough

These instructions available at

www.addicted2fabric.com.au and progress photos and prompts are shown at @2sew Fb group

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