Frequently, patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia get fidgety hands. Fidget quilts are a soothing thing to those patients because the quilt gives their hands something to do. DOQ will be donating our quilts to Memory Care Units in Durham, Orange and Chatham counties.
Finished quilts should be lap size, either square or rectangular. Approximately 20×20 or place-mat size. Exact size does not matter. Quilts must be durable and washable by hand.
The front may be patchwork pieced with a variety of sensory fabrics. Suggested fabrics include velvet, corduroy, silk, tulle, fake fur, suede, wool, knits, chenille, tapestry, fleece, blue jeans, terry cloth and many others! It can also be a solid fabric or a cloth place-mat with lots of other fabrics and embellishments appliquéd to it.
Any items appliquéd to the surface must be very securely attached. Items may be topstitched on or can be encased in a seam. Double or triple stitch all attachments. Allow part of the attachment to be free, such as loops of ribbons, etc.
Use a fabric that is not slippery for the back such as flannel, fleece, minky, or corduroy. Hem tape, fabric, or ribbons can be sewn to edges to be used as ties in order to secure the quilt to the chair or patient if necessary. Batting is optional; use it if your top seems flimsy.
There are many methods for finishing the quilt. The traditional method with quilting of the three layers together with binding is one, but is probably the most labor intensive. Instead of binding, edges could be finished with stitching, pinking and a zigzag satin stitch if the fabric ravels. The pillowcase method is easier to do with right sides being sewn together and then turned. A fabric can also be simply topstitched to the back. In both these methods, topstitching can then be done to secure all the layers together. A sturdy sewing machine (not your lightweight travel machine) and walking foot is highly recommended.
Suggestions for attachments are endless! Buttons, zippers, snaps, buckles, velcro, ribbons, shoelaces, plastic beads on a string, men’s ties, lace, yarn, netting, onion bags, fake fur, tulle, rick rack, fancy machine stitches, bells, small stuffed toys, crochet or knit scraps.
If you need further ideas or instructions, there are many links to explore. Some of these quilts sell for $80.00 online! Have fun with Google, Google Images, Pinterest and Etsy.