Let’s face it. Weighted Blankets are an investment. With their emergence into the mainstream market, they are popping up everywhere and in a variety of price ranges that can reach over $350. However, as with many things, all are not created equal. As my father would say, “You can’t expect Cadillac quality at Ford prices.” (not that Fords are bad! It’s just an expression illustrating you get what you pay for)
So then, what are you paying for?
When I first made a weighted blanket, it was for my son. It took hours to create. If you have ever made a quilt, or spoken with someone who makes quilts, you know it takes time.
To make a weighted blanket by hand, let’s look at the quilting step alone. It’s a basic grid pattern – rows of straight horizontal and vertical lines stitched a certain distance apart.
If it was a quilt, that would be the end of it. However, with a weighted blanket, there is an extra step. After the vertical rows are stitched, each column is filled with the weighted item. This can be poly pellets or glass pellets. Some even use dried beans, rice and other items. There’s some math involved to determine weighted distribution. The total weight of the blanket divided by the number of squares when quilted gives you how much weight per square. This amount is then added to each column then a horizontal layer is sewn and the steps repeated until complete. Keep in mind too, that if polyfill is being used to cushion the filler, this must be contended with. Also, as the rows are complete, the weight increases adding to the physical demand for the sewer.
This all takes time, and if someone is selling them as their business they need to value their time. Even at minimum wage, this adds up quickly
What about manufactured blankets?
No two blankets are created equal. So, let’s assume the person described above decides to have their blankets manufactured. They now have to work on prototypes, specifications of materials used and produce a blanket they want to market. Each step is costly, and for smaller business, they don’t benefit from large volume discounts enjoyed by larger box style stores.
Speaking from experience, several prototypes were explored before setting on the 40Winks blanket. Time and money went into researching the best materials to use, and the optimum construction techniques. So then, what were my considerations?
- Best construction
- Best Value
- Best materials
- Ease of use and care
I’ve noticed a lot of features added to blankets. Some add double row stitching along the horizontal and vertical paths to keep pellets in place. We have tried both, and have found no significant difference between the two. That’s not to say it’s a waste, but it is an added expense that trickles down to the customer. Since there is no significant difference between the two, I felt the added cost would not be justified.
Now, I’ve also noticed the addition of ties to attach and secure the cover to the weighted blanket. This is something I did with our duvets in our home. BRILLIANT! If you have ever used a duvet, you’ll agree. So, this feature is a MUST for our blanket!
I also decided to have our seams stitched with a secure stitch pattern, edges reinforced, and the distance between rows reduced from the hand made ones I once made.
The fabric was an interesting exploration. I landed on our special bamboo/cotton blend to combine the best of the two. Bamboo is an amazing fabric that offers cooling properties in the summer and warmth in the winter. It is easy to care for. Using 100% increases the cost substantially so I examined using a bamboo blend. Cotton is durable, easy to care for and strong like bamboo. What I discovered was using a blend not only reduced the cost, but didn’t affect the performance of either fibre. The result, all the benefits of bamboo plus cotton, and savings I can pass down to customers.
After research, I opted for glass pellets for the weighted material in the blanket. Yes, glass pellets do cost more, but there is value here. Glass pellets decrease the overall bulk of the blanket by one-third! This was the most significant increase in cost, but one I believe is worth it.
In future posts, I will go into more detail about material and construction options.
Large box store style business are capitalizing on the craze which they have every right to do and it’s fair trade. However, consider smaller companies such as Fun-R-We Creations & Co., who create weighted blankets and have personal experience using them, and making them for persons with special needs. They understand the intricacies and needs of customers. It’s not about making a quick buck, but about solving problems, providing comfort and improving the quality of life for their clients
Research into what works, and what does not work is part and parcel for us. Rest assured, that when the craze is over and weighted blankets fade off the box store shelves, we will still be producing weighted blankets and servicing special need communities, persons with mental illness and those suffering with sleep disorders.
Our passion comes from personal experience, not market trends. Our quality comes from one simple question, “Would I want my son using this”. And if the answer is no, you won’t see it in the line!