How to Make Fidget Quilts for Alzheimer's Patients

What is a fidget quilt?

A fidget quilt is a lap quilt that helps stimulate the fidgeting hands of Alzheimer's patients, dementia patients, and autistic people. It soothes the fidgeting by entertaining them, busying hands and fingers, stimulating their senses, and giving them something to do.

Little children can use these busy quilts to entertain themselves, keep their hands occupied, and develop fine motor skills. Each fun fidget quilt should provide a variety of textures and tactile stimulation.

These small sensory quilts are also called fiddle quilt, sensory blanket, and fidget blanket.Fidget Quilt Tutorial - FB ad

Tips for Making Fidget Quilt Patterns

  • The fidget blanket should be a lap size of about 18" x 20"
  • Use different textures and fabric colors - cotton fabric, fake fur, Minky, flannel, denim, etc.
  • Embellishments - zippers, buttons, ribbon, plastic rings, small bits of crochet, buckles, etc - the embellishment possibilities are endless
  • Securely fasten embellishments
  • It should be completely washable

Watch the video through the link below or read on to learn about fidget quilts and how to embellish fidget quilts. Examples of more fidget quilts are at the end of this article.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Make Fidget Quilts for Alzheimer's Patients to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

What you need to make fidget quilts

  • Orphan blocks, 5" Fabric Squares or other Fabrics
  • Fabric for the backing
  • Quilt Batting
  • Fabrics with different textures like fleece, denim, fake fur, Minky, etc
  • Ribbons, Lace, Ric rac, elastic, Velcro or other embellishments
  • Buttons, Beads, Snaps, Rings
  • Zippers, Buckles, Lobster Clasps, etc.
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread, Ruler, and basic sewing supplies

Fidget Quilts Ideas

We have made several fidget quilts; the photos will give you ideas and inspire you to create your fidget quilts. Leftover quilt blocks are a wonderful starting place for the fidget quilt blocks.

Fidget Quilts - Example 1 Fidget Quilt Example #1
Fidget Quilts - Example 2 Fidget Quilt Example #2

This fidget quilt was made using 5" fabric squares. The squares are a great way to reduce a scrap stash. Purchased charm packs can also be used. Each square is embellished individually and then sewn together. Embellish as few or as many squares as you wish.

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS for sewing a fidget quilt:

  • Lay the squares on your work surface in a pleasing manner.
  • Embellish the squares as desired.
  • Sew squares together in rows using a 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Sew rows together.
  • Place top, batting, and backing together and finish with traditional binding or pillowcase/envelope finish.
  • Stitch in the Ditch between squares or tie the fidget quilt to keep the layers together.

Our fidget quilt samples were finished with a pillowcase or envelope finish.  If you prefer to bind it, our Quick Quilt Binding is a quick and easy way to bind.

FIDGET QUILT SQUARES Embellishment ideas

Below we will give ideas for fidget quilt squares.  This project is perfect for using up embellishments and other leftover notions you have around the house.

Fidget Quilts - woven ribbon square Woven Ribbon Square: Arrange two or more lengths of ribbon along the top edge and two or more along the side edge. Weave them. Pin the ribbon to keep them in place until the squares get sewn together.

Fidget Quilts - Peek a Boo Square Peek-A-Boo Square: Sew an interesting applique or item onto the middle of a square. Make two flaps by folding the fabric in half (right sides together) and sewing the two short sides. Turn right side out. Ensure the flaps are smaller than the finished square so they are not caught in the top and bottom seams. Sew a piece of Velcro on the flaps to hold them shut. Attach to the sides of the square.

Fidget Quilts - Ring Square Ring Square: Slide plastic rings onto a piece of ribbon or cord and sew them to the square in any direction—vertical, horizontal, or diagonal.

Fidget Quilts - Ribbon Braid Square Texture Ribbon or Braid Square: Attach texture ribbon or braid to a square - Sew it completely down or attach only at the sides of the square so fingers can go under the ribbon/braid.

Fidget Quilts - Hair Tie Square Hair Ties Square: To attach hair ties to the square, fold a small piece of 5" wide fabric in half. Place the raw edge of this fabric at the top of the square—secure hair ties under the fabric by topstitching along the fold. If the hair ties have a metal part, cut the metal part off before sewing it in place.

Fidget Quilts - Zipper Square 1 Zipper Square: Sew zipper(s) flat onto the square vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. If the zipper pull is small, attach a key ring or ribbon to make it easier to pull. (Note another embellishment in this picture, the bias tape loops with a bell attached to one loop with a key ring.)

Fidget Quilts - Zipper Square 2Zipper Square Option #2—Sew two squares together or cut a piece of fabric 5" x 9 1/2" to attach a longer zipper.  Attach the zipper by sewing it flat. If the zipper is not long enough to extend over the ends, put a folded piece of fabric the width of the square at the top and bottom edge and topstitch at the fold, as shown in the picture above.

Fidget Quilts - Zipper Square 3Zipper Square Option #3 - Sew the zipper between two fabrics and attach it to a fabric square or rectangle to create a zipper pocket.

Fidget Quilts - Pocket Square 1 Fabric Pocket Square with Stuffed Surprise: To make a stuffed mini pillow surprise, cut two pieces of fabric the same size. Pin a ribbon to the raw edge on the right side of one of the fabrics. Fold and pin the other end of the ribbon to the middle of the fabric so it will not get sewn into the seam allowance.

Put the second fabric on top, right side down. Sew around three sides, including the side with the ribbon, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn the pillow so the right side is facing out, stuff, fold under the opening, and either hand or machine sew closed.

To make a pocket, place a 5" square on the work surface. Take a second 5" square and fold it in half with the wrong sides together. Position this rectangular fabric on top of the first 5" square. Align the rectangular piece along the bottom of the square, matching raw edges along the bottom and sides. Sew in place.

Pin the end of the stuffed pillow ribbon to the top of the 5" square so it will be sewn into the seam allowance when sewing the rows together.
Fidget Quilts - Pocket Square 2 This is another example of a fabric pocket with a small stuffed pillow.

Fidget Quilts - Prairie Points Square Prairie Points Square: Attach one or more prairie points to the square. To make prairie points, take a square piece of fabric with the wrong side facing up. Fold the square in half. Bring the two folded corners down to meet equally in the middle. This forms a triangle. Attach the raw edge of the prairie point along the raw edge of the square. Pin or sew in place.

Fidget Quilts - Bead Square 1 Bead Square: String large wooden beads on a piece of cord, ribbon, or shoelace. The beads can be of various sizes and shapes. Securely attach the ends of the cord/ribbon/shoelace to the seam allowance. An empty thread spool can also be used instead of large beads.

Fidget Quilts - Bead Square 2 Beads can be attached in different ways. This is another example of a bead square.

Fidget Quilts - Velcro Square Velcro Square: Use Velcro to attach something to the square. In this example, two pieces of fabric were sewn together with a ribbon and a Velcro strip. The other Velcro strip was attached to the square, and the ribbon was sewn into the seam allowance. When using Velcro, ensure the pieces are securely attached to the square so they cannot get lost.

Fidget Quilts - Belt square 1 Belt and Buckle Squares: Securely attach belts, buckles, or D-rings to the square with ribbon, fabric, or cotton webbing. Choose large items that can be operated easily. Attach loosely to the square so the fasteners can be easily operated.

Below are a few more examples of belt and buckle squares. Fidget Quilts - Belt Square 2 Fidget Quilts - Belt Square 3

Fidget Quilts - Texture Square 1 Texture Squares: Make a square with some textured fabric. Minky, denim, fleece, flannel, felt, fake fur, etc. are excellent choices.

Another example of a textured square is below. Fidget Quilts - Texture Square 2

Fidget Quilts - Lace Square Lace, Ric rac, Ribbon, and Button Squares: Attach lace, rickrack, ribbon, and buttons to a square. Sew them flat, loop them, or attach them in the seam allowance so hands can go under them. Here are a few examples. Fidget Quilts - Rickrack Square Fidget Quilts - Ribbon Square

Fidget Quilts - Decorative Squares 1 Decorative Squares: Small crochet motifs, fabric yo-yos, appliques, and embroidered items can be attached to a square. The sewing machine's decorative stitching can be stitched to a square. The possibilities are endless. Fidget Quilts Decorative Square 2 This fun decorative square is made with fabric yo-yos and buttons. If using buttons, attach them securely so the person cannot pull them off.

Fidget Quilts - Recycle Jeans 1 Recycle Jeans: Repurpose denim jeans by sewing the pocket and/or waistband to a fidget quilt. You can also use the denim as a texture element as part of the quilt top. An old jeans waistband was attached to a rectangular piece of fabric. It was attached loosely so the button could be opened and closed easily.

MORE Samples and FIDGET QUILT Ideas

Fidget Quilts - Example 3 Fidget Quilt Example #3

For the above fidget quilt, various-sized squares and rectangles were cut to accommodate an approximately 18" x 20" top. Some were sewn together and then decorated, while others were decorated before being sewn together.

Fidget Quilts - Example 4 Fidget Quilt Example #4
Fidget Quilts - Example 5 Fidget Quilt Example #5

We hope you enjoyed learning how to make a fidget quilt or sensory blanket and use your creativity to make some!

Fabric Postcards is another project using orphan blocks, scrap fabrics and embellishments.  Click the link to learn how to make them!Annette's Signature


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

Tied Fleece Blanket

A tied fleece blanket is an excellent idea for Alzheimer's, dementia, and an autistic person. The softness and warmth of the fleece blanket will encourage the senses with the texture and keep them warm.Tied Fleece Blanket

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Fiddle Mats, Muffs  & Cuffs

Fiddle Mats, Muffs & Cuffs #ad

Express your creativity while supporting Alzheimer's and dementia patients. These designs are full of interesting beads, bobbles and textures that many patients find reassuring and comforting. Each design is made using different types yarn and textures. Patterns are given for each embellishment used, or you may create your own. by Annie's - Paperback - Published 2018 Affiliate Link to Amazon

Fidget to Focus

Fidget to Focus #ad

Six sewing projects to calm restless hands. Designed to help people with Alzheimers, dementia, autism, and other cognitive challenges with anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands. by Billie Steward - Paperback - Published 2018 Affiliate Link to Amazon

How to Make a Fidget Quilt Pin

Learn to make Fidget Quilts - Pin2

Learn to make Fidget Quilts - Pin

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