I have been making these Pump Bands for a young girl with Type 1 Diabetes for quite a while now. Although there are probably not many of you that will need this tutorial, even if just one of you does it will be worthwhile!
Before I got back into to sewing she was using all kids of bands, none of which really worked well. There were always problems with the tubing getting tangled, bands being sweaty, fiddly domes or noisy velcro for night time checks. There are a few available online but some of the prices are horrendous considering how little time and material is involved. After many different prototypes this is the one she has been using for the last few years!
The more than willing model is my Son Harry, who does not have diabetes but in the interests of privacy I though he was a great choice. I had to pin the front but you get the idea of how they would work! These are worn around the waist, with the pouch at the back. You can turn them round to the front when you need to access the pump. There is also a little space at the bottom for the tubing to enter underneath, so no tubing going through the zip. They are double layered with the inner layer being thick soft cotton jersey (non stretch) to protect the pump from over heating from body warmth and from knocks. And yes I realise the print is upside down, it happens but it’s the right way up on the backside LOL!
These really are very simple to make, a little fiddly but not too bad. There are only three pieces, all being simple rectangles. The Outer Layer is made from any cotton print you like, plain is ok too if you are trying to camouflage/match it. I have added the imperial conversions for the non metric readers on the waistband diagram, in bright yellow ♥
The next piece is the waistband, it is made from cotton lycra. The problem with nylon lycra is that it was sweaty which isn’t great for the pump or the wearer for that matter. I’m sure there are many other options, but a natural fibre combined with stretch would be you best bet. You don’t use a lot. I can usually get 10 waistbands out of 1m of fabric, more depending on fabric width.
What you’ll need
Outer Fabric – Cute cotton print etc.
Inner Fabric – Thicker fabric for padding
Waistband Fabric – Cotton Lycra etc.
Zip – 16cm (6.3”)
Step 1 – Cut Fabric
Pretty self explanatory this one, it is all rectangles!
And the waistband, which in my case was 20cm x (Waist 64cm – 14cm) = 50cm.
Step 2 – Overlock the Edge of the Outer Layer
Leave the tails from the overlocking on, follow the pictures below. If you don’t have an overlocker you can use an overlocking/zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.
Step 3 – Sew Layers Together
Place your inner layer on top of your outer layer with the wrong sides facing each other.
Pin together starting with the centres.
Now to fold in the corners and make a neat mitre fold.
I sew this piece on the wrong side, this doesn’t give a perfect finish but is much easier. I follow the overlocking stitches to stay on a fairly straight line and ensure it is caught evenly. You can pin this the other way up if you prefer. Just be careful at the corners.
Here is the finished step.
Step 4 – Insert Zip
The zip goes on the shorter side of your rectangle. Decide which way you want the zip to go (e.g. left to right), keeping an eye on any patterns Pin in place, and change to your machines zipper foot. I like to sew with the zip open first.
Once you get close to the zipper head, stop with the needle in the fabric and raise the presser foot. Push the zipper past it, lower the foot and carry on.
That is the first side of the zip done. The second is a little bit more fiddly but don’t worry it’s not too bad!
Again pin it in place and sew the first part with the zip open.
Move past the zipper head in the same way as before!
There is your pocket all finished!
Step 5 – Waistband
Fold the band in half with the right sides facing to make a long narrow band.
Overlock to make a tube (or zigzag).
Overlock the open ends, making sure the seam is at the top and fed through the overlocker (sewing machine) first. Otherwise the thickness of it at the end can cause the fabric to stretch as you sew the last bit, distorting it.
Step 6 – Attach Waistband to Pump Pocket
Zip up the pocket and turn it inside out. Pin one side of the band to the zip side of the pump pocket. I find it easier to do the side without the zipper head first.
I sew this in two pieces (on either side of the zip). I don’t cut the thread in between I just move the fabric along and cut afterwards. Just remember to lockstitch (forward and reverse a few stitches). Sew with a straight stitch, following the stitch line already there.
Here is the thread I was describing, I hope it makes sense!
Turn the Pump Pocket the right way around.
Pin the other side in place.
This side is sewn both layers at once. Still in two parts before and after the zip. Remember to move the zipper head along so it’s out of the way!
Now the last part is to sew the back of the first side leaving a gap for the tubing to come through. The tubing is attached to a clip so this is size I am using, this may vary for different pumps so check yours!
Mark with a pin so that it is visible from the front side, as you will be sewing on the front side. Just as you did for the other side, in two parts on either side of the zip.
And there you have it!
I hope this finds it’s way to frustrated diabetics or their parents, unhappy with what they are now using! Feel free to leave a comment or email me any questions. My arm could even be twisted to whip up a few of these for anyone desperate who doesn’t sew!