Introduction: Accessorize Your Insulin Pump and Yourself!

About: I'm one of modern medicine's cyborgs interested in designing creative health solutions.
Hi everyone!

I am Jessica Floeh, a Type 1 Diabetic designer working on ways to make the insulin pump into a positive conversation piece and ultimately a fashion statement. I wanted to share with my fellow Type 1's a new way to transform your pump into an accessory.

This tutorial will show you how to make a simple piece inspired by my transformative fashion collection, Hanky Pancreas. The current collection is for women and represents a series of design solutions that better integrate the machine with the body and mind. By turning medical device into fashion accessory the designs intend to alleviate anxiety, create dynamic communities, and encourage new relationships with medical technology.

This tutorial is meant for insulin pumps that have tubing. The design in this tutorial is based around the Medtronic Minimed Pump, however, all the steps can be readjusted according to your own device.

Step 1: Get Your Tools and Materials

What you need:

Insulin pump (obviously)


Sewing machine (or needle & thread)
Measuring Tape
Tailor's chalk
Hot glue gun
Hot glue

Elastic (I use 1.25" wide)
Fabric flowers, feathers, etc

Step 2: Step 1: Measure Your Pump

Take your measuring tape* and wrap it around your pump. 

*If you don't have a measuring tape, take some ribbon or even a thin piece of paper and wrap it around, then mark where the two ends meet and lay this down next to a ruler to figure out the measurements.

This pump is 5 and 1/4 inches around.

Step 3: Step 2: Measure and Cut Your Elastic

After you have figured out the dimensions of your pump you can bring that to your elastic.

With your tailor's chalk, mark on your elastic according to your tape measurements and cut.

Step 4: Step 3: Prepare Elastic for Sewing

You want the elastic band to be somewhat secure around the pump.

Pull the elastic band tightly around your pump.

Mark on both sides with your tailors chalk.

Step 5: Step 4: Sew Elastic Together

Fold your elastic together, matching up the tailor's chalk marks.

Run the piece through your sewing machine or hand-sew it together.

Step 6: Step 5: Attach the Ribbon

This step can be done either before or after you sew the elastic together, depending on if you are hand sewing or using a machine.

The ribbon should be centered on one of the folded sides of the elastic band

Additionally, you can choose to show the ribbon or not depending on which side you sew it (or glue it) to.

Step 7: Step 6: Attach the Accessory

Depending on where you want to wear your accessory, you should adjust your ribbon length.

On the other end of the ribbon you can hot glue a fabric flower or feather.

In NYC there is a garment district where you can buy all kinds of exciting trimmings, many flowers and feathers are pre-made and ready for easy attachment.

You can also make your own fabric flowers, I have done both.

Step 8: Step 7: Rock Your New Fashion Statement

Wrap the elastic band around your pump and put it where you normally your pants pocket or bra.

Now maybe people will say "Awesome accessory, where did you get that?" instead of "What's with the mid-90's pager?"

Cyborgs unite.

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Humana Health by Design Contest

Runner Up in the
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