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.

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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.

Check more of my designs at!

Send me some love or share your designs with me at!

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    14 Discussions

    I think you ROCK! ;-) I'm not Diabetic and the only reason I came across you're AWESOME and totally stylish Insulin Pump Cover is because I was searching the "health" section on Instructables. I have Muscular Dystrophy and have been sittin' pretty in a wheelchair all my life. I just wanted to leave you a quick note and say "Well done" and "you go girl!" I just LOVE how how you found away to turn something that might be hard for people to understand into a hot fashion statement and a fun "safe" way to talk about it. ;-) Keep up this wonderful work!

    God Bless you and yours,
    Amanda--A HUGE fan!

    P.S. Wanna help me turn my wheelchair into a "victorian/steampunk-style" wheelchair? ;-P


    love the idea. have to make one for my lil sister she is 14 and always gets asked what it is.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Jesso, as you gracefully maneuvered thru grad school, you have found your passion and purpose while helping others!  It's made a profound change in your entire attitude toward your diabetes --  you have transformed your energy of not wanting to make people feel uncomfortable and keeping your health details to yourself to wanting to help others by being out in the open literally with everything, including the pump.  It's transformational for you and hopefully for so many others.  Kudos, woman.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     i love how you have incorporated a distinct style (all of your products on your hanky pancreas website) with your theme of enhancing the diabetic lifestyle.  much appreciation from across the pond!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Jessica,
    I see your pump is about the size of an Ipod. Could you put your pump in an Ipod sock to make it look better? These Ipod socks are often knit, or made of some type of material.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is so awesome! I also have a Medtronic pump, but it isn't nearly as cool as yours. Keep up the work! (btw, i've never seen someone make an insulin pump so sexy ;) )


    9 years ago on Introduction

    What an awesome idea! You've created something cute and fashionable out of something that could be difficult for young woman to carry around. An aunt of mine is diabetic and I think she would like this a lot. I hope these become as popular as they deserve to be. :)


    9 years ago on Introduction

     I have diabetes too. I got a new Deltec Cosmo last January, then in March they stopped making them. It really sucked. I hate having Diabetes, but I have to say I'd like to see a cure for cancer before there is one for diabetes.

    Vladi Laihau

    9 years ago on Introduction

     As he said, thank you for this idea,it feels so good to see this kind of inovations comming from people who are , let's say, inside the business. I'm also suffering from type 1 diabetes (been practising this sport for 15 year now) , but I am still using insulin pens. So my question is: how do I "convert" to insulin pumps? The idea is quite appealing to me.
    Thumbs up and keep it that way! "Multa sanatate!" ( = wishing someone to keep healthy, in Romanian) :)

    3 replies

    Run (don't walk) to your doctor and demand they prescribe an insulin pump.  I did the needles for 10+ years and have been pumping about 5 now.  No comparison, needles suck!  I have so much better control of my insulin intake and as a result my A1Cs have improved greatly (near perfect).  I use to think the pump would be like a ball and chain - but it's this disease that's the ball and chain, and the pump is just a tool to help you manage.  I'd suggest checking out for more info on getting started, they have a wealth of information and lots of people that can help you find the path.


     thanks a lot,I'm running my way to my doc today after school.I was curious about this because it seemed to me hard to use mainly because I am not a routine person-I'm quite unpredictable in what I'm doing.So,eventually,this sounds like the perfect treatment for me,since it keeps the glucose level constant.Thanks a lot again!

    floboticVladi Laihau

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yay! Good advice PickPacket and good luck Vladi. Keep in touch with me if you have any other questions - - you can email me at


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much for this, I love the work you're doing! You could really save lives with projects like this. My best friend was an artist and type 1 diabetic. She was too stubborn to get a pump or listen to people telling her how to manage herself. She sadly lapsed one day and passed away. I can't help but think that something like this could have encouraged her to get that pump and might have saved her life. Thank you, I hope young diabetic girls everywhere see these!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Aw, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, it's a difficult disease. Thank you for the encouragement and kind words.