Recently my three year old has been requesting a sleeping bag. We don’t camp, but she watched a show where a little girl used a sleeping bag and camped out in the back yard. This sparked the obsession…
I knew my little blanket loving daughter would love a sleeping bag for all of her forts, movie nights and sleep overs at the grandparents. I looked online and found a few ADORABLE sleeping bags but they were really expensive. The cheaper ones were thin and NOT CUTE at all. I decided to search Pinterest to see if making a sleeping bag was easy and a possible option. It seemed fairly easy. Several bloggers tried to explain how they made the sleeping bag, but honestly the directions were confusing and the photos weren’t helpful. I decided to take on the project without any real directions to follow. Since I am not the greatest at following directions, this wasn’t much of a loss.
Let’s see if I can do a better job than the blogs I stumbled upon…
Prior to starting–PLAN IT OUT
I drew out a basic “map” of what the sleeping bag should look like, how large I wanted it to be, and how much fabric I’d need. This was the most prepared I have ever been for a sewing project. I typically fly by the seat of my yoga pants. This usually works out well for me….or it turns out really bad. ha! Not sure if this picture of my chicken scratch below is at all helpful for anyone but I thought I’d add it.
If you are like me and you don’t like following directions–here’s the basic gist of what I did. I pretty much made a quilt/blanket. I folded it in half. Then I sewed a seam down the center so it would fold easily into a sleeping bag. Then I sewed the bag up 3/4 of the way and used velcro to fasten the rest of the bag up. Easy right?
Ok…HERE WE GO!
-3 1/2 Yds of outer fabric
-3 1/2 Yds of inner fabric
(I chose two flannel fabrics that were so soft and super cute)
-Batting for Full/Queen size quilt. Find the thickest batting available to make a thick, warm sleeping bag.
-Velcro to fasten the bag (or a zipper if you want to)
-You can add more fabric to the front of your sleeping bag if you want to embellish it.
-Yarn to top stitch/bind the sleeping bag together
-Yarn to sew the bag together
-Let’s get started! My pictures were not the best for this project because the lighting wasn’t always great when I was working on this at night. Also, the sleeping bag was really large completely spread out so it made taking photos difficult. But…bad pictures are better than no pictures right?
-I measured out the fabric to the length and width I wanted the finished sleeping bag to be (with 1 in to spare on all sides for sewing allotment). I did the same thing with my quilt batting.
-I cut my outer fabric into two pieces. One panel the size of the front of the sleeping bag, one panel the size of the back of the sleeping bag. I did the same thing for my inside fabric.
-I took the outer fabric panels and put right sides together and sewed them together. This created a seam right down the center. I did the exact same thing for the inside material.
– You should be left with two large pieces of fabric with a seam down the center. One big piece of outer fabric, and one big piece of inner fabric. The reason you have to do this–fabric comes in a certain width when you buy it. This allows you to get the right size fabric to work with. Below is a picture of the outer fabric sewn together and layed out.
-Place your outer and inner fabric right sides together. Place your batting underneath your outer and inner fabrics. Trim any excess batting along the edges.
-Now PIN!!! Pin everywhere!
(I use this great little tool called a Kwik Klip that helps fasten/unfasten safety pins. A sweet little old lady working at the quilting store suggested it, and since she really seemed to be incredible wise on all things quilting–I bought it. I’m so glad I did. This things makes pinning a breeze. The tool has little grooves at the end that catch and hold the safety pin. The pins I use are slightly bent, making them easy to be caught by the tool.)
-Once you have pinned your fabric/batting together–Sew! Sew around the the giant square of fabrics making sure you are catching all three layers of material. Leave a small amount un-sewn so you can turn your sleeping bag right side out.
-This is really challenging. Only because the batting I used was so thick. It was really hard to feed into my sewing machine. It was like wrestling a giant beast. If my fabrics had been any thicker this would not have fit into my machine.
Here it is after it has been sewn all around the sides prior to being turned right side out.
-Flip the sleeping bag (at this point it is resembling a giant quilt) right side out.
-I don’t have a picture of it all unflipped and right side out, but…Once I got it right side out, I stitched up the un-sewn area that I used to turn my bag right side out.
-I sewed a center seam all the way down the middle of the sleeping bag. This helped the bag fold in half. Again, It was a struggle to wrestle with all of the layers because the bag is sooooo thick. Thankfully it is a simple seam.
-Here it is…taking over my machine!
-The picture below is the bag folded in half. Over halfway done! Now you have to do a top stitch to keep the layers of material together and prevent them from shifting around. A top stitch also keeps everything laying flat.
-Remember how I mentioned that the sleeping bag was incredibly thick? It was nearly impossibly for me to do any sort of traditional top stitch with my sewing machine. So I got creative and decided I’d use yarn and a yarn needle to do a simple type of top stitch. MUCH easier and super cute.
-I simply did a few little stitches and then tied off the stitch using yarn and a yarn needle. I did this all over the outer layer of the bag.
-Now comes the big question…How are you going to fasten your little one’s sleeping bag? This is really up to you and there are many options…A zipper, ties, velcro, buttons, snaps. Or just forget about all of those and sew the darn thing up.
-I was really unsure on how I was going to do this. I knew my 3 year old was going to struggle with a zipper. I wanted this to be something that she could do on her own. After asking some friends on Facebook and knowing what I should avoid in hopes of preventing “3 year old rage,” I decided to do a combo of sewing the bag almost all the way up, and making a few velcro flaps that my little one could do on her own.
-I started by stitching my bag 3/4 of the way up. I put right sides of the bag together (so the outsides of the bag was facing each other). I then started hand stitching.
I used the same yarn and yarn needles that was used to top stitch the bag. This didn’t take long at all because you are using a large yarn thread and yarn. It was actually kind of soothing. I started using a normal needle and thread but it was bunching, hard to work with, and it was taking forever. I ditched it and went with the yarn. Best idea ever.
-Here I am sewing up the bag above. By sewing along the seam, and having adorable fabric inside the bag, your sleeping bag is reversible. Did I mention that???!!!
-Once the bag was sewn 3/4 of the way up, I tied it off and started working on my velcro flaps. I used left over outer fabric and wide velcro to make the flaps.
-Make these flaps whatever size you like. They will be attached to the back of your bag and come around to the front of the bag to be attached by velcro.
-Here is one of the flaps above. I chose to put the loop side (soft side) of the velcro on the flap itself.
-Once the flaps with velcro were put together, I attached them to the back of the bag. I had to hand sew them to the bag. My sewing machine couldn’t handle it. Too thick (boo!)
-I pinned the hook (rough) piece of velcro to the front of the bag. I had to hand sew the velcro to the bag as well. Thankfully I only had three pieces to sew.
VOILA!!! The super cute, snuggly, warm, custom made sleeping bag is done.
-I want to crawl in!
You will notice I put a piece of the inside fabric on outside of the bag. Just a strip of about 10 inches across the top. I wanted to highlight the adorable inside fabric even when the bag was closed. You can do any type of embellishment on the outside of the bag. Go buck wild!
Isn’t this adorable forest animal print to die for!
This sleeping bag is a christmas present for my daughter. Hopefully it will be a big hit. Now I am going to get started on my sons sleeping bag. Picture of that sleeping bag to come.