Friday, September 17, 2010

Tutorial: Toddler Sleeping Bag

My husband loves to camp.  Me? Not so much.  Anne Taintor shares my same sentiment when she says, “I love not camping.”
That’s me.  I love not camping.  However, it looks as if I may be outnumbered and outvoted in our house because Twinks has sparked an interest in camping.  On our way home from church one Sunday, her tiny voice from the backseat said, “I want to go on a camp trip!”  My husband looked at me with a big, silly grin on his face.  I quickly turned around and pleaded, “Oh, honey.  Wouldn’t you rather stay at a hotel?” 
The conversation gave me the idea for my next project:
 I used:
2 pieces of fleece for the outer shell measuring 32”x56”
2 pieces of flannel for the inner lining measuring 32”x56”
2 pieces of quilting batting measuring 32”x56”
Pillow stuffing
Approx. 16” of 1/4” wide elastic
I started by washing and drying all of my fabric.  I wanted to get all of the shrinking out of the way now, so that it did not shrink or get wonky after it is all assembled.
I then cut out all of my fabric and batting.  Since the pieces are large, it helped to lay them out in a large space.
We’re going to start with the top of the sleeping bag.  I layered the following pieces on top of one another as shown:
Next I got my sewing machine ready and sewed all the way around this piece.  I left about a 7” opening so that I could turn it right side out. 
I turned the entire piece right side out and added a little bit of cottony fluffiness!  I measured and marked 3 equal sections, but you can make as may as you want.  Using the opening that I left, I begin placing stuffing into the upper section that I marked off.  Then I sewed a straight line, stuffed the next section and sewed a straight line.  I continued until I was happy with the amount of fluff.
Then I folded inward and pinned the opening.  I sewed directly on top, making sure to catch both folded pieces of fabric.
Next I worked on the bottom of the sleeping bag, layering the pieces on top of one another as shown:
Just as I did with the top piece of the sleeping bag, I sewed all the way around the bottom piece, leaving an opening to turn it right side out.  I don’t know if I made a mistake at the cutting counter, or if the lady actually cutting my fabric made a mistake, but I ended up with a piece of my lining that was significantly smaller.  So, I had to get a little creative, cut some of my extra fleece and add an extension, if you will.  I put this at the bottom of the sleeping bag so that no one will see it.  After I turned it right side out, I closed up the opening just as I did with the first piece.
Now that I had my top and bottom pieces complete, it was time to put it all together.  Before I did that, however, I wanted to add some elastic for rolling up and tying the sleeping bag for storage.
I stacked both pieces together and folded in half length-wise.  Then I rolled the sleeping bag and wrapped elastic around it so that I could see how much I needed.  I used 16” of elastic.
I took a strip of scrap fabric that is twice the length of the elastic and about 3” wide and folded the length (right sides together) and sewed.  I used a safety pin to turn right side out and thread the elastic through the tube.
Once I threaded the elastic through, I sewed the ends together to make a circle.  With the outside shell of the bottom layer of the sleeping bag facing upward, I pinned the elastic band about 1/4 of the way from the edge. 
Now it was time to assemble the sleeping bag!  I took both pieces and layered together with the outer shells facing together.  I pinned all the way around, except for the top of the sleeping bag and the space I wanted to put the zipper.   My layers were so thick that I had to use safety pins.  Regular old straight pins just weren’t cutting it.  Because of the thickness of my sleeping bag, I had a horrible time sewing it all together.  I removed my presser foot and left it in the upper position and was able to make some progress.  After 2 bent and 2 broken needles, I finally gave up on sewing it by machine and I called in reinforcements. 
My grandma, also known as Gigi is a seamstress extraordinaire.  I showed her what I was doing and the trouble I was having.  She went to work, did her magic on her heavy duty machine and voila! The Big, Fluffy Sleeping Bag was no longer doomed to be filed under “Projects that FAILED.”  For the finishing touch, she helped me add a cute pink zipper to the side. 
(Full disclosure: I am terrible at zippers.  Going to work on this!)
It should be noted that we had to do a bit of hand sewing in some areas because it was just too thick for even her heavy duty machine.
My sweet girl is thrilled with her new sleeping bag.  And I am, too.
 You know, for not camping.


I'm linked up with these parties.

I'm linked up with these parties.


  1. Look at you turning a not-so-fun activity into something you can enjoy too! Well, kinda.

  2. You did a fantastic job! I love that you could make your own sleeping bag for your little one. And it look great too!

    Amie @

  3. Well, since I don't own a sewing machine, thread or needles, i'll bow to your impressive feats! I actually own that "I love not camping" pic in a button! It is on my work bag!

  4. Wow.... great job! I am a cabin camper... tents, not so much! It is adorable and the litle one loosk thrilled! Thanks for linking to It's Stinkin' Cute Craft Thursday!

  5. Visiting via Sew Can Do. This is a wonderful idea. You did a great job on this.

  6. I love not camping too! And yet I married an outdoors-man. I'll learn to adapt too. The sleeping bag is a great idea and it turned out so cute.

  7. I don't mind the camping if I can avoid the sleeping on the ground... This little sleeping bag is just my style. Camp in the living room! Perfect for sleepovers. Definitely putting one together for my little man. Thanks for sharing!

    Stopping by from the Weekend Wrap Up. Have a great weekend!

    just Lu

  8. That was a great tutorial, Tina. I'll definitely be making one of these for my 3-year-old this Christmas!

  9. So cute, thanks for sharing with Sister Sister! Come back and visit us this weekend!

  10. This is adorable!! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

  11. Tutorial: Toddler Sleeping Bag. My husband loves to camp. Me? Not so much. Anne Taintor shares my same sentiment when she says, “I love ...

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