A few years ago I showed Monkey #1 how to use my trusty sewing machine, Bernadette, whilst Monkey #2 was at a friend's house. She happily measured, cut and made up a simple sleeping bag for her favourite soft toy, Doggy (a plush dog). Ever since, Monkey #2 has been asking me to show her how to use Bernadette, because she always wants to do what her big sister does!
Fast forward three years, and I finally found the time to show poor Monkey #2 how to use the sewing machine. Of course, she had to make a sleeping bag for her favourite toy, Teddy Bear Celeste Mium Pop (don't ask!). Which got me thinking that a blog tutorial was in order, to inspire all the other girls and boys out there who want to try their hand at a first, simple sewing project.
- fabric for sleeping bag outer (0.5m/half yd piece of fabric should be enough for anything other than a giant plush toy)
- fabric for sleeping bag lining (0.5 m/half yd)
- matching sewing thread
- sewing machine
- measuring tape or large ruler
1. Measure your toy's dimensions. We made sleeping bags which featured pillow flaps (because you don't want to put your head or pillow directly on the ground!), so you will also need to measure the toy's length from neck to feet/bottom of the toy. You will need to cut your fabric to a width which accomodates the toy and a length which equals the length of your toy plus the length of the toy's body (measure from neck to feet). Don't forget to add 1cm to each side for seam allowances.
e.g. For our teddy bear, we cut the fabric outer and lining to a width of 32cm wide (including seam allowance) and a length of 87cm.
2. Pin your outer and lining fabrics together, right sides facing. Mark off a 15cm long section at one short end - leave this section open for turning your bag right side out.
Start sewing at your first marked off point and sew around the entire rectangle of fabric until you reach the other side of your marked off section.
3. Clip all four corners carefully, to help with turning the fabric right side round. Turn the sleeping bag right way round and iron flat, making sure to iron the seams down at the open section.
4. Place the sewn rectangle lining side up and with the unfinished/open end at the top. Fold up the bottom end to create the pouch part of the sleeping bag, leaving enough fabric uncovered at the top for the pillow flap.
Starting at the bottom left hand corner of the sleeping bag, top stitch all layers together in a clockwise direction - from the bottom to the top left corner, then round the top of the pillow flap (making sure to catch all layers of the open/unsewn section), and back down from the top right hand corner to the bottom right hand corner.
5. And there you have it, a very simple sleeping bag for your child's favourite soft toy! And the great thing about using lovely lining fabrics as my Monkeys did, these sleeping bags can happily be reversible should your soft toy want a bit of a change, ha ha.