sewing & needlework
a barefoot guide to :: making a baby/toddler sleeping bag including the pattern

a barefoot guide to :: making a baby/toddler sleeping bag including the pattern

Beetle is a shocker for kicking his blankets off. One night last week I was up three times between 1am and 5am, basically because he was cold. Fun times. So on the weekend I hit up my stash, and got busy making him a sleeping bag. Today I want to share with you my super easy, very non-technical, zero measuring sleeping bag tutorial.

how to make a sleeping bag for a baby or toddler including drafting the pattern 

To start with, you will need a pair of your little ones jammies, and a piece of paper large enough to fit them and some spare space. 

Fold the jammies in half, and lay against one side of the paper. The orientation of the bottoms doesn’t matter, but the top needs to be aligned with the fold against the edge of the paper

With the pyjamas laid out, it’s time to create a pattern for the sleeping bag. Start by marking the paper roughly across the shoulder, then flick the sleeve across the body of the top. To mark the side seam,start level with the armpit of the top, and and inch or two out – this will vary depending on your choice of pyjamas. You want the bag to be loose fitting, but bear in mind there is a certain amount of ease already built in by using the pyjamas. From this starting point you want to make an angular line out and down, creating an a-line shape. You can see on the pattern where I mucked up and started going straight down. If you aren’t quite sure how much of an angle, it can be helpful to mark the bottom line as well before finishing the side to help get a feel for where the side would go. The bottom you want to allow a decent amount of space from the bottom hem of the pyjamas to allow for both growth and also to give little legs some room to kick – we want to keep them warm not confined. Join the two lines with a curved corner LWD-1191-002

With the side and shoulder in place, mark in the arm hole, using a gentle curve. I found it helpful to leave to top in place and just lift it slightly as I make this line to get a feel for how the sleeping bag will lay around the arm. LWD-1195-003

Then add some length to the shoulder (my top had a collar and I only marked around 2/3 of the width of the shoulder), and a scoop neck. You will be using the same pattern for front and back so you don’t want it too high. LWD-1197-004

Then you need to add the tabs that will curl over the shoulder and do up with a button. The line you marked earlier is the shoulder line so you don’t  need a lot of extra height, just enough to lift up past the shoulder and give a curved top to the tab.LWD-1198-005 

With the basic outline done, it’s time to add the seam allowance – I eyeballed a line around half an inch from the outline. In places it was closer to 3/4″, but the main thing was it was straight-ish and no closer than 1/2″.LWD-1199-006 

With the pattern done, it’s time to work out your fabric requirements. You need to cut two on the fold for each layer, though if you don’t mind a back seam, I was able to squeeze both front and back onto a single length of quilters cotton. For this bag, size 2-3, I used:

1.5m quilters cotton

1.5m wool batting

A length of polar fleece I bought from the op shop – maybe 1m?

Small amount of home made bias binding
The actual quantities will vary depending on the size of your sleeping bag and how warm you want it to be. My next version will unquoted corduroy lined with flannelette — we are heading north for our road trip and Beelye won’t need the super cozy bag he has for home.
To assemble:

Cut two on fold from each layer

If the ba is to be quilted, pin the outer layer and batting and quilt as desired. I wanted my bag to be soft and have quite a range of movement so I only lightly quilted mine – three rows of free motion quilting horizontally across the bag. LWD-1226-009 

Place the outsides right sides together, then sandwich between the lining (if you didn’t quilt your lining to the outer – my inner was polar fleece so I didn’t want it quilted). Whatever side is facing out at this stage is the side that will be against your baby when the bag is finished. 

See all layers together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Findings the seams using your preferred method – zig zag, overlock, or use some bias binding. I overlocked mine.


Turn right side out. Use complementary bias binding to encase the edges of the top of the bag.

For the closure – add a buttonhole near the end of the tabs on the back of the sleeping bag. Fit the sleeping bag to your child to work out the best position for the button – doing it this way means you can easily move the button as the child grows an give yourself longer before they outgrow the sleeping bag.

All done! Now you have a custom sleeping bag made to fit perfectly. Beetle loves his, made out of the last of my Central Park by Kate Spain yardage, and very conveniently it matches his beautiful quilt. It’s like magic, tuck him into it, and he’ll snuggle down, eyes drooping, and moments later, be sound asleep. Success. 

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