Sew a Sleeping Bag for an 18 Inch Doll

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Today’s contributor is Jill from Snugglebug University.  All posts written by Jill for Make It and Love It can be found HERE.

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Hi, it’s Jill from Snugglebug University.

Today, I’m so excited to share a project that I made for my daughter for Christmas, a sleeping bag for her American Girl doll!

My daughters’ dolls go everywhere with us, so I wasn’t too surprised when my older daughter decided her doll really needed a sleeping bag for when we travel to Grandma’s house.   “Oh, and Mom, I’d really like it if you made it for me, too.  I want it to be cozy!”

It’s not the first time she’s requested me to sew something for her doll.  I’ve made a coat and a poodle skirt, too…and I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last project she requests!

This project was a fun one, though, and nice break from doll dressmaking!

I’m hoping that soon she’ll be able to sew some of her own doll projects, too…because I loved sewing for my dolls as a kid.  (In fact, the desire for doll clothes is why I begged my grandmother to teach me to sew about 25 years ago!)  I just need to teach her! Maybe that will be our next project…

Today’s project is this sleeping bag, though. The sleeping bag is fully lined.  A zipper holds the two layers together.  If you unzip the layers you’ll actually separate the two sides into two separate blankets!

There are a few pieces of elastic at the bottom.  These are used for rolling up the suitcase.   See?  Just like this, and you have a compact rolled-up sleeping bag. 

Adding the zipper can be a little bit tricky, but I’ll walk you through all the steps so it isn’t too difficult.  The best part is that even though you need a pretty long zipper here, no special ordering is necessary.  I was able to pick up all of the supplies at my local fabric store and sew it up in an afternoon….just in time for Christmas!

Are you ready to make your own sleeping bag?  Let’s get started!

What you’ll need:
  • 48-inch separating zipper
  • 2/3 yard of outer fabric  (You can probably get away with 1/2 yard, depending on the direction of your fabric pattern.  For my pattern I needed to get 2/3 yard to make the fabric go the direction that I wanted.)
  • 1/2-2/3 yard of inner fabric
  • Batting
  • Two 10 and 3/4 inch pieces of 3/4 inch wide elastic
  • Basic sewing supplies

Note: I used flannel for this project, but you could use fleece, too.  Regular quilting cotton will also work.

Let’s begin. 

The first thing to do is to cut out the sleeping bag pieces.  Make a rectangle 20.5 inches tall and 15 inches wide.  Cut out two from outer fabric, two from inner fabric, and two from batting.  This will give you enough for about 1 inch to tuck in at the top, and about a 1/2 inch seam allowance all around.  Next curve the bottom edges just slightly.

Pin the zipper to one of the front pieces of fabric.  The zipper should be face down so that the right sides of the fabric and the zipper are facing each other.

Start placing out the zipper about an inch down from the top, and adjust the zipper so it begins and ends at about the same height.

You’ll notice that it’s a little difficult to pin around the curves at the base of the sleeping bag.  Don’t worry about this.  You can adjust the zipper around the curve when you sew.

Use a zipper foot to baste the zipper to the fabric front. Remember that you can open and close the zipper as needed to make the sewing easier as you go along.

Now place the right side of the interior fabric on top of the front piece with the zipper.  Place the batting on top of that.  Then sew around all of the edges (except for the top!) securing all layers (including the zipper) into your seam.

When you finish going around you can turn the sleeping bag front right side out.  It should look like this.

Now we need to repeat with the other side of the sleeping bag.

First, though, pin the elastic pieces (folded over on themselves) on top of the zipper.  You are going to want to incorporate this into your seam.

Next place the right side of the other side of the sleeping bag on top of the zipper and baste the zipper to the piece. Use your zipper foot to make this easier.

When you are finished basting, your bag should look like this.  Go ahead and separate the two pieces.   I know it’s kind of hard to see from the picture, but only one of the pieces below has the lining and batting attached.

Sew the lining and batting piece to the front fabric/zipper piece just as you did before. (Place the interior piece on the right side of the exterior fabric, and the batting on top of that.)

This is what you should have when you have turned both sides right side out!  Two separate pieces!  Only the top of the sleeping bag needs finishing.

Fold over about an inch of the top of each sleeping bag side and pin.

At this point, it is important to make sure that you folded in an equal amount on each side.

Sew a simple running stitch along the top to secure the layers together.  Then sew the other side.

When you are done the sleeping bag should look like this.

The separating zipper makes it easy to use each side of the sleeping bag as a blanket too.

Here it is all zipped up!  All finished!

Looking for more doll projects?  Hop on over to my blog to learn how I made this doll coat.  The kid coat version tutorial is here.

Happy sewing everyone!


blog contributor Jill

You can follow Jill on her blog (, on instagram, on pinterest, and on faceboook.

For even more DIY inspiration to keep those kids entertained, check out some of these fun ideas:

Toy Sling Shots…great for indoor fun!

DIY Toy Fishing Pole (that reels in)…and Magnetic Fabric Fish

Stuffed Toy Snakes……soft and cuddly!!

The post Sew a Sleeping Bag for an 18 Inch Doll appeared first on Make It and Love It.

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