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This fun repurposing project involves upcycling an old men’s fleece zipper jacket into a DIY doll sleeping bag. Giving old clothes new life with DIY sewing projects makes me so happy!
I love repurposing because the fabric is free, and I can be creative without having to worry about wasted money if a pattern doesn’t work out. Also, my daughter is at the age that she may desperately want something one day but the next day grow bored with said item. As such, I don’t like spending a lot of money on toys for her (like a doll sleeping bag!) so sewing play items myself is the way to go.
Read on for the full DIY sleeping bag tutorial!
This old, stained fleece-lined jacket from my husband made the perfect fabric for this project. It would be warm and cozy for the dolls, but it also wasn’t too thick for my sewing machine to sew through. When selecting a jacket to upcycle, be sure to pick one that’s long enough for the doll you’re sewing for. And if you want a zipper on your sleeping bag as well, look for a jacket with a nice sturdy zipper down the front.
Here are the other sewing supplies I used:
- Sewing machine (if your sewing machine won’t sew thick layers, you may need a needle and thread. I was impressed my Brother CS6000i could sew this project!)
- Elmer’s glue, scissors, and pins or Wonder Clips (one of my favorite sewing accessories!)
- Child’s doll or the dimensions of the doll in question. (We are all about Minnie and Mickey Mouse these days, so they were our models.)
- Iron-on hem tape
How to Make A Doll Sleeping Bag
I always think pictures are much easier to follow on tutorials, so I’m going to include a lot of them so you can see how I sewed this DIY doll sleeping bag using a repurposed jacket. I’m also not going to be too precise or provide exact measurements for a doll sleeping bag pattern, because every doll and jacket size is different! So just follow the process when sewing your own miniature sleeping bag. Here goes!
First, I zipped the jacket up and turned it inside out.
Next, I sewed a simple straight stitch up the sides on the body of the jacket. I left an appropriate amount of fabric in the middle of the two seams to be wide enough to fit our stuffed friends and dolls. The seam stopped once I got to the armpit of the jacket. I used our stuffed Mickey Mouse when deciding where to sew width-wise. I also sewed a straight stitch parallel to the bottom edge of the jacket. This made for three stitches total: two on the side and one on the bottom.
I then trimmed off the excess jacket fabric to save for another project on another day! Here’s what the sleeping bag is looking like right now.
Then, I turned the jacket right side out. I wanted to make a built-in pillow on the top of the sleeping bag to make it a little less long. Mickey would have too much foot space if I didn’t make things a little shorter!
I shortened the zipper and cut out one side of the top portion of the sleeping bag. The picture explains it all, I hope!
Because I cut the top portion of the zipper off, I needed to create a new barrier to keep the zipper from coming off its track. I used a small dab of Elmer’s glue on the very top of the zipper on both sides. Once it dried, it prevented the zipper from being pulled off the top.
I needed to create a few seams to neaten things up after cutting out fabric. I stitched a small seam allowance along the top of the newly cut fabric perpendicular to the zipper as well as along the sides. This was a total of 4 different straight edges as you can tell from the pictures below. Whenever I fold and sew these days, I’ve been loving using Clover Wonder clips. They’re safer around my daughters than pins, and they don’t wrinkle fabric. Score!
Once my seams were sewn, it was time to fold the faux pillow for the sleeping bag.
I decided to use iron-on hem tape to make the folds so I didn’t have to worry about sewing very thick layers. Also, I didn’t want any seams visible on the pillow front. I folded the collar once and fused, the folded once more and fused, and then folded a final time. I worked out the size of the folds and thus pillow perfectly so it would fit right inside the sleeping bag.
Here’s the little pillow tucked into the back of the sleeping bag. Having a pillow as part of the sleeping bag is optional. You can skip this whole part and just sew one big seam around if you’re not wanting to have to deal with folding and pressing the collar. I thought it was so cute though!
The Finished Product: Mickey Snoozing in His Upcycled Jacket Sleeping Bag
Now that my doll sleeping bag is finished, I wanted to let Mickey Mouse try it out. He seemed to love his sleeping, and my daughter has enjoyed having it for him! He travels with his sleeping bag when we go in the car, so I think this jacket upcycle project was a win so far!
If you also love repurposing old clothes and are looking for more ideas, check out these other refashioning and upcycling projects: