Design Team Wednesday~Doll Sleeping Bag and Pillow Tutorial

Posted by administrator on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Hello! My name is Melissa Mortenson and I blog over at  I am extremely excited to be a part of the Riley Blake Design team and to be sharing my first project with you today.
Today I'm going to show you how to make this fun and easy sleeping bag, that is the perfect size for an American Girl doll! Just a note--- this project has a zipper in it!! But do NOT be afraid!! Zippers are NOT SCARY! Just go slow and you will be fine.
Here's what you need to make this project: All fabric shown is from the Sunny Happy Skies Line by Riley Blake 3 pieces of fabric 8" x 36" for the outside of the sleeping bag 2 pieces of fabric 18.5" x 23" for the bag lining 1, 36" separating zipper- you could use a parka zipper- the zipper MUST separate, it's very important Quilt Batting- I recommend something fluffy (you can use 2 layers if you like) 1 yd jumbo Riley Blake rick rack 1 yd medium Riley Blake rick rack 2 pieces of ribbon 36" each Riley Blake crocheted flowers and cherries For the pillow: 3 strips of fabric 3.5" x 8" (for pillow front) 1 piece of fabric 8" x 9" (for pillow back) 2 pieces jumbo rick rack cut to 9" wide stuffing
To begin: All seams are 1/4" Stitch the 3, 3" x 36" strips of fabric together along the 36" sides. Press seams.
sleeping bag front is shown folded in half here, the fold is at the top of the photo
Apply jumbo and medium rick rack to the sleeping bag front over the top of the seams between the strips. (you can stitch down the center of the rick rack or iron it on using fusible seam tape)
Fold the 2 36" pieces of ribbon in half lengthwise and stitch to the bottom of the sleeping bag on what will be the back.  (think of the sleeping bag as a book- it will open and one side will be the front and one side the back- when folded up and zipped the sleeping bag will be approx 18" x 23")
Stitch the  first piece of ribbon 6" in from the outside edge of the sleeping bag. Stitch the 2nd piece of ribbon 6" away from the first piece.
Separate your zipper- Mark the wrong side of the zipper with a marking pen (sometimes it's easy to mix up the right and wrong sides of the zipper). Pin one side of the zipper to one half of the sleeping bag- starting 1" in from the center bottom of the bag and wrapping around to the top of the sleeping bag. You will pin the zipper upside down (so that the right side of the zipper faces the right side of the fabric) with the teeth of the zipper facing IN. (see photo) To get the zipper to go around the corner- clip a "V" into the zipper tape where it meets the corner of the sleeping bag. The zipper will reach to within 1"-2" of the top of the sleeping bag.
Now, pin the other part of the zipper to the other half of the sleeping bag so that the zippers are a mirror image of each other.
Using your zipper foot- stitch zipper to sleeping bag front. It is helpful to "move" the zipper pull as you sew so that it does not get in the way of your zipper foot. TEST your zipper before you proceed.  Make sure you have it installed correctly before moving on to the next step. Next: Sew the  2, 18.5" x 23" pieces of fabric together along the 23" seams to form the bag lining. Press seam open. Place sewn bag lining piece right sides together with bag outside piece. Cut a piece of batting to the size of your bag. Place this on the wrong side of the bag lining piece.  You will have a "sandwich" with batting at the top, then bag lining and bag front. (remember bag lining and bag front are right sides together)
Start stitching at one top corner of the sleeping a bag, and stitch all the way around, leaving a 3-4" opening on the top of the bag to turn it right side out. Make sure you don't catch your ribbon pieces in the seams. Stitch along the line you JUST made to attach your zipper- this will ensure that the zipper is placed correctly in the bag. (you are still sewing with your zipper foot) Clip corners and turn right side out.
It should look like this, with an opening like this at the top:
And the base of the zipper should look like this:
Hand stitch opening in top of sleeping bag closed.
To finish sleeping bag, hand stitch on crocheted flowers to the front. To make the pillow: Stitch the 3, 3.5"x8" pieces of fabric together along the 8" sides. Press seams open
Stitch 2 pieces of rick rack each 9" long to the top and bottom of pillow piece. Stitch right down the center of the rick rack. Place right sides together and stitch 8" x 9" piece of fabric to pillow front. Leave a 2" opening to turn pillow right side out. Stuff pillow and hand stitch opening closed.

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I can't wait to make this for my little girl ... She'll love it!

Thank you so much for the GREAT tutorial Melissa! 

Please take a minute and go visit Melissa's blog

She's got a GREAT giveaway that you won't want to miss! 

As always, let us know what you think and if you make this (or any of our projects!), please share them on our Facebook page ... We'd love to see them! 

~See you next Wednesday for another GREAT project~

Category: Project Design Team Wednesday


  1. Argh! After sewing the zipper in twice - both times incorrectly. I'm done. Next time a few more tips on the correct side of the zipper would be helpful. I consider myself a fairly experienced sewer but I found the instructions fairly skimpy. My preference is bullet pointed directions. It is much easier to see each step. Please bear in mind I'm writing this comment as much frustration.
    by Anita
    March 16th, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
  2. Lol, Anita! We have all been frustrated before, and can hear it in your words. However, this is a beautiful tutorial! I love the gorgeous photos and the fun fabric. Thank you, Melissa for your generous FREE tutorial! :)
    by angela
    June 02nd, 2012 at 3:42 p.m.
  3. That's Incredible can you do more things 4 dolls please??? I love them, and they were such easy to me!!! I love the design! Did you made it?
    by Annie
    July 15th, 2012 at 8:16 p.m.
  4. I Am a beginner sewer and found this when searching pinterest. I am learning to sew and am starting by making pillows and blankets for my daughters' dolls. This is so cute and the adorable panda fabric is to die for! My daughter loves pandas! Thank you for the tutorial! Thanks! Melissa for stopping by!
    by Melissa
    August 15th, 2012 at 2:25 p.m.
  5. I think there is a typo in the instructions. It says you need: 3 pieces of fabric 8" x 36" for the outside of the sleeping bag . Then once the sewing instructions start it says to stitch the "3x36 strips together" I'm a tad confused.
    by Teresa
    October 04th, 2012 at 8:44 a.m.
  6. This is really fun and amazing project. The colorful pillow is wonderful! - 
    by Lenrui
    October 17th, 2012 at 12:30 a.m.
  7. This is fun and exciting to do project. The colorful pillow is really wonderful. - 
    by Lenrui
    October 17th, 2012 at 12:31 a.m.
  8. Obrigada pelo tutorial, todas as meninas gostavam de uma bolsa assim.
    by Pinta
    February 15th, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.

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