DIY Sleepsack (Hurray! Sleep!!)

***there is no guarantee that the following pattern will in fact produce a sleeping child

First off, “HELLLOOOoooooo dear blog friends!”

You thought I’d lost myself in a deep mommyland abyss didn’t you?! Well no my dearest, despite reflux, stomach bugs, potty training & mastitis (TMI, I know…) I’m still trucking along & somehow by the dear grace of my Lord above I was able to sew something!!!

I don’t know what it’s like where you live but around here it’s getting downright chilly. Despite my best effort to bundle up little Soph she still wakes up every night with icebox hands. That’s why I decided to make an uber-warm, fully lined, mitten sleeved sleepsack for her. (anything that might produce more sleep is worth the effort in my book)

The outside is a no-pill fleece print from Jo-Ann’s (50% off this week!) & the lining is this luxuriously soft chamois type fabric that I snagged from the fabric store scrap pile over a year ago. Throw in a 22″ long zipper, a sleepsack to make the pattern from & a panini sandwich (mmmm…cheeeese) & you’ve got everything you need to make your own ultra cozy sleepsack.
With the directions below feel free to leave out the sleeves for a traditional sleepsack (& super fast project) or leave out the lining if you want it for more everyday use.

First things first, I got Samster down for a nap & tucked Sophster into her swing…Next I got started making my pattern by using one of Sophie’s existing sleepsacks. I make most of my projects by drawing patterns from existing items, I find it easiest to use a big roll of paper (Ikea) & a highlighter to outline my pattern since I inevitably will get some on the clothes. Then I add a 1/4″ seam allowance around the outside of the drawing.Use your new pattern to cut out 1 piece of your outer fabric & 2 of your lining fabric.Take one of the two lining cutouts & slice it right down the middle. Also cut a V shape at the neck. These will be the lining pieces for the front half of the sack.To make the outer front pieces place one of your new lining fabric halves on top of your outer fabric & cut out the outer fabric to the same dimensions except for adding 1″ along the inside edge. (this is going to be used for your zipper lining)Next while you’re still in the pattern making mood go ahead & whip up some sleeves. I used a pair of Sophie’s pj’s whose armholes were roughly the same size as my sleepsacks. Be sure to fold the fabric in 1/2 along the top of the sleeve that way you’ll only have to sew up the bottom to form a tube. Cut out 2 & set aside.Now back the main body…time to sew in your zipper. (let me just say this is the first time I’ve ever sewn a zipper into anything. They intimidate the crap out of me. I tried reading the enclosed directions but they were all in professional seamstress jargon & I just couldn’t translate. The way I ended up doing it may not be appropriate zipper etiquette but it did work for me so I’m happy with it. The end.)
Working with just the front sleepsack pieces I pinned my lining & outer fabrics together so they were all lined up. Next I folded the 1″ extended piece of the outer fabric over & pinned it along the zipper.(In the picture below bottom piece is what it looks like when you pin the extended piece over & then if you flip it over & stitch it to the zipper it’ll look like the top one)For stitching the zipper on I worked with it zipped, first down the left & then down the right.
I did lots of pinning first to make sure it would lay properly.I also hemmed the edge of the neck “V” above the zipper.
Repeat on opposite side of zipper, unzipping if you need to.

Now that you have the front piece finished you’ll need to hem the neckline along the back 1/2 of the sleep sack so it matches up with the “V”. I just pinned it over & stitched it down. For both that seam & the “V” hems I did one straight stitch seam & one scalloped looking zig zag stitch. It ended up this way because of a mistake I made not catching the lining the first time I stitched it but I kind of like it…Next up, with your right sides facing together go ahead & stitch across the shoulders. Afterwards open the two pieces up & take a sleeve piece (opened up as well) & pin it along the armhole area.Stitch one sleeve along the “armhole arc” & then repeat on other side.

At this point the swing was no longer cutting it for Soph but I was determined to finish.
Bring in the Bjorn…Now for the little mitten cover ups I basically just sewed a little flap of fabric into the sleeve that could be flipped over to cover hands or left flipped up to allow the hands to come through the sleeve. You’ve probably seen these on most newborn long sleeved onesies or those little kimono tops they wear in the hospital. Well, I confused the heck out of myself with how to sew them on & in the end did it wrong so if you want to give it a try I’d say take a good long hard look at a onesie that has them. If you figure it out correctly please let me know!

And finally the last step…whew!

Take your entire piece & turn it inside out. Take great care to smoooooth out the fabric (paying special attention to catch both outer fabric & lining) & pin along the perimeter of the sleepsack & bottom of sleeves. Stitch one nice long stitch around the whole thing, flip it right side out & wah-lah!I think my husband’s comment sums it up…”can you make one in my size?”

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  1. Hootnz

    Great tutorial! Wish I had done something similar for our winter which has just been and gone….. Hope Sophie sleeps better, it looks like it may do the trick :)

  2. Stephanie

    She is so adorable. You are getting your groove back again, yahoo! I hope she sleeps a very long sleep for you now, that is just too cozy not to.

  3. Rafahi Family

    Can I please just tell you that I envy you and the time that you find to even post an new blog entry. :-) The sleeper looks so nice and cozy, I hope Sophie sleeps better! Sorry to hear about your mastitis, hopefully you are better now.

  4. Camilla

    Hurra for you! I could have used this tut. 1½y back. I needed a summer sleeping sack for a 9m. girl but here in Denmark they didn't meet my recurements, either too small or too warm. So I took a dress pattern and added length to it, a zipper on the side and elastic-waist-ribbon over the sholders. She can still fit it and when we use it she cant kick off the blanket.
    (I hope this makes sence, it would in Danish)

  5. Mauri

    Love it! She is too adorable. I've got my baby in fleece jammies but she refuses to keep her hands under the blanket so the little flip over mittens would be awesome! Glad to see you back to sewing and crafting. I'm still not quite there yet. I just need to get this little one to take a nap longer than 20 minutes during the day!

  6. Jo

    I made one of these a couple years ago. I used a separating zipper so that I could install it upside down. This way, when I had to change a diaper, I only had to unzip just a bit at the bottom; the rest of Baby could stay warm and cozily covered.

  7. Sarah

    I just did one for my daughter. I got brave and drafted my own pattern from her measurements. I also installed a separating zipper so I could open it up or the bottom. Yours looks great, I love how you lined it!

  8. Juanita

    Genius!! These are super warm!! I made one last year from a pattern in a baby blue flannel for my then 3 month old daughter. I used it as a Maggie Simpson costume! I also made a yellow hat with 'spikey hair' I'll have to send you a pic.

  9. Robin

    I gotta say, that is brilliant. My baby is due in June so I think I'll make one in just flannel to make a lighter weight one. And since I don't know if lil' one is a girl or boy, I'll just have to wait a few more weeks to start this one. Thinks for such a straight forward tutorial. (And that is one cute baby.)

  10. Mammy Made

    i love this, its gorgeous! far too warm for one of these here atm but im deffo gna be making one of these in the winter :) x

  11. Kristen

    My baby was sleeping through the night until he outgrew his mitten sleepsack two weeks ago. It’s been rough. Last night I caved and stuffed him into the too-small sleeper and sure enough, he slept through the night. It’s busting at the seams though. You can’t buy any bigger than 6m with mittens! It makes sense, but my 4 month old is wearing 9 months clothes, so… Anyway my point is that this how-to is a lifesaver and I officially love you.

  12. Lyndsay

    I had to laugh at the part about the mitten cover-ups, I had serious trouble with those as well! I was following a pattern, with pictures, and still managed to get one on backwards. Oh well, the way it looks doesn’t affect the warmth right? :)

  13. Michelle

    Well, I am a beginning sewer, but this looks like something I would love to make for my little guy! Hopefully I’ll find the courage to give it a try….I have not been able to find any sleep sacks with sleeves at the store (not to mention the $ I’ll save by making it myself!) Thanks for the idea!

    • Natasha

      It’s a great beginner project, zippers are so intimidating but they shouldn’t be! Plus if you screw it up a little who cares, no ones going to see him at night!

  14. helema

    I love this concept im always makeing patterns from scratch useing existing clothing and repurposing things. if someone is a bit lazy about the linning or is in an area that isnt that cold they can use a couple receivin gblankets and biased tape (for the zipper part) and fo rthat swaddleing effect make “wings” that can be attached to the back and wraspped around the front ot swaddle the arms useing small snaps or heavy duty velcro. voila you spend 5-10 bucks (less if you receive blankets as a gift and have an old garmet with a nice zipper you can repurpose) and get the “swaddler” they sell for around 30 bucks a piece up to 45 bucks if its the convertable and ive seen them for 60 bucks.. for that i can make the one im expecting 6-10 of these things cause i get loads of receiving blankets and fleece that i can repurpose!!

  15. Paula

    Love the sleep sack. I want to make some for a great-granddaughter that we are expecting, but do not have a sleep sack to make a pattern from and really didn’t want to go out and buy a pattern. Do you have a printable pattern? Thanks.

  16. stacy

    Hi Ms. Natasha.
    I had a quick questioning regarding your sleep sac…. I’m looking to leave out the zipper and just do snaps at the top shoulders. Admittedly I’m a beginner sewer and my first sleep sac, following a patter, turned out fine except for the stinking zipper! I had over 2″ in zipper length compared to what I ended up needing, even though I bought the correct sized zipper according to the package. I was proud to figure out how to apply the double-fold bias tape, which seemed so confusing at first.

    I’m too embarrassed to ask, or even show, my first attempt to my mother-in-law who’s an amazing seamstress. It seemed somewhat serendipitous to find your blog… If you could offer me any help or advice, I would be so very thankful. If not, thank you for your helpful and funny posts, they were fun to read.

    Cheers!
    -Stacy

    • Natasha

      Lol, don’t even worry about it, zippers are a PAIN IN THE BUTT & I rarely use them because I usually screw them up too!

      I actually do have a sleepsack that snaps on the shoulders…I think that’d be much easier to make. What’s your question? Happy to help anyway I can! (although an expert seamstress I am not)

      • Stacy

        Well, basically my question is: how do I make the sleepsac with shoulder snaps?

        Even the drawing out from an existing sleepsac can be tricky b/c the scooped neck in front. Plus it’s a sleepsac for the summer, which means I don’t need the sleeves. I just can’t figure out what I would need to do to make it, and in what order to assemble everything…

        I realize you’re uber busy with two kidlets, but I would really appreciate the help.

  17. Laura

    Hi I think you did a fantastic job making these sleep sacs!!! My question is do you ever make these to sell them to others? If you do I would love to purchase one!! Thanks and have a wonderful day!!
    Laura Brown

    • Natasha

      Oh you’re sweet to ask but no I don’t and honestly you don’t want me to! Their fine for me but I don’t think you want to pay for my wonky zipper sewing skills (:

  18. repool

    Thank you for showing your tutorial on a mat with measurements! I got all the measurements using your sack as the pattern! Keep using the cutting mat as the background for us people who don’t have a living model to measure. Sleeves are 5 1/2 long, armholes are 3 1/2″ tall, there is 20″ from bottom of armhole to bottom of sack, neck is 5″ wide with 1 1/2″ back scoop and 4″ “v” in front, 1″ fall for armhole top (top of neck to top of armhole), 13″ across (from bottom of armhole to other armhole), 15 at bottom, add 1″ to centre of bottom. All measurements are finished size. Use a flap using pieces of velcro (or snaps, etc) for bottom, and then you can change baby without taking baby out, or if too warm.

    BTW if you have a 5″ circle cut in half and sew the flat portion to 1/2 of the cuff length (making sure you have the sleeve seam opposite to centre of sewed circle) you will be able to make a automatic “mitt” to cover hands. -found on craftser.com

  19. Jeni

    It’s been a while since you posted this, but what is that yellow tool in the photo where you cut out the fabric using the pattern? Is it a replacement for scissors? Anything to make cutting easier gets my interest. I’m attempting to make this sleep sack since it’s impossible to find these in a large size with sleeves. Wish me luck!

    • Natasha

      Good luck! You can totally do it & best part is babies don’t give a crap if the seams are crooked! That yellow tool is my rotary cutter, mine is made by Olfa & LOVE it!

  20. Julz

    Great! This is exactly what I was looking for. My nephew is getting bigger and my sis has “hired” me to make him some new sleepy sacks! Your non-fancy jargon works for me too (zippers…yikes!).
    Thanks for this…ps–your kid is adorable!

  21. Janet

    Wah-lah? Did you mean “voila”?

    Mirriam Webster: voi·la
    vwäˈlä
    exclamation
    there it is; there you are.

    So many people just don’t know……

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