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Gift Idea: American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

We have friends who have twin girls who recently turned 9.  I have seen the girls a few times with American Girl dolls and for their birthday they asked to go camping.  So, I thought, why not make the dolls sleeping bags of their own so that the next time the family goes camping the dolls can get in on the fun too?

I did a quick search online to see what else had been done before and to find out the dimensions needed for 18″ dolls.  I came across a few sites but used this one as my main resource.  I followed the dimensions but didn’t follow the directions completely.  Although, maybe I should have since mine ended up being a bit bulky at the bottom corners.

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

Basically, I cut out my two rectangles, sewed around the edge with right sides together.  (I used fleece for the inside and cotton for the outside.)  I turned it right side out and then folded it in half so that the fleece was on the outside.  To sew the open hole closed (that I used to turn the bag right side out) and turn the long rectangle into a sleeping bag all in one motion, I just tucked in the fabric at the hole and then sewed along the edge of the bag from about half way down and then across the bottom.

Then I just turned what now looks like a sleeping bag right side out so the cotton fabric was on the outside and it was finished.  I think the version I linked to is probably less bulky the way they did it but if I read the directions correctly it seemed you would see the raw edges of the seams on the inside of the bag which I didn’t want.

To help visualize what I just wrote here are some very basic drawings.  Hope they make it a little clearer.

sleeping bag tutorial step 1

sleeping bag tutorial step 2sleeping bag tutorial step 3

For the pillows I cut two rectangles of fleece 5″ x 6.5″.  And you just sew around the edges with the fabric right sides together.  Clip the corners, turn right side out, stuff, and then do a ladder stitch to close the opening.

I am pretty terrible about putting off sewing things until the day before they are given (even though I may have planned it and gotten the supplies well in advance) so this was a great project for that since you can’t get much easier than sewing some rectangles together.  The hardest part for me was finding some fabric in my stash that was big enough and I thought might fit their personalities.  The twins are very, very identical in their looks and general preferences but their dolls are not so I decided to give them different looking sleeping bags.

sleeping bag for 18 inch doll

To spruce up the look of the bags with a practical way of keeping all the pieces in place when not in use, I also sewed a piece of elastic in a loop (to figure out the size needed I just put the elastic around the rolled bag and pillow with a little bit of overlap) with a pretty flower on it.  If I had had my thinking cap on I would have sewn the elastic into the bottom seam of the bag like a real sleeping bag (like I showed in the instructions above) so that the elastic would always be attached and not get lost, but I didn’t think about it until I had finished the first one and I didn’t want the bags to be different in that way.

I cut out a flower and leaf from felt and made yellow yarn pom-pom and hand sewed them onto the elastic to hide where the two elastic ends met.

american girl doll sleeping bag diyI thought they turned out very cute and I loved the extra detail of the flower on the elastic.  It really made it look extra special.  I didn’t have a doll to try them on so I hope they fit, but hopefully they were fine.

This is a great sewing project for beginner sewers.  Please feel free to ask for any clarification if my instructions weren’t clear.

Does your household have any American Girl dolls in it, or other 18 inch dolls?  Have you made anything for them?  What are some other ideas that are cute and easy to help accessorize them?  My daughter is a bit young for them but I’m sure there will come a point when she’ll be into them.

 

13 comments

  1. Shannon says:

    Aw, these are just adorable. My mother made sleeping bags for our Barbies way back when. We passed them (along with a campfire model, guitar, and radio) to my young cousin to enjoy. My girls just aren’t that into dolls!! All my Barbie memories…down the tubes. LOL

    • Jocelyn says:

      ha! “all my barbie memories…down the tubes” too funny! Yeah, you just never know what your kids are going to be into. I remember making things for my barbies when I was kid. And Barbies are so much smaller so it would use a lot less fabric! That’s fun that you still had those things to pass on. The kids play with all of Ken’s star wars toys from when he was young.

  2. Cathy Wilson says:

    Just wondering, did the dolls fit inside okay? I’m a gramma, thinking of following these directions for all three of my granddaughter’s dolls, but want to be sure that in the end, you were happy with the size.
    They are SO cute!
    Let me know, please,
    Cathy

    • Jocelyn says:

      Hi Cathy,

      I was actually making it for some friends’ daughters so I didn’t have the dolls to try them with. I was going off of another person’s plans that used a doll so I am hopeful it did work (You can click on the link in this blog post and see how the doll fits in her sleeping bag). Do you live near them so you could borrow a doll and make sure as you’re cutting and sewing that it fits? Good luck, if you do make them I’d love to see!!

      • Cathy Wilson says:

        Thanks for answering me!
        No, I don’t live close enough to borrow a doll. : (
        I had looked at that other link previously.
        I really like your ideas, and am hoping to replicate by 3.
        I’m going to assume (ah, oh! Lol)… that the size will work and give it a go.
        Thanks again, so much, for answering me!
        Cathy

    • Jocelyn says:

      You’re welcome! I’m terrible at posting regularly but I can definitely answer questions! And good question. I reread both posts and since neither specify the seam allowance I’m assuming I used my default -1/4″ seam allowance which I believe is what it is when you line up the edge of the fabric with the side of the presser foot. I don’t know if you know anyone close with kids but you could always ask friends via Facebook (if you use it) if anyone has a 16″ doll you could borrow. 🙂

      • Cathy Wilson says:

        Thanks so much! (I’m hoping you meant 18″ doll… as that’s what I’m shooting for…),.. and I don’t have any friends around with a doll for me to borrow. I’m 65 and in a new neighborhood,… don’t know anyone here. : (
        You’ve been a great help,.. 1/4″ it is!
        Cathy

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