I’m getting ready to embark on a few new sewing projects and realized I haven’t pulled out my sewing machine in over a year when I made doll sleeping bags for my nieces who were both getting new American Girl Dolls for Christmas. Up until that point, I hadn’t used a sewing machine in, oh, 15 years or so – probably high school home economics being the last time. I did a fair amount of sewing when I was younger, so I figured I’d test out whether it was like “riding a bike”.
My mom gave me a new sewing machine when we first moved into our house 8 years previously, and it was still in the unopened box when I started this project.
I searched on Pinterest for cute ideas, and the one I kept coming back to seemed a little advanced for my lack of recent sewing experience. Of course, it was the cutest one, so I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Here’s a link to the Flossie Teacakes 3 Bears Sleeping Bag pattern I used as a template.
I bought some remnant material on clearance to try to revive my sewing memory for the first attempt and to see if I needed to make any alterations in the pattern. It probably took me a good hour just to figure out how to thread the machine and load the bobbin, but once those were done, I started in. My quilting lines weren’t straight and the rounded corners gave me some trouble especially with the binding. I finally figured out I was going too fast!
Here’s the first one, which wasn’t great. The picture actually looks better than what it really was. I gave it to my son for his little Elmo doll, but eventually just threw it away.
After that one, I figured I had practiced enough but decided to make some modifications. The pattern wasn’t big enough for an 18″ American Girl Doll. The largest size fits a 13.5″ doll. I cut my fabric at about 22″ to fit the 18″ dolls. Also, since I was not patient or practiced enough for the rounded corners, I decided to make them straight 90 degree angles instead.
You make this in 3 pieces – the mattress, the quilt cover, and the pillow (which you attach to the mattress).
My other alteration to the directions was that I decided to use pre-made binding. I think making my own, would have sent me over the edge! I searched online for directions on how to sew the binding. Thank goodness for this quilt binding tutorial from Weekend Kits.
Here’s a close up of one of the finished sleeping bags. I loved the fabric! It’s tough to see the quilting on the other one since the fabric is darker.
In the end, they weren’t perfect (you can tell that my quilting lines are a little diagonal) but I was pretty darn proud of myself for how they turned out overall. Each of them probably took me 6-7 hours to do – EEK! That’s what I get for choosing a pattern that required quilting AND binding for my first time out in so long.
After finishing, I promptly put my sewing machine away for a year! I think I’m about ready to tackle my next sewing project. I have two on the docket – a baby gift for a friend and curtains for our dining room and kitchen.
Have you started sewing recently for the first time or the first time in a long time? What project made you want to start?