Sew an adorable doll sleeping bag and pillow set for an American Girl (or other 18” doll)! I’ve got a tutorial for you below. The set includes a sleeping bag with zipper and a matching pillowcase. It’s just the thing for doll sleepovers!
The sleeping bag is made with a separating zipper that goes all the way down the side and bottom.
If you unzip it all the way, you can unfold the sleeping bag to make a blanket.
I kind of think it’s perfect for doll picnics or tea parties.
If you’ve never sewn a separating zipper before, don’t worry. It’s really not any more difficult than sewing a regular zipper – and the “wow” factor of being able to totally separate the zipper is totally worth any extra effort it takes to install it.
I had a fun print I wanted to show off with this project, so I cut my main sleeping bag from a single piece of fabric. But, you could also take things up a notch by throwing in some basic color blocking. Or, make it legendary with a pieced patchwork design! You can create any kind of design for the outside, so long as your finished main fabric piece matches the dimensions in the tutorial.
I opted to quilt my sleeping bag because that’s what real sleeping bags look like. The quilting also makes the sleeping bag more durable if you’re ever going to run it through the laundry.
And to go with the sleeping bag, obviously your doll needs a matching pillowcase!
The pillowcase has a contrast band and trim to finish off the side. And inside the pillowcase is a plain white pillow insert, just like a real pillowcase would have.
Finished dimensions of the sleeping bag are approximately 11” wide x 21” tall. The pillow insert measures 8.5” wide x 6” tall, and the pillowcase is 10” wide x 6 ½” tall.
Be sure to check out my other free patterns for dolls – a cute skirt and t-shirt outfit, and also how to make a doll sweater from a pair of socks!
Main fabric – 2/3 yard
Lining fabric – 2/3 yard
Batting – 2/3 yard
30” separating zipper
Pillow insert – white cotton, large scrap (at least 13” x 9”)
Pillow contrast band – large scrap (at least 9” x 14”)
Pillow trim – large scrap (at least 1” x 14”)
Free pattern – Doll Sleeping Bag
RST = Right Sides Together. WST = Wrong Sides Together. All seam allowances ¼” unless otherwise stated.
Doll Sleeping Bag
Cut your fabrics
Cut the following pieces of fabric:
- Main fabric – 1 piece, 23 ½” wide x 21 ½” tall
- Lining fabric – 1 piece, 23 ½” wide x 21 ½” tall
- Batting – 1 piece, 23” wide x 21” tall (For a fluffier sleeping bag, cut 2 pieces.)
Use the pattern to curve the corners of the Main fabric, Lining fabric, and batting pieces.
Quilt the Main fabric piece
Baste the batting to the back of the Main fabric piece.
- If you’re using fusible fleece, you can just follow manufacturer’s instructions to fuse the fleece to the back of the Main fabric.
- If you’re using batting, you can use glue stick to glue baste the batting to the back of the Main fabric.
Mark quilting lines on the right side of the Main fabric using an erasable fabric marker. I kept things simple with some basic horizontal lines, but you can use any design you like.
Quilt the layers together.
An erasable fabric marker is helpful to mark the stitch lines on your fabric first. Then, you can just sew along the lines you marked.
The quilting isn’t super necessary, especially if you’re using fusible fleece. But if you plan on washing the sleeping bag, which is a likely scenario if kids are playing with it, then the quilting is a good idea.
Install the zipper
Use an erasable marker (or cut a small notch) to mark the middle of the bottom edge of the Main fabric.
Place the zipper RST around the bottom and right side of the Main fabric piece, starting 1” to the right of the middle. This is the bottom of the sleeping bag, so start with the bottom of the zipper.
Use a zipper foot to sew the zipper in place, sewing along the bottom edge then going around the corner and up most of the right side.
- When you get to the corner, cut some small notches in the zipper tape so it will round the corner smoothly.
- The zipper pull can be difficult to sew past. When you get to the zipper pull, stop sewing with the needle down in the fabric. Then lift the presser foot and slide the zipper past the spot where you are sewing. Put the presser foot down and continue sewing.
- If the batting/fleece underneath is dragging on your feed dogs and causing your machine to make tiny stitches, try putting a layer of tissue paper underneath while you sew. When you’re done sewing, you can just tear the tissue paper away.
Now to sew the other side of the zipper. First, unzip the zipper entirely, so it separates into two sides. The right is already sewn in. Take the other side and place it around the LEFT side of the Main fabric piece, RST and starting 1” to the LEFT of the middle mark. You’re essentially making a mirror of the right side.
- Pay attention that you’ve got the zipper placed face down and starting with the bottom of the zipper. On the side without the zipper pull, it can be hard to tell the top/bottom and front/back. On my zipper, I was able to use the placement of the zipper stops to help tell the difference between the top/bottom of the zipper. My zipper stops were placed flush with the bottom of the zipper, but about 1” from the top of the zipper.
- Use pins/clips to make sure that the two sides of the zipper are even. (Pay particular attention to the top of the zipper –pin it so it’s even with the other side of the zipper.)
Use a zipper foot to sew the zipper in place.
Zip the zipper to verify that the zipper is even. If it’s not perfectly even, that’s okay. But if it’s really far off, you may want to rip and resew one of the two sides so they better match.
Sew the lining
Unzip the zipper so you’ve got a flat piece again.
Now place the Lining on top of the Main piece, RST. Sew around all 4 sides with the zipper foot, leaving 4” open at the top to turn. (I put my hole on the left side so it would end up on the back of the sleeping bag.)
Turn right side out, then press.
Use a ladder stitch or fusible hem tape to close the turning hole.
The sleeping bag is finished!
Pillowcase and Pillow Insert
Cut your fabrics
Cut the following fabric pieces:
- Pillow Insert – 2 pieces white cotton, 9” wide x 6.5” tall
- Main Pillowcase – 1 piece cotton, 9” wide x 14” tall
- Pillowcase Cuff – I piece cotton, 4” wide x 14” tall
- Pillowcase Trim – 1 piece cotton, 1” wide x 14” tall
Sew the pillow insert
Place the two Pillow Insert fabric pieces RST. Sew around all 4 sides with ¼” seam allowance, leaving 2” open to turn.
Turn right side out, then press.
Stuff the pillow with PolyFil stuffing.
Use a ladder stitch or hem tape to close the turning hole.
Sew the pillowcase
Press the Pillowcase Cuff piece in half lengthwise and WST.
Press the Pillowcase Trim piece in half lengthwise and WST.
Place the Pillowcase Trim piece along the right side of the Main Pillowcase piece, RST and raw edges together.
Now place the Pillowcase Cuff piece on top of the Pillowcase Trim piece, also WST and raw edges together.
Sew the layers together with ¼” seam allowance.
Press the seam open, with Pillowcase Trim pressed over to the Pillowcase Cuff side of the seam.
Fold in half the short way (creating a piece that’s 10.5” wide x 7” tall).
Sew unfinished side and bottom with ¼” seam allowance.
Turn right side out, then press.
Place the Pillow Insert inside the pillowcase. Now your American Girl doll has a pretty spot to rest her head!
If you love this adorable tutorial as much as I do then be sure to check out Anne’s other doll sewing tutorials:
Doll Pajamas and Sleep Mask Set
Diane Decker says
I tried and tried and tried some more to figure out how to open this pattern. Had no trouble with any of the others, but this one has me confounded. It’s just one page, with just a pattern to cut the curve! Please message me with instructions to extract the pattern or whatever it is I have to do!
Anne Weaver says
I’m so sorry about that! I uploaded the wrong file format for the pattern. I’ve fixed that and it should work now. –Anne