sewing project #1: baby snuggler

when i started sewing, i had very few to no fabric, let alone a ‘stash’. outworn or unloved clothes have been used for small bags or purses. it didn’t take long until i discovered ebay and the like as a platform for sourcing old bedsheets and duvet covers. discarded fabric with respectable patterns on it (mostly flowers in my experience) is easily found, and in abundance. it’s cheap and you get a lot of metres to work with! and it’s already there… at best, i could upcycle it into something useful. for experimenting it’s perfect, too, there’s no fear involved. and fear can kill creativity, of which i had a lot of when I started out two years ago. nowadays i find myself often choosing the save road and googling for techniques, just to make sure the outcome is exactly as planned. i miss that ‘illiterate’ spirit sometimes, but maybe I’m being just overly nostalgic!

from this time I still have remnants of this beautiful fabric which i used for the exterior of the snuggler. i’ve made a dress from it already, it drapes really nicely, which i find an unusual feature of duvet covers! if you have problems with thread tension, though, it does show with this fabric, because the weft is a bit looser. fortunately, I fixed that some months ago by buying a new bobbin case for my machine. note to self: better not mess with the lower thread tension… the fabric itself is pure cotton, so washing and pressing is not at all complicated. and destined to become a sleeping bag for a baby in her or his first months, it definitely shouldn’t be! all the same, it may look decent, no?


the finished baby snuggler

i used one pillow case, but had to buy the lining fabric. i couldn’t find a 100% cotton microfleece as the instructions suggest (polyester fleece doesn’t breathe). also, flannell was no option since the sleeping bag will be used during autumn and winter months. i pondered using terry cloth, which is used for towels, but I’m glad I didn’t – i cannot imagine it being easy to work with. finally i decided on 100% cotton sweatshirt-ing with a plush inside which i used as right side here. i was lucky to buy a remnant piece of 0,7m which was slightly cheaper than straight off the bolt (would have cost me 16€/m). considering this fabric is prone to pre-shrinking I *just* managed to cut the lining pieces from it. you don’t need the whole width of the fabric but the length is important.iI didn’t measure the amount of shrinking after the wash (programme: 30° C, delicate fabrics), but 5 – 10% makes sense. velcro tape is something I had already.

a peek into the inside with the adjustable velcro closure to swaddle the baby

the pattern has only two pieces which are both cut on the fold, from the exterior and lining fabric.  there are some darts at the foot bag (adding dimension) and at the top they shape the sleeping bag nicely. construction is fairly easy, but I had to make sure not to stretch out the sweatshirt fabric while sewing. combining woven and knit can be a bit tricky, but it’s certainly not impossible to get neat results. And in the end, I’m really happy with my fabric choices, color and all! I trimmed and clipped the seam allowances when it made sense. the instructions are brief, but I felt they covered everything and where easy to grasp, they even tell you when to trim and clip seam allowances. for me, being thourough and taking my time paid off. always a much more enjoyable sewing experience!!

look at how cozy this is:




pattern and design: lotta jansdotter baby snuggler (free download)