Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Sleep-Sack

Over in Germany, all babies sleep in Schlafsäcke or sleep-sacks. Since Jonas was born in Germany, he has gotten very used to sleeping in his sleep-sack. This worked very well until he was about 3 months old. Then he got too big… or should I say too tall. I couldn’t buy a bigger sleep-sack, because the arms and neck were too big, so I decided to make one myself with an extra lot of leg-room.

My first sleep-sack project was for winter and it was made from a piece of cotton material with soccer players on it for the outside(I figured he would still fit in this sack when the World Cup was on, not thinking that by that time, it would be way too hot) and a red towel for the lining. It was very thick and comfy and Jonas almost fell asleep as soon as I zipped in it.

My next project was a sleep-sack for summer. I made this one out of a bed sheet, a blue zipper, and used some blue embroidery thread to make it pretty. Now he can go to bed in just a diaper or T-shirt and still be covered no matter how much he flips around in his bed. The whole project (except for the decorative trim) only took an afternoon to make. Once you’ve made one, the rest are really simple and go fast.

Here’s the how to (some sewing skill is required as there are no pictures with these directions as I wrote them down after the fact. Sorry!):

1. If you don’t already have a sleep-sack to use as a pattern, lay down a baby-tanktop on a piece of newspaper on the middle fold and trace around the top of it. Then lay your baby down on the newspaper and make a line where the feet end. Fold your newspaper in half and draw a half of a pear starting at the armpit and stopping about 10 inches past the foot line (kinda like making those paper hearts in school out of a folded piece of paper). Now you can cut out your pattern and then fold it back so that your pattern is symmetrical. (Pattern A)

2. Cut out another pattern out of newspaper the same size. Cut this pattern in half vertically. (Pattern B)

3. Cut out two pieces of material using pattern A and four pieces using pattern B remembering to leave a quarter of an inch all around.

4. Lay the zipper down on the cut out pieces from pattern B and mark where the zipper ends. Now sew the top two B pieces together from this point down to the bottom of the sleep-sack. Then do the same for the bottom two B pieces for the lining.

5. Now sew the zipper into these two pieces. If you want to know how to make a seamless zipper, ask your grandma or one of the ladies at church. That’s how I did mine and it really wasn’t too hard.

6. Now the tricky part. Lay down the cut out A piece for the outside with the right side up. Now lay down the sewn-together B pieces with the right side (for the outside) down on top of the A piece. Now lay the other A piece for the lining with the right side down. This seems strange, but if you now sew around from armpit to armpit and the tops of the tank, you can actually fold the correct side back out and have a seamless inside. Yeah!

7. In order to keep the inside of the sleep-sack seamless, I just folded in the armpit and neck pieces, ironed them flat, and sewed them together. Now your sleep-sack has no hard edges for your baby to get upset about.

8. Finally, you can decorate your sleep-sack by adding trim or decorative elements. Finished!

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