Doll Sleeping Bag & Pillow Tutorial

This is a project that I did for the Riley Blake Design Team blog. I thought I’d post it here in case you missed it. Make sure you check out their blog they have lots of fantastic sewing tutorials!

American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag Tutorial

Today I’m going to show you how to make this fun and easy sleeping bag, that is the perfect size for an American Girl doll! Just a note— this project has a zipper in it!! But do NOT be afraid!! Zippers are NOT SCARY! Just go slow and you will be fine.

Doll Sleeping Bag

Here’s what you need to make this project: All fabric shown is from the Sunny Happy Skies Line by Riley Blake

3 pieces of fabric 8″ x 36″ for the outside of the sleeping bag 
2 pieces of fabric 18.5″ x 23″ for the bag lining 1, 
36″ separating zipper- you could use a parka zipper- the zipper MUST separate, it’s very important 
Quilt Batting- I recommend something fluffy (you can use 2 layers if you like) 
1 yd jumbo Riley Blake rick rack 1 yd medium Riley Blake rick rack 
2 pieces of ribbon 36″ each 
Riley Blake crocheted flowers and cherries 

For the pillow: 
3 strips of fabric 3.5″ x 8″ (for pillow front)
 1 piece of fabric 8″ x 9″ (for pillow back) 
2 pieces jumbo rick rack cut to 9″ wide

Tutorial for American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag

To begin: All seams are 1/4″ Stitch the 3, 3″ x 36″ strips of fabric together along the 36″ sides. Press seams.

Free Sewing Pattern for American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag
sleeping bag front is shown folded in half here, the fold is at the top of the photo

Apply jumbo and medium rick rack to the sleeping bag front over the top of the seams between the strips. (you can stitch down the center of the rick rack or iron it on using fusible seam tape)

Fold the 2 36″ pieces of ribbon in half lengthwise and stitch to the bottom of the sleeping bag on what will be the back.  (think of the sleeping bag as a book- it will open and one side will be the front and one side the back- when folded up and zipped the sleeping bag will be approx 18″ x 23″)
Stitch the  first piece of ribbon 6″ in from the outside edge of the sleeping bag. Stitch the 2nd piece of ribbon 6″ away from the first piece.

Separate your zipper- Mark the wrong side of the zipper with a marking pen (sometimes it’s easy to mix up the right and wrong sides of the zipper). Pin one side of the zipper to one half of the sleeping bag- starting 1″ in from the center bottom of the bag and wrapping around to the top of the sleeping bag. 

You will pin the zipper upside down (so that the right side of the zipper faces the right side of the fabric) with the teeth of the zipper facing IN. (see photo) 
To get the zipper to go around the corner- clip a “V” into the zipper tape where it meets the corner of the sleeping bag. The zipper will reach to within 1″-2″ of the top of the sleeping bag.

Now, pin the other part of the zipper to the other half of the sleeping bag so that the zippers are a mirror image of each other.

Using your zipper foot- stitch zipper to sleeping bag front. It is helpful to “move” the zipper pull as you sew so that it does not get in the way of your zipper foot. 

TEST your zipper before you proceed.  Make sure you have it installed correctly before moving on to the next step. 

Next: Sew the  2, 18.5″ x 23″ pieces of fabric together along the 23″ seams to form the bag lining. Press seam open. 

Place sewn bag lining piece right sides together with bag outside piece. Cut a piece of batting to the size of your bag. Place this on the wrong side of the bag lining piece.  You will have a “sandwich” with batting at the top, then bag lining and bag front. (remember bag lining and bag front are right sides together)

Start stitching at one top corner of the sleeping a bag, and stitch all the way around, leaving a 3-4″ opening on the top of the bag to turn it right side out. Make sure you don’t catch your ribbon pieces in the seams. 

Stitch along the line you JUST made to attach your zipper- this will ensure that the zipper is placed correctly in the bag. (you are still sewing with your zipper foot) Clip corners and turn right side out.

It should look like this, with an opening like this at the top:

And the base of the zipper should look like this:

Hand stitch opening in top of sleeping bag closed.

To finish sleeping bag, hand stitch on crocheted flowers to the front. 

To make the pillow: Stitch the 3, 3.5″x8″ pieces of fabric together along the 8″ sides. Press seams open

Stitch 2 pieces of rick rack each 9″ long to the top and bottom of pillow piece. Stitch right down the center of the rick rack. Place right sides together and stitch 8″ x 9″ piece of fabric to pillow front. Leave a 2″ opening to turn pillow right side out. Stuff pillow and hand stitch opening closed.

American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag Tutorial
Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.


  1. dee says

    I used your directions and made 2 sleeping bags for a girl with 2 American girl dolls. I had no trouble following your steps! (Okay…I put the zipper in backwards with the tab on the inside of the bag….found the problem before all was done!) I’m a quilter but I don’t sew using zippers so I really appreciate the photos.

  2. Lisa says

    Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! I just finished the sleeping bag and pillow for my daughter’s American Girl doll. It is adorable, and the tutorial was so easy to follow! The pictures were really helpful, too! Thanks again!

  3. momof2cubs says

    This is nice. It gives me confidence in making things for my daughters doll, instead of buying commercialized things. I want to make that effort for her. :)

  4. Shelley says

    I made one of these today, I am so proud of myself. It is my first project with a zipper, your instructions are very clear, couldn’t be better. The only difference between mine and the pictured sleeping bag is that I chose only one print instead of three. Thanks for sharing. I will be making another to use up scrap fabric.

  5. Quilter CA says

    Finished mine today. Unfortunate part for me, the sleeping bag is actually inside out and the ribbon is now forever encapsulated inside with the lining. Clearly, I misunderstood something, not sure where it all went wrong. Good news, I am the only one who knows it is inside out!

  6. melissa says

    I like this sleeping bag (i’m a beginner sewer). I have one quesiton-what’s the size of the sleeping bag when complete? I don’t plan to use 3 strips of fabric, but one piece instead but it doesn’t seem from the materials that the would be line up-for example :
    3 pieces of fabric 8″ x 36″ for the outside of the sleeping bag
    2 pieces of fabric 18.5″ x 23″ for the bag lining 1

    when I do the deminsions-it doesn’t seem to match up? Can you help? I just want to use one piece of fabric; so what’s the deminisions for front and back??

  7. Stephanie says

    Made this for my niece who loves Wonder Woman and her American Girl doll. I gave her a Wonder Woman sleeping bag for Christmas and wanted her doll to have one, too. I’m a very novice seamstress but it was easy and turned out great. Couldn’t find Wonder Woman fabric so did a red, white & blue theme w/ gold trimmings.

  8. Karen Keene says

    I just turned my sleeping bag inside out and the zipper is in the INSIDE of the bag! What did I do wrong? Feeling frustrated

    • says

      The zipper has a right and a wrong side the same way fabric does. When you sew the zipper in make sure that the right side of the zipper is facing the right side of the fabric. My guess is you had it the other way around.


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