The sleeping bag I designed for the Dress Up Bunch dolls involved a bit of engineering, so I thought I’d share something about my process here.
My initial thought was to make a sleeping bag almost exactly like a “real” one. The zipper was going to go down the side and across the bottom, so that you could open up the sleeping bag entirely. Here’s my first prototype. . .
And here it is zipped up. . .
Looks pretty good, right?
I loved the look of it – but sewing the zipper around the corner was not fun. Like – really, really unfun.
I try to make my patterns as easy and fun as possible – so I wanted to fix that.
I tried rounding the corner more and more, through a few different tries, but it was still pretty dang hard to wrangle. And it was starting to look ugly and not as sleeping-bag-ish.
Back to the drawing board.
Sewing a zipper around a corner was out, so I tried just a zipper going down the side.
My first attempt at sewing it inside out was kind of a mess because I didn’t use a separating zipper and I needed to sew it in a tube and it was hard to sew from top to bottom that way.
Next I tried a separating zipper so I could sew the two sides separately.
Much, MUCH easier!
I sewed it flat and sewed all the way around (leaving a little opening for turning) and it looked awesome. And then I zipped it up and realized I had made a nicely finished tube. 🙂 The bottom wasn’t closed!
I picked the bottom open and realized now I could sew the top and sides without needing any hand-sewing. The whole bottom became the turning opening.
I folded the sleeping bag closed and sewed up the bottom.
But then I realized it was impossible to zip it up. With the sleeping bag sewn up it was pretty much impossible to start the separating zipper. Just about impossible for me – definitely impossible for any kids trying to work it.
Oooh – but then I realized that I could zip it closed first and then sew up the bottom. Now the zipper is together and it can’t come apart – a terrific bonus because separating zippers can be tricky for some little kids. I had planned to hand stitch the zipper permanently together as the final construction step, but now that wasn’t necessary!
I added a couple of elastic loops so it could be rolled up and secured without having to tie anything, and the design is finished!
Sometimes I get a design right on the first prototype, but usually it works like this – a series of attempts and revisions that get closer and closer to the final design – one that looks good AND is easy to make. 🙂
The Dress Up Bunch is a collection of cute and cuddly rag dolls. Get patterns for the dolls, plus all their fun outfits and accessories!