Tutorial: Make a Sleeping Bag and Tent for an American Girl Doll!

Did anyone get an American Girl doll for Christmas? Or any other 18″ doll? I made my twin 8-year-old daughters sleeping bags and a tent for their dolls this year.

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I did not use a pattern, I made it up as I went along. The sleeping bag was easy, I made 2 in an hour. I used double-sided quilted fabric that I found at Joanns. This stuff is pricey ($20 a yard normally) but it was on sale and you only need 1/2 yard to make a bag and pillow. you will also need a 18″ zipper, some bias tape, fiberfill and a sewing machine.

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To make the bag cut 2 rectangles of material 13″x20″. Insert the zipper then top stitch it down on the front side before you sew up the bag. Then sew up the bag and sew bias tape over the raw top edge. I like to use bias tape here rather than hemming it because it looks neater and has less bulk. For the pillows I simply cut two rectangles out of the leftover scraps, sewed them on 3 sides, stuffed it with fiberfill and sewed up the open side, easy as pie!

Tip: Rub the zipper with a bar of soap so it will be easy to open and close!

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For the tent I bought 1 and a half yards of two cotton fabrics from the clearance bin, cut it down to 27″ wide, pinned them right sides together and sewed it up on 3 sides (both short sides and one long side is sewn). Tip: If you sew it so the selvage edge is the un-sewn edge you won’t need to hem it! Turn it right side out, it will look like a huge, unruly pillowcase. Cut two 20″x26″ pieces of cardboard or foamcore and one 16″x26″ piece. These are the tent wall and floor supports. Now with the fabric right side out you need to sew 2 dividers in the fabric. I placed one of the large boards in the fabric and marked along the edge to get a line to sew on. You want the material to be tight against the boards.

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The flaps are tricky, after I made the tent I assembled it and traced the end onto newspaper and used it as a template to make the flaps then I sewed each flap to the front end. I kept the back-end open because I wanted to be able to remove the foamcore piece and replace it if it got bent or if I needed to wash the tent.

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Best of all the tent is reversible and can be folded up and tucked in a closet or under a bed when not in use!  You will need ribbons (or velcro) at each end of the tent as well as on each side of the flaps to keep the tent up and to tie the flaps back. It is probably better to catch the ribbon in the seams as you work but you can just as well sew them on afterward. It is up to you!

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This was a fun project and the sleeping bag and pillow would make a great sewing project for your child! thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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