This sleep sack DIY post has been submitted by Samantha Viarruel-Henry.
I first got the idea of making a sleep sack after reading The One Little Thing an HPL’er wrote about the necessity of her Silk Sleep Sack while traveling. As I am about to embark on a four month overland trip from South Africa to Ethiopia with stops in the UK and Turkey, the prospect of a special little space to call my own on all of those planes, trains and buses (not to mention hostel beds and tents), seemed like a non-negotiable.
As a seamstress by pass-time and passion, I gave it a go and it was super easy! What I love about this DIY is that it can be amended to fit any trip and any budget – Fleece if you’re going somewhere with a colder climate and silk if ya fancy!
What You’ll Need:
- 1 Double Flat Sheet* (I bought a sheet set, as I needed to make one for my partner as well)
- 2 Yards of Elastic or other cording for drawstring
- Sewing Pins (Hedgie pin cushion optional)
- 1 Large Safety Pin
- Ruler or Measuring Tape
- Sewing Machine (or A LOT of patience if sewing by hand)
*I chose microfiber as it is light, soft and quick drying – you can choose any textile sheet to suit your trip! A double flat sheet will give you the dimensions 96” x 40”. This is extremely roomy for me as a curvy woman, 5’4” tall. You may want to use a twin sheet depending on your size. You can also use a fitted sheet, the instructions are more or less the same. See end of post for pros and cons of using the fitted sheet.
Determine which side of the sheet you want to be against your skin. This will be the “right side” and the inside of your finished product. Fold your sheet in half lengthwise with the right side on the outside (or “wrong sides” together). You can also remove any tags if you wish and if you’re using the fitted sheet, cut off the elastic before folding to make all corners meet. It will not be a perfect rectangle if using fitted.
Pin your folded sheet together along one shorter edge and lengthwise. Corner first is best!
Sew! I used a ½ inch seam allowance.
At this point you may want to hop inside your assembled sack and see if it’s a comfortable size for you. If you find your sack to be too wide or more than 12 inches over your head, you can sew again, with a larger seam allowance.
In order to create a hood for the sleep sack, you will need to determine the “center front” of your sack. To do this, bring the side of the sack you sewed and your original fold together, folding your sack in half. Use a pin or a fabric pencil to mark this point. (If you are doing the fitted sheet option, you skip this step as the seam you sewed is your center front).
Warning! This step might seem incoherent in words, but check the pics!
Once you’ve determined your center front, you can unfold your sleep sack flat and pin only the top side. Ensuring your sleep sack is still right side out (seams showing) roll down the opening of your sack two – three inches to create the channel for your drawstring. Take a ruler or measuring tape and mark off with a pin, two inches on both sides of your center front. This is where you will start and stop sewing the channel for your drawstring. Pin along to ensure the channel stays even while sewing.
Starting at the pin to the right of your center front, sew all the way around until you meet the pin to the left of your center front. I used a ¾ inch seam allowance. This leaves generous room for your drawstring.
Yay! We’re almost finished, I promise! Turn your sleep sack right side out (or in this case, right side in).
I’m sure everyone has had to do this step with a wayward hoodie – take your safety pin and stab through your drawstring, it will make it easier to feed through the channel. Once passed all the way through, ease any tension in the channel and trim your drawstring, no less than 8 inches long on each side.
Enjoy your super comfy cozy future travels!
Pardon my wrinkles!
Pros & Cons of Using a Fitted Sheet
Pro – more defined hood
Con – because you are cutting the elastic off, you do not have a finished edge. If you have a serger, this is just one extra step, if not, it could present with much more additional sewing to finish the ends. This will also be impacted by which textile of sheet you’re using.
About the Author: Samantha Viarruel-Henry doesn’t know how to fill in a bio. However, she is passionate about: community service – volunteering in peer sexual health education for the last 3 years; traveling – actively in search of her soul city; education – little by little with a dusty diploma in Liberal Arts; self expression – making clothing, costumes and doing spoken word; self-awareness and fulfillment – hoping to get a little closer to her Personal Legend on her upcoming 4 month overland journey from South Africa to Ethiopia. Follow her on Tumblr and Instagram (@Rarebird_bitty).
Good job Sammy!
Great! This will be perfect for visiting the Himalayas with my best friend as she hates sleeping in hostel beds but can not easily afford a luxurious hotel.
Cousin APT says
Cute and practical x
In the past I’ve used a regular sheet: I lay on it and then fold the other half over top of me.
I have basic sewing skills, but I feel trapped if my if i can only get in/out of the sheet from the top.
I use a lightweight duvet cover to sleep inside, a single one when I travelled by myself and a double now I travel with my husband.
You can either roll it up or fold it up and wrap it round things. Also works as an emergency towel, room divider, picnic blanket, beach blanket, privacy cocoonto get changed it if you’re sharing a room with others and limited privacy to get changed.
Probably not ideal if you’re traveling with just hand luggage, but with hold baggage it works well, and saves money as it’s not another thing to have to buy.
That’s actually a great idea – thanks, Emily!
Could you just use a single bed duvet cover?
Probably! Duvet covers aren’t the norm in the US like they are here in Oz.