I have fond memories from childhood lying on the living room floor watching movies while snuggled up in my 1970s vintage Scooby Doo sleeping bag. And ever since my oldest son Jack started asking for a family movie night, I’ve been thinking about sleeping bags. Jack has a sleeping bag, but little Calvin doesn’t, so this was the perfect time to make one.
I looked online for instructions, materials, and was a little dismayed by the cost and the complexity of a true sleeping bag. Calvin doesn’t really like to get under blankets (at age 3 he is totally fine keeping himself warm in the fetal position with his stuffed animals around him), so I decided I would go super basic and make a blanket roll using supplies on hand. In a couple more years, he’ll get the deluxe model with the zipper, built-in pillow, and who knows what other accoutrements.
The blanket roll is really easy. All you need is a sewing machine, 2 pieces of fabric, quilt batting, and a ribbon or similar item to tie the blanket up. It takes an hour, tops.
First, I spread an unused IKEA twin duvet cover on the floor and cut it to be the same size as crib-sized quilt batting (45×60 inches). I used two pieces of batting to make the blanket a little softer, especially for lying on the floor.
Next, I flipped the cut fabric so the right sides were facing each other and placed the double layers of batting on top. I pinned the fabric to the batting on all sides to make sure it doesn’t move when I stitch it together with the sewing machine.
I stitched the fabric to the batting all the way around the fabric, leaving about 20 inches unattached on the bottom. Then I turned the entire thing right-side out and pinned and stitched the opening shut.
For extra support, I tied the layers together in about eight spots with some embroidery thread. Yarn also works.
To give the impression of a sleeping bag and to keep it rolled up when not in use, I stitched a piece of ribbon to one end and attached a clasp. In retrospect, if I had a long strip of velcro I would have used that instead — it would have been faster to attach and much easier for Calvin to operate. I may replace the ribbon with velcro down the road.
Calvin couldn’t be happier. The crib-size blanket is just big enough to use as a mock-sleeping bag (folded in half) or as a full blanket on a bed. When Spring arrives, we plan to make more with sturdier fabric to use at the park or the beach.
But for now, we’re all set for movie night.