A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

KCW - Baby sleep sacks

Before Niko, I did not have much use for those-elastic bottomed sleep sacks.   I always heard them touted as the most convenient option for babies who still needed to be changed at night.  But I preferred footed sleepers - maybe because none of the others required middle-of-the-night diaper changes for very long.  Or, and this is more likely, it was because my husband always did the changing.  

At five months old, Niko still requires an overnight change after one of his feedings or he will wake up soaked in the morning.  And now that I do all the night-time changes all myself, I have found that I have zero patience for wrangling cranky baby legs into footed pajamas at 3 a.m.  The elasticated sleep sacks (which I layer underneath a zippered fleece sleeping bag now that it has gotten colder) really are much more convenient in the wee hours of the morning.  But we only had two, and both were very nearly outgrown.

Since I already had Growing Up Sew Liberated, I used the sleep sack pattern from the book.  I was a little leery of using another pattern from that book after the dramatic failure of the basic pocket pant, but then I remembered that I had previously made the book's envelope tee and sleeping john patterns and they were fine (and in fact, Gabriel is still wearing them, though the tee is nearly cropped on him now).

I made two sacks.  The first in a buffalo plaid double-faced cotton knit from Fabric Mart.  It is a lovely heavy weight for cool nights.  The reverse side is a natural-colored rib knit.  I used that side to make a quick wonky star appliqué for the front.

I love the combination of plaid and knit - as far as I'm concerned, its one you don't see often enough!  For the neckbands, I used some black ribbing from my stash.  I would have preferred a bright color for the ribbing but I only had black, white and brown on hand.  (Inder and Rachel both recently blogged about their favorite sources for colorful ribbing and now I am itching to buy a whole rainbow of it to have on hand.)

I made the 6-12 month size for my stalwartly 50th percentile-in-height nearly 5-month-old in hopes that they would last us through winter.  After I cut out the plaid sack and basted the shoulders together, I laid it out next to the baby.  It seemed quite short - one kick and his feet would stick right out.  Ugh, I was annoyed.  I should have measured him before cutting, but really, he is of average height for a 5-month-old, so the 6-12 month size should have been plenty long enough!

Grumbling all the way at the whack sizing of the pattern, I cut two more 5" wide strips of fabric to attach to the bottom, matching the plaid ok vertically but not really horizontally, and then made the elastic casing as directed.  I didn't hem the sleeves, but just serged the raw edges and turned them up to leave plenty of room for growth.

I made a second out of some lovely medium-weight red cotton/lycra (also from Fabric Mart) that I now wish I had bought more of.  It is a great weight for a sleep sack - and I have enough left for a pair of leggings for Natasha.

I used some Laguna jersey in aqua for the neckbands, which I cut narrower for this version.  I think the proportions are a little better this way.

He has now worn both sacks to sleep and his feet have remained fully covered!  Plus he looks adorable. 

I won't be doing this KCW as doggedly as I usually do - I did not manage to get to the machine today - but I hope to turn out one or two more items before the end of the week.  My mother-in-law is visiting, so I am optimistic!


  1. Now that is one cute baby! I loved using sleep sacks! So convenient! And yours are perfect!

  2. Lovely sleep sacks. Niko looks like such a smiley, happy baby!

  3. I am just super impressed that with everything on your plate you still find time to sew! You are a wonder woman! My sewing went all the way on the back burner and I don't know when it will resurface again. Niko is just the cutest! and he seems to be happy to get new sleepers :)

  4. Niko is clearly growing a treat! So interesting to read your blog, and learn how all babies are different! I have lots of spare fabric, and I've been wondering if you'd be interested - quilting fabric, and stuff for your little girls - especially now winter is coming in your neck of the woods. Are you interested? You'd be doing me a favour - truly.

  5. Brilliant outfits, and so interesting to read that all babies are so different (non-mother here). I've been wondering if you would like me to send you some fabric -either for kid clothes, or quilting. You would be doing me a favour- truly. Fiona (Needlewoman).

  6. He looks very sweet. We loved sleep sacks as for the first couple of months my eldest screamed all the way through undressing and dressing, every single time, so anything that sped the process up meant less screaming! I particularly like the red one, baby clothes over here are all so pastel and dull.

  7. Why HELLO Niko!!! He's getting so big and round and chubby and smiley! I love it! These sleep sacks are awesome. I love the plaid one with the star, it looks soooo cozy and it's adorable. You must get a rainbow of ribbings!

  8. I was looking for inspiration what to create for my nephew and stumbled on your blog while I read the site of my friend! Thanks for sharing this and your baby looks so cute, too!

  9. Oh my, he is gorgeous.
    The sleep sacks look great. I am new to these, I only found the sleeping bags with Trixie and they are great!

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  11. Can you tell me how to modify the bottom so that it will tie in a knot? I love this pattern but my daughter is having a baby in March and would like them to tie in a knot at the bottom. Thanks!

    1. I think it would be a pretty easy modification if you were using knit fabric and did not care about finishing the edges at the bottom. Keep in mind that you will need to lengthen the pattern considerably (I went up a size and still had to lengthen five inches). Then the easiest way would be to continue lengthening the back and the front pattern pieces, maybe six or seven inches, by tapering the piece sharply to be about an inch and a half wide, creating two long "fingers" that you could tie together. The elastic bottom keeps the little feet in pretty little, though. He still sleeps in one or the other of these nearly every night.


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