Sleep sacks are essentially wearable blankets. If the temps are cool enough and baby needs a cover, sleep sacks are used instead of a blanket. They can be made from light weight cotton or knits for warmer weather and from fleece, double flannel, sweatshirt fleece and quilted fabrics for winter. With all the 100 plus temps the rez has had this summer babies only need their diaper and a shirt or onesie to sleep in.
The sleep sack is used by dressing the baby in whatever clothing keeps them comfortable depending on room temperature and weather, then just slip them in the sack. No blanket needed, baby is not overheated (SIDS risk) and no chance of asphyxiation from a blanket covering their face. Here are some guidelines to follow when making a sleep sack.
Some budget friendly tips for making your own sack: check thrift stores for sweatshirts, flannel shirts, fleece or cotton robes, etc. in larger adult sizes for your “fabric”, choose multiple size patterns so you can trace different sizes or trace a store bought one or a clothing item you can lengthen such as a T shirt (0-18 months), add some seam allowances and cut out your free pattern. Over the next few days I’ll show you samples of different ways to make a sack. Some of them use zippers, elastic, ribbing, snaps, etc. to save money recycle old clothing to get “free” zippers, elastic, buttons, etc. or ask family/friends for notions or fabric they may have sitting around in the back of a closet.
For kids playwear, I prefer to sew with cotton knits, fleece and sweatshirt fabrics and use a serger but knits don’t fray so a regular sewing machine is all you really need. If you have a walking foot, use it to prevent stretch. Some machines machines have this feature already built into the machine. Knits are comfortable to wear, wash well and don’t wrinkle, armholes and necks are easy to bind, just fold over and sew. Some tips for sewing with knits – use a zigzag or knit stitch on your machine if not using a serger to sew the seams, use a ballpoint needle to prevent skipped stitches and snags, use spray starch on garment edges when sewing hems to prevent stretching and remember edge finishing not necessary with knits. If using ribbing for neck and sleeve edges cut the piece two thirds of the circumference of neck/sleeve edge and add 1/2 inch for seam allowance. If using a commercial pattern always look at the suggested fabrics listed on the back, some are designed for knits only, wovens only or both knits and wovens. Don’t use wovens on a knit only pattern.
Please share your sewing tips, pattern links, etc. with us here at SFK. We’ll be looking at different types of sleep sacks in the next few blogs.
Here are a few photos of my thrift store finds for making several sleep sacks( plus whatever else can be made with the material scraps)
2 long cotton T shirts 25 cents each
2 men’s short sleeve cotton polo shirts 25 cents each
22 zippers 25 cents each
16 thread spools- 4 spools for 25 cents
11 pieces of material $2.50 a pound