There are several options for finishing the bottom of a sleep sack. A straight edge bottom is used, altered from the original pattern as demonstrated in the previous blog. The one option we don’t use is a drawstring, it doesn’t pose a hazard for newborns but could as baby gets older and we can’t take a chance that mom might forget and use it with an older child. Sacks that open from the bottom make for easy diaper changing, especially handy for in the middle of the night.
The first option is an elastic casing. Turn up a one inch hem, edges finished to prevent fraying if using a woven fabric and stitch leaving an opening to insert a piece of 3/4 inch elastic 15-18 inches long depending on the size you are making. Make sure that it is not too tight so as to allow access to the diaper area. Fasten a large safety pin on one end of the elastic, thread through, overlap ends 1/2 inch and sew making sure your elastic isn’t twisted then sew up the opening. Stitch in the ditch on the two side seams over elastic and casing to prevent elastic rolling. Here’s a video showing an alternative elastic method, the elastic sewn together prior to attaching it to the garment.
The second option is ribbing. I cut a piece of ribbing 2/3 of the total bottom measurement and applied it as shown here. The third way of finishing is to turn up a one inch hem and attach 2 or 3 evenly spaced snaps or buttons.
The final option is to finish with an overlapping end, mostly seen on the backs of decorator pillows. Cut out the back piece of the sack. Cut out the front piece 2 inches shorter than the back piece and stitch a 1/2 inch hem on the bottom of that piece. Cut out a “flap” using the front pattern piece as a guide, starting the measurement from the bottom of the front pattern piece. Cut it 8 inches long x width of sack and stitch a 1/2 inch hem on the long edge that will be part of the overlap. Using the front pattern piece as a guide for the correct length, take both your “flap” piece, and the shortened front piece, overlap them with right sides facing down and the shortened front piece placed on top of the “flap” piece. Baste the overlapping side seams in place. Now take the front and back pieces, place right sides together and sew one side seam, across the bottom and up the other side seam in one continuous seam and turn right side out. What you have is a pouch on the front piece that can be folded over the back allowing easy access for changing baby. Mine gaped a little so I added a Velcro closure, you could also use a snap or made the pocket a little deeper. This type of closure should only be used with knit fabrics.
If you do not want to have an opening at the bottom, as seen in this blog, leave the bottom curved as in the original pattern, and sew down one side seam, across the bottom and up the other side seam. Et voila, a simple but functional sack.
I have a few more ideas for sacks but need to move on to another project as Fall is fast approaching and school is soon to start . We will revisit winter sleep sacks in the near future and will provide a few more sack options. Check out the site over the next days for updates in our programs and our next project.