Introduction: Foam Nest Bed
I recently bought an inexpensive basic sewing machine, even though I don't know how to sew, because I knew our daughter Abigail needed some sort of solution for a play and sleep space. She needed something to keep her from wiggling over cords on the wood floor, something she wouldn't fall out of.
Abigail is two years old and has a hypoplastic right heart with lots of complications from her open heart surgeries. She doesn't have the strength to sit up on her own yet.
Her crib was huge and impossible to easily move from room to room. I wanted her to have something that she could sleep and play in that was easy to move to wherever we were in the house. I remember once seeing some type of foam bed on a design blog years ago. It was like a nest with a huge piece of cloth covered foam that wrapped around the bed and could be folded down like a turtle neck sweater.
I used her crib mattress for measurements and bought some furniture foam (regular density and not memory foam) from Joann Fabric. I was able to cut the roll in half lengthwise (it would've been way too tall otherwise) so I didn't need to buy as much. The foam for this cost $40 and the fabric cost about $20 (it was on sale).
I marked the foam down the middle with chalk, then cut it with scissors. I was rather sloppy and noobish... the kids were in bed and I was in a hurry to finish before I fell asleep (I was up late finishing it).
I decided I didn't need to stitch the lengths of foam together because the covering fabric would hold it in place.
After measuring and cutting the fabric, I sewed the long edge of the light blue fabric to the bias tape with the cord part of the tape facing away from the seam so that the cord would show on the outside of the finished fabric seam. This would eventually be the top edge of the foam bed. My friend, whose mom sews, said I should pin it, so I did use pins to hold the fold in place until it got close to the sewing machine foot.
I don't know if it was the right way to do it, but I then sewed the lamb fabric to the light blue fabric and bias tape along the previous stitches so that it would join just at the bias tape, allowing the cord part of the bias tape to show along the seam. The right sides of the fabric were facing each other and the cut edge of the bias tape was sticking out between the two cut edges of fabric.
Once I was done sewing the top edge, I turned the project right side out so that the finished seam, lined with the corded bias tape, showed. I decided it would be a pain in the butt to sew a tube of fabric and try to shove the foam into it. Instead, I laid the long pieces of foam inside the fabric so that a long edge of foam lined up with the sewn seam. I then pinned it tightly and squashed the foam while sewing the light blue and lamb fabric together at the bottom edge of the foam. I didn't trim the overhand of cloth at the bottom, because 1. I'm lazy and 2. it helps stabilize the foam so it stands up.
I had to hand sew one short end of fabric over the other to form a circle from the fabric covered foam. I folded it over as I sewed it so a cut edge wouldn't show. I forgot to take a picture of that part, but my hand sewing was sloppy anyway.
It was a pretty simple project and I'm sure someone who actually knows how to sew could make a better one, but I'm really pleased at the mileage we're getting out of it. I place Abigail's crib mattress inside it to make her bed (I disassembled the crib). Sometimes I take out the mattress and fill the foam nest with blankets and pillows or plastic colored balls to make a little ball pit.
Sometimes Benjamin or Lilith climb into her nest to snuggle or play with her.
The soft sides support her a little bit so she's able to sit up, but not so much that she doesn't have to use any of her muscles to stay upright. Abigail's physical therapist is thrilled with the bed and how it encourages Abigail to strengthen her trunk muscles a little each day.
If foam was cheaper, I'd make larger ones for the rest of us. Thanks for reading!