Warm Winter Vest From a Sleeping Bag

Introduction: Warm Winter Vest From a Sleeping Bag

Simple Upcycling project with stunning results.

You will need

1 old sleeping bag

Some coloured binding tape 1"


A reasonable sewing machine and thread

Scissors, a rule, and chalk

Oh, and a suitable subject that doesn't fidget

Step 1: Grab Yourself an Old Sleeping Bag,

I just rang around a few friends and ended up with a few different options. Make sure the bag you select is big enough to fit over the person you are it making for, generally you will have enough material to make 2 vests. I reused the zipper(cut down) as it was an open ended type, but you would have to find another zip for each vest. This one was chosen because it is the coolest blue camo.

Get your subject, in this case my son Beau, to lie on top of the outstretched bag, the bag is face down, but this is a matter of preference, I have cello taped the bag to my work table to prevent movement or creasing during this process. Grab a piece of chalk or similar(non permanent) and trace around your subject, mark about 2" below their belt line for the bottom of the vest. Draw a straight line through where their armpit is and create a curved neck line (or copy from another piece of clothing.

Measure their body height at several points along their body, mark out at half your measurement from the line you traced. In this case his body measurement was around 6" so I marked a line 3" outside the traced one, and at his shoulders around 4" height, so I marked out around 2".

Remove your subject and curve in the lines where necessary

Step 2: Cutting and Stitching

Use your marks created in the last step and stitch right through both layers, but only on the very outside side marks and on the top of shoulder marks.

Now trim your vest to size, stay about a half inch outside your marks(ignore your original tracing marks)

Turn inside out and on the front panels reverse side, mark a line up the centre and smoothly transition into the collar area, trimming only to achieve a nice shape.

Step 3: Stitching and Binding

Okay, get the already sewn side and shoulder joins, which will be puckered out, lay flat and fold them to the back of the vest, sew over with 1" polyester binding tape to hide join. Do this on both sides and tops of shoulders, leave a little excess to trim.

Now starting at one bottom corner of the front panel centre cut, bind up towards the collar, around, and down the other side of the cut, you can then continue around the bottom of the vest, and finish back where you started at the front corner.

Check armholes for size, they will likely need trimming, and bind likewise.

Step 4: Finishing

I managed to rescue half the open ended zip from the sleeping bag but needed to create new zip stops by cutting some extra teeth from a zip offcut, pushing into place at the top and melting with a solder iron, trim to size and sew zip to inside of the front face.

Well, trim it check it over and its ready to go.

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    Uncle Kudzu
    Uncle Kudzu

    7 years ago

    Nice! I love that blue camo :) Yeah, the vest looks pretty warm and it's a great upcycle project.


    7 years ago

    Great idea! Something my own boy (6) would really like. Maybe I'll use the same basic idea and make a full winter coat - winters can be a bit cold up here in Denmark ;-)