Contributed by: Craig Turner, 3/2000
- 3 yards of lightweight fleece
- (1) 36" zipper (two way zippers are best for ventilation)
- straight pins
- sharp scissors (or razor knife - but consider placing a piece of plywood between your floor and the material :-)
- a sewing machine
Making the pattern:Options & Tips:
- Spread the material out on the floor and lay your regular sleeping bag on top of it.
- Take a magic marker and trace a rough outline of the bag.
- Cut the pattern out except for one side from the foot to the shoulder. After this is done fold the pattern over at the point that you did not cut. This will allow you to trace the pattern you just cut.
- Cut out the second part of the bag you just traced. This should give you a butterfly looking piece of material shaped like a mummy bag (Fig. 1).
Sewing the Pieces Together:
- Now place both sides of the pattern together with the in side out.
- Pin the edges together and then sew them together making sure not to sew the side where the zipper will go.
- Once you are close to where the zipper will go you want to pin the zipper in place (Fig. 2). I'll not lie to you; this is hard sewing because the fleece will want to bunch up.
- Turn the bag right side out. Lay the bag down on the floor again and cut the top piece of fabric where the hood is. Cut it above where your shoulders will be (Fig.1). You can use this piece of material to make a stuff pocket in the hood area. Just lay it on the hood section and pin it to the hood in a smaller pattern than the smaller piece of fabric so it will be a bit slack so you will be able to stuff a jacket in it (Fig.2).
A little twist I used when I made my bag was to sew the two pieces of fabric all the way around except for the top opening. After you cut the piece of fabric from the top piece at the hood, make a 36" cut right down the center of the top piece of fabric (Fig.2). This will give you a Feathered Friends Rock Wren configuration with the zipper in the front. I have found that when liner bags are used in mummy bags they are very cramping and hard to zip. This front zipper has made it much easier for me to zip up. When you sew the zipper in it is a good idea to make a bit of overlap on the zipper so the material covers the zipper. This will help with zipper drafts and it will keep the zipper from snagging the nylon liner of your sleeping bag.
If you want a drawstring on your bag make a small hem across the front of the top piece of fabric but sew the string into the hem as you sew it. Sew the string at the end that will be in the hem. It is important to anchor this end very well so it won't fail in the backcountry. As you sew the hem make sure to not sew the string at any other point so it will stay free. Add a dray cord lock, tie a big knot on the end and you're set. If you make the front zip model you can do the above just twice on either side of the zipper.
It is also easy to make the simple top of the bag a hooded bag by simply making a few extra cuts and seams (Fig.3).
Craig Turner, 3/2000
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