A THICK body warmer


  • must be made of the really big, really warm sleeping bag we haven’t used in years because it’s too warm
  • must be warm
  • must have a high collar and warm pockets


This is a bit an upside down way of designing a clothing item. The main requirement is to use the old sleeping bag that we never used because it’s too warm even in winter, so instead of having a particular end in mind, we start with the material and see what we can do.

We have the general body warmer shape in mind, taking into account the requirements for the high collar and warm pockets, so now we have to figure out how to upcycle the sleeping bag. This is more complicated than we thought, so that process deserves its own chapter.

How to upcycle a down sleeping bag

A few important notes, which we learned along the way but which you should really know before start on such a project:

  • down is extremely fluffy, so it really wants to escape. If you start cutting up the bag, you have to do it in such a way that the down doesn’t end up all over your work room. Trust me on this one: when you try to vacuum it, the draft from the vacuum cleaner will whirl the down around the room and you’ll end up chasing it through the house.
  • A sleeping bag is often shaped wider at the shoulders and more narrow at the feet, so don’t use the existing side seam as mid front or mid back, you’ll end up with an unsightly bulge
  • after you cut through the layers and you use the overlock to seal the edge, you will still feel the insect leg tickle of the down in the seams, so use piping to close off the seams.

Required Tools

Surprisingly enough, this project didn’t require any special machinerie. Though keep your vacuum cleaner handy. Start from a pattern, be smart about containing the down and use piping to finish the seams.


All ideas & work by Febe & Kristien

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