With summer finally upon us, my Honey and I have been dragging things out of the garage and attic that we’ll be needing for various outdoor activities. The other day, I pulled out a sleeping bag and got frustrated because the tie broke and it unrolled onto the floor. He thought it was quite funny, but I did not! It ended up landing on a tent that I had just discovered was damaged. Inspiration struck like lightning, and I decided to use the tent material to make a tote for the sleeping bag. What a perfect material to store and protect the bag, and an awesome way to upcycle something that would otherwise be headed for the trash!
I started by rolling the bag up and taking a few measurements. I measured how big it was around (51″), how tall it was (15″), and how wide it was (16″). Make your measurements pretty loose and casual, so that you don’t have to fret later with stuffing the sleeping bag down into a tote that’s too small.
Then I cut two pieces of tent fabric to size, using my measurements as a guide. First, I cut a large rectangle that was 1 inch wider than my bag was around (52″ + 1″ = 53″). The height of this rectangle was the height of my bag plus 1 inch, plus half the width of the bag (15″ + 1″ + 8″ = 24″). Then I cut a round piece with a diameter that was 1 inch bigger than my bag was wide (16″ + 1″ = 17″).
You can use these same formulas for your tote, and just use your bag’s measurements instead of mine. You can also use any part of the tent that you want to, and depending on the style/color of the tent, you might be able to have a colorful stripe as part of the tote. I opted to cut along the edge of one of the tent’s panels so that I could have a burgundy stripe along one side. It was already hemmed, which saved me some time, too.
To begin assembly, I lined the circle of fabric up with the bottom edge of the long side of the fabric and put a pin in place. Then I continued around the circle, pinning the rectangle to it.
As I continued around the circle, the cylinder shape started to form, and by the time I was done, it was a pretty nice-looking tube.
Before going to the sewing machine, I checked to be sure that the sides of the rectangle were going to line up okay, and fortunately they did. If you’re short, take the pins out and cut your circle a little smaller, so that the rectangle can make it all the way around. Then I sewed around the circle, using a half-inch seam allowance.
Next, I put the ends of the rectangle piece together and pinned down the side.
A quick run of stitches along the pinned area and my tote was really taking shape. Because I wanted it to have a drawstring top, I folded the top edge over about an inch and pinned it. This is where my hemmed burgundy edge came in handy, but if you’re working with a raw edge, you should hem it before completing this step.
After sewing the top edge down where I had pinned it, I used the safety pin technique we’ve shown you several times to thread some cording that I scavenged from the tent. When the cord was through, I tied more tent pieces onto the ends to keep them from slipping back into the channel. I think these little guys are my favorite part of the whole project!
All that was left to do was flip the bag inside out and it was done!
With the sleeping bag inside, you just need to pull on the cords to draw the top of the tote closed.
The sleeping bag fit perfectly, and because I made the tote a little loose, it went in without me getting frustrated.
I just love how this came out. I think the tent material was a clever match for a sleeping bag that’ll end up in a tent, but you could easily adapt this project to any type of lightweight material you want.