I’m going to show you how to make a cheaper alternative to the GLTC Bed in a Bag, which costs a staggering £95.00. My version cost a tenth of that. I used a single duvet cover set that I picked up from a local charity shop for £2.50, and pillows that were on sale from Dunelm Mill. Excluding thread, which I had already, the cost of my version is £9.50.
First up, iron your duvet cover. Annoying but it does make a difference in the making process. Next you should cut a strip approximately 10cm wide down the length of one of the long seams. Put this to one side as it will make the bed-ties. Then you need to place the pillows on the duvet cover next to each other along the length of the cover. Using the pillows as a guide cut along the length of the cover, leaving a 10cm width of fabric beyond the end of the pillow which will become the hem later.
The second step is to turn the cover inside out and sew across the bottom of the duvet cover, so that you are sealing up the opening into which you would put the duvet when changing the cover. Turn it the right way out. All the stitching will now be done on the right side of the fabric.
Next you will make the ‘pockets’ into which you will stuff the pillows. Fold your duvet cover in half (along the long side) and pin along the fold. Sew along this line, stopping 10cm from the ‘raw’ open edge of the duvet cover to allow for later hemming- I sewed a double hem on each channel for strength. Fold this seam to the end seam, pin along the fold and sew a double seam once again. Repeat with the other half of the duvet cover. You should now have four pockets with a long open edge.
Stuff one pillow into each pocket, then fold the raw edges in, pin and sew- once again it is best to sew a double seam. Sewing this seam is particularly challenging as you have to manhandle the bulky pillows and so forth.
Go back to the strip of fabric you cut initially, tuck in the raw edges, pin and sew. Initially I divided this into two pieces and sewed them to the middle pocket seam but found that they were slightly too short to make tying easy. I then realised that, with a little effort, the bed would fit into the pillowcase that came with the duvet cover for storage- much like the bag in the GLTC version- so I removed them. When I made my second pillow-bed (one for each girl!) I just left the tie as one long piece which was more than enough to hold the bed together whilst I ‘stuffed’ it into the pillowcase, and which was easily stored in the pillowcase when not in use.
And that’s it. Using an existing duvet cover cuts down on the measuring and sewing that you need to do- something that makes sewing a lot quicker for me at least. The fact that the covers I bought came with pillowcases has turned out to be a bonus, since I now have a ‘bag’ in which to store my beds. Yes, it takes a little effort, but no more than is required when stuffing a sleeping bag back into it’s storage bag after using!