Thursday, December 17, 2009

Beanbag Chair Sewing Pattern

Phew, I've finished my nieces' beanbags in time for Christmas. They were such fun to make!
And as promised, below are the instructions to make them.

I recommend also making a lining so that the outside cover can be washed without having to empty out the polystyrene balls separately- I used some old sheets and just made the lining in the exact same manner as the cover minus the handle. The lining also gave me a chance to test how to sew the bag before using the more expensive nice fabrics. The hardest thing about these is pinning and sewing the circles at the top and bottom, but practice on the lining if you need to. And if you're nervous about sewing in a zipper or can't find the right colour/length, use Velcro instead - just as effective.

I did the letters using the fantastically quick 'fusible interfacing applique' method - see this tutorial for help.

The beanbags basically consist of 6 panels sewn together to form the sides, and then a circle and strap at the top, and two half circles at the bottom with a zip.
It's also a little bit more complicated sewing with two different fabrics because you have to get them to alternate when all 6 panels are sewn together - just pin and test as you go along.

They are small children's sized beanbags (as in for 2- 6 yrs), but you could easily adapt this pattern by slightly enlarging the measurements and adding more height to the side panels to adapt it.
To make one child sized beanbag you will need:
  • About 2.5 -3 metres of fabric (I used two colours so bought about 1.5 of each) - it also depends how frugally you can place your pattern pieces on the fabric.
  • Extra fabric for letters applique & fusible interfacing (optional)
  • a 50cm zip/ 60 cm Velcro
  • polystyrene beans (I bought some old beanbags off eBay for this, but you can get them from fabric stores. A 5 cubic foot bag should be enough)
  • plain fabric or old sheets to make lining + extra Velcro/zip
1) Measure and draw out the patterns onto some brown paper. Once cut, pin the paper pieces to the fabric, remembering that the side panels are cut on a piece of fabric folded in half, so line the edge up to the fold. Cut the pieces of fabric.
Click on above image to enlarge.

2) Pin the zip/Velcro in place on the two large half circles, turning over an edge to conceal raw edges. Sew the zip/Velcro on one side at a time, then close the zip/Velcro to make a full circle.

3) If you're doing an applique letter, sew that on one panel now before sewing all the panels together. Then sew together the side panels by sewing along the edges only until it forms a complete circle (like a skirt). Leave it turned inside out.

4) Fold the handle piece of fabric in half, and sew along the long edge to make a tube. Turn inside out and press

5) Pin the handle piece in the centre of the top circle piece. With the handle on top, pin the top smaller opening of panel skirt to the circle and sew together. When you turn it right side out the handle should be visible on top.

6) Now pin the large opening of the skirt to the full circle with zipper/Velcro, and sew together (if using a zip, leave it slightly open so that you can open it from the back to turn inside out).

This is the liner version

7) Turn inside out... and ta-da! Place the liner inside the cover before filling (or you will struggle to get the cover over the already filled liner).

8) Fill the lining bag and cover with polystyrene beans until nearly full and close both liner and cover properly.

I hope these instructions aren't too complicated, I do have a tendency to be a bit wordy in my instructions. Email me if you have any trouble... I hope you enjoy!


Ivy said...

These are soooo cute! You should sell the linings on Etsy or something.

MelMel said...

What lovely gifts, I'm sure they will be well recieved!
So cosy looking!xxx

Florence and Mary said...

They look like the perfect gifts

Victoria x

Lorilee said...

OH so cute! I love the fabrics.

Steph said...

They look gorgeous (and I've seen them in the flesh!). Well done Mrs L, I'm sure they will very much appreciated and the initals make them extra personal. Now, will you make a beanbag for me?? ;)

Lesley (Notesfrommydays) said...

fab presents and may give that a go after christmas myself :-)
re the apocathery jars - they were actually a set of three different style ones - and came from Costco of all places! they were such a bargain as well and I have them spread around the house with various things in them at different times of year :-)
have a lovely xmas break !
Lesley x

Coffee and Vanilla said...

What a great idea! I wish I was so talented... For a longer while I'm thinking of getting sewing machine and now it is probably time to do it since my daughter nagging me to get bean bag for her :)

Have a wonderful New Year!


Anonymous said...


I am in the middle of making one of these bean bags now but it is not quite working for me. I have sewn the 6 panels together and am attempting to pin the top circle on. The circle seems way too small to attach to the panels. From the pattern the folded top measurement is 3inch (6 inches unfolded). I can only attach 4 panels before I run out of space on the top circle. Have I done something completely wrong? Thanks for your input


Laundrybasketcase said...

Hi Jane, I am sorry to hear that the pattern isn't working, and I apologise for the delay in my response too. I guess the circles at the top will be too small if you left less of a seam than I did when sewing the panels together. Or of course my measurements for this pattern is out, I can't be sure because I did this quite a while back. Can I recommend that you cut the tops of your panels at more of an angle so that they are narrower until they make up the right measurement to fit all six around the top circle. I hope that helps.

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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