Andrea Mulder-Slater: The Art of Childhood


DIY Bean Bags

So Easy to Make (When You Let Go of Perfection)

Making bean bags is easy when you give up on perfection.

I'm not what one would call skilled when it comes to sewing, but I do love colourful fabric - which is easy to see when you sneak a peek at the stash in my house.

Still, I've always loved the concept of crafting items out of cotton, linen and polyester. And so, when my daughter started talking about buying some bean bags after having played a game of bean bag toss at a friend's house, I took it as an opportunity to sit down with her, fly by the seat of my pants and co-create a few sacks full of legumes.

She and I had collaborated once before on another sewing project - a pig made of old nylon hosiery and buttons (thanks to The Wonderful World of Jillian Jiggs), but this time, I decided she should do the lion's share of the work.

First, we emptied a basket of fat quarters. That's fancy talk for "fabric pieces."

Fat quarters is a fancy way of saying fabric pieces.

We looked at our fabric choices and decided on a pattern.

We looked at our fabric choices.

Using the folds as a guide, we cut out a piece of material that looked like it would make a nice sized beanbag.

Using the fold marks as a guide, we cut out a piece of material that looked like it would make a nice sized beanbag.

After folding the material (finished sides together) I showed my daughter how to thread a needle and sew a simple stitch. Since I really don't know how to sew, the goal was not perfection, but rather just to attach the fabric together enough so whatever we filled the finished bags with wouldn't fall out.

Start sewing!

She seemed to catch on pretty quickly and with a little help she worked her way along the edges of the soon-to-be bean bag and yes, that IS a Band-Aid on her finger. No one ever said needles were soft.

Child sewing a bean bag.

Soon, we ended up with this. Two edges were sewn, one was folded and the other was left open. The imperfect stitching mattered not, because no one would ever see it.

The inside-out bean bag.

Before folding the bag right side out, we did a quick stitch along a portion of the open end, leaving enough space for the filling.

Fold the fabric right side out.

Turning the fabric right side out.

For the filling, we chose lentils, since that's what we had in the house. Rice would have also worked well, as would any other dried bean or legume.

Use lentils to fill your bean bags.

Some people might have placed the lentils in a zip baggie before adding them to the bean bag, but we aren't some people.

Using lentils to fill the bean bag.

Once the bag was filled, we sewed the edge closed and just like that, we had a bean bag. It wasn't perfect, but it was ours and it was spectacular. In fact, we loved it so much, we made another one.

Here's the completed bean bag.

Try it yourself and if you're looking for some fun things to do with your newly made bean bags, check out this post by Meaningful Mama or this one from Playworks.

Make Your Own Bean Bags

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