Project Beanbag

Several weeks ago, an acquaintance asked me if I would be willing to sew a beanbag for her son, a former preschool classmate. We were briefly reacquainted at last year’s Swap-O-Rama-Rama, part of the larger GreenFest at the Washington Trade and Convention Center. As a volunteer, it was my job to get folks started creating something new from the heaps of fabric donated and acquired by the organizers of the event. I helped her son sew small sleeping bag out of some recycled fabric. From that interaction, she decided that I had enough skill or blind initiative to wrangle a beanbag into being.

While I had never sewn anything similar, I’m always game for a new project. A quick google search brought me to a pattern which seemed easy enough. Soon, a bag of flannel and muslin appeared on my porch and a personal imperative loomed.


Determined to work this out on my own, I drew a 1″x1″ grid on two large pieces of paper and then sized up the pattern. This process took one hour. Once that was done, the rest was pretty simple. My sewing machine struggled with topstitching the double layers of flannel once the seams were folded over. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to work with something like corduroy or denim.

My only complaint surrounded the zipper. The materials list specified one zipper, when in fact two zippers are required: one for both the muslin lining and the other bag. The instructions for inserting the zipper weren’t very clear, so I turned to Amy Karol‘s book Bend the Rules Sewing, where the illustration and step-by-step directions were both clear and concise.


Start to finish, I put six billable hours into this project. There was considerable unbillable time spent filling, scooping up the spills, emptying, scooping up the spills, and filling the beanbag. Lesson number one: cut a small hole in the corner of the pellet bag. Lesson number two:  insert lining into outer shell before filling. It won’t fit otherwise. Duh.  Lesson number three: wait until someone is home to help you hold the beanbag open.


Now that the project is finished, it is time to sit back and relax…for a few minutes…until it is time to bike to school for pick-up.


2 Responses to “Project Beanbag”

  1. 1 Nicole Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    I love beanbags! Honestly, I have one in storage in my parents basement because I cling to the idea that one day I’ll be stationary enough to use it!

  2. 2 Carrie Friday, May 29, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Wow, I’m impressed!!

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