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Bean Bags Project

August 15, 2008

While browsing on Etsy, I came across a small collection of fabric in primary colors. I thought the fabric would be perfect for making bean bags. This is yet another idea that I got from The Artful Parent. My mom lent me her sewing machine so that I could sew ten of these bean bags: a simple project for a very inexperienced seamstress. I cut twenty rectangles of roughly 6″ by 8″ due to the varying sizes of the pieces in the collection. I was trying to make the best use of the six patterns and get a good mix of them. The bean bags ended up measuring roughly 5″ by 7″ because of the hems. We used about two cups of beans in each bag.

Although I was the one who cut the rectangles and I didn’t let my children “help” with the sewing machine (despite their loud protests and repeated requests), they can be involved in several steps in this project. They can help mix and match the fabric to choose combinations that please them. They can put beans into cups and then into the bags. And if you are going to make a plywood target, which we might eventually get around to doing, children can paint that.

Could someone please explain how to reload the bobbin with thread so that I can finish these bean bags and continue with other sewing projects? I was in such a groove until the thread ran out. Then I felt the sting of my inexperience as I realized I would have to stop sewing just because I don’t know how the bobbin works.

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bean bags in primary colors

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bean bags in primary colors

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bean bags in primary colors

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Thanks, Dana Lee Designs, for the ideal combination of fabric for our bean bags project!!!

Edited to add: I watched a few tutorials about the bobbin on YouTube and was able to complete all ten bean bags. It was difficult to close them using the machine because of the weight of the beans. I used two safety pins to keep the beans from spilling while I sewed the top hem. It was awkward, but they turned out okay. We’ve had fun tossing them into a basket.

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basket full of bean bags

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11 Comments
  1. mrscjallen permalink
    August 15, 2008 1:18 pm

    What type of machine are you using? Could you do a quick search online for an instruction manual. Or maybe even look on youtube for a tutorial. I just realized that it’s easy to do but hard to explain.

    The bean bags look great!

  2. August 15, 2008 2:11 pm

    mrscjallen, thanks for responding to my cry for help. I’m using a Singer 6211C. I’m thinking I’d need to search YouTube for a tutorial because I won’t be able to do it until I study visually how someone else does it. Anyway my mom will come tomorrow and we will figure it out. 🙂

  3. August 16, 2008 8:30 am

    Now that you have the bean bags-it is time for you to create some games for them. Use poster board, or paper, or table clothes and create targets for them. You could have letters, shapes, colors, and on and on! Too bad I have moved on to fifth grade-you have some great ideas here. I told our pre-k teacher about your fish mobile activity! She loved it!

  4. August 16, 2008 12:13 pm

    Mercedes, the Pottery Barn sells a cloth with holes that would be easy to recreate. You’re supposed to hang it from a clothesline to play bean bag toss. Thanks for the ideas and for sharing with other teachers at your school!

  5. rosiemolinary permalink
    August 17, 2008 2:32 pm

    They look fabulous– what a great project! What a wonderful teacher you are to your children! Have fun!

  6. August 17, 2008 8:50 pm

    Thank you, Rosie! They are getting better at aiming the bags. It is fun and great practice.

  7. August 17, 2008 9:09 pm

    FW- I said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re an awesome mom!

  8. August 18, 2008 9:59 am

    What a great mom you are! Looks like a lot of fun. My mom made us bean bags like these a long time ago and they were well used for many activities (including bean bag fights I’m afraid to say).

  9. August 19, 2008 10:17 am

    Thank you, Sky!

    WC, my husband is afraid that our children will throw the bean bags at each other’s heads, but they haven’t done that yet. Thanks for your email about the sewing machine!

  10. October 7, 2008 10:04 pm

    I just now took a look at the beanbags you sewed using my fabric scraps. They’re cute! And so are the shirts you upcycled with more of the fabric. I will be posting more small fabric pieces in the near future if you ever need some more. It’s fun seeing what someone else can do with them. By the way, your blog is sweet and full of inspiration. I’m sure I’ll visit again soon.

  11. October 8, 2008 8:36 am

    Dana, what a pleasure to receive your comment! I really enjoyed using the fabrics. It was a great combination of bright colors. Thank you for coming to see what we did with them, and thank you for the compliment.

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