Thursday, August 31, 2006

bean bag : Bean Bag DIY

The good old bean bag was huge in the '70s. Now it's making a comeback, especially when covered in unusual fabrics like fake fur. This bean bag not only looks great, it's really comfortable and quite easy to make!

Lay the fake fur face down on the table and pin on the pattern (provided below). Check to make sure that the fur pile is lying down towards the base of the bean bag - ie. as you rub your hand over it, it smoothes naturally down towards the widest parts of the panels to be cut.

Cut out the two circles that make up the top and bottom and the four panels. It's best to cut the fabric fur-down with a craft knife. This will give a straighter edge.

Mark the position of the zipper in chalk on the middle of the bottom panel. We decided to place it there to avoid legs being scratched, and to keep it out of the way of prying little fingers. Cut the fabric where marked on the pattern and then carefully trim - with scissors - the seam allowance of the fabric where the zip will be placed (so that the fur is not caught in the zip during and after attachment). Next, with the right sides of the fabric together pin the zip in place and then stitch using the zipper attachment on your machine. Double stitch the seams.

Sew the four panels together along the long sides of the fabric. Use double stitching for added strength.

You will now have a tube of fabric which makes the main portion of the beanbag. You now have to attach the top and bottom pieces to complete. With the right sides of the fabric together, pin and stitch the top and bottom circles on. Turn the fabric the right way out. Use a wide-tooth comb to help tease the fur out of the seams.

Fill the bean bag with polystyrene balls. You will need about three small bags, which you can buy from most major department stores. Keep a vacuum cleaner handy to suck up any runaways. Be sure there aren't any balls left laying around as they can be hazardous if inhaled by small children. As an added measure, remove the pull-down attachment on the zip with a pair of pliers. By doing this, you ensure the bag will only open when you want it to and not by accident. You can insert a paperclip in the zipper to pull open when needed.

If you have young children or are concerned about treating stains which inevitably occur, it would be better to make an inner bean bag using the same pattern from some inexpensive fabric, such as calico or old sheeting. The beans would be placed in this and the fake fur used as an outer cover. The advantage of this is that you can change covers as desired and remove the cover and wash it. The fabric should then be gently brushed to bring back the soft pile. Never place the fabric near heat, either from an open fire or a clothes dryer, as it will be damaged.


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2:35 PM  

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