Turn an empty corner of your home into a cozy reading nook with a DIY bean bag chair. This project is perfect for a beginner sewer to take her skills to the next level by inserting a zipper. Using leftover fabric scraps and polyester stuffing instead of the usual bean bag beans, it's also very affordable. Because the chair is just a rectangle, the size is easily adaptable for children or adults. Instructions are included for an inner liner and an outer shell, making it simple to wash.
Any heavy-weight fabric will work well for the outer shell and a medium-weight fabric for the liner. Lighter weight fabrics are inappropriate for the type of use the chair will get.
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Bean bag chairJill Sparks
Things You\’ll Need
3 yards home decor or other heavy-weight fabric (main)
3 yards muslin or other medium-weight fabric (liner)
3 bags of fabric scraps
3 pounds of polyester stuffing (or 3 12-ounce bags)
MaterialsJill Sparks Three grocery bags of fabric scraps. Jill Sparks
Step 1: Cut Out Fabric
Cut two 30-by-45-inch pieces of fabric from both the main and liner fabrics.
Cut out both the main fabric and the liner fabric.Jill Sparks
Step 2: Sew the Liner
Lay the liner pieces right sides together. Sew up one long side. When you get to the end, lower the needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot, pivot, and then lower the presser foot. Continue sewing up the short side. When you get to the end, lower the needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot, pivot again, and then lower the presser foot. Continue sewing the remaining long side. Allow for a 5/8-inch seam.
Sew three sides, two long and one short.Jill Sparks
After the seams are sewn, take the open end and fold it perpendicular to the sewn short seam. Line up the pieces so the long side seams are laying on top of each other.
The seam allowances on top of each other.Jill Sparks The open seam folded perpendicular to the sewn short seam. Jill Sparks
Pin the open edges together, leaving a 7-to-8-inch gap in the middle. This is where you will turn the liner right-side out and stuff the filling.
The seam pinned together with a gap in the middle.Jill Sparks
Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams, and sew from the edge to the gap on each side with a 5/8-inch seam allowance.
The sewn edge with a gap in the middle.Jill Sparks
Step 3: Stuff the Liner
Turn the liner right-side out. Alternating between fabric scraps and the polyester filling, stuff the liner. Stuff really well into the corners. As you continue stuffing, press down on the scraps and polyester filling, making the stuffing dense.
If you don't have enough fabric scraps, search for them among crafters you know or local sewing groups. Many times you can find them for free from quilters who have no use for them. Any unwanted fabric is fair game. Don't be afraid to cut up ill-fitting clothes, old towels or the random uncoupled sock.
Stuff the liner.Jill Sparks
When the liner is completely stuffed, sew the gap closed.
Time to sew up the gap.Jill Sparks
Hand sew the gap closed using a hand needle. Because the liner will not be seen, the sewing doesn't have to be neat.
Hand sew the gap closed.Jill Sparks The gap sewn closed. Jill Sparks
Step 4: Finish the Edges of the Main Fabric
The main fabric piece is removable for ease of care. Because it will be taken on and off and washed, it is important to finish the edges of the fabric to prevent fraying. If you have a serger, use it on the edges. If you do not, finish the edges with the overcast function on your sewing machine.
If your machine doesn't have an overcast function, use the zigzag stitch. Check out this article that instructs you on the proper technique of zigzag seam finishing.
The serged edges of the main fabric.Jill Sparks
Step 5: Sew the Sides
With right sides facing, pin the long sides together and sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Then press the seam.
Step 6: Insert the Zipper
After sewing, rearrange the fabric piece so the long side seams are on top of each other.
Seam lines are on top of each other.Jill Sparks
Open the zipper. Centering it, lay it face down on the right side of the fabric, lining up the edges. Pin it in place.
The zipper pinned in the center, face down and lined up with the edge.Jill Sparks
Switch to your zipper foot on the sewing machine. Sew straight down the zipper, lining up the edges of the zipper and fabric with the edge of the zipper foot.
Sew the zipper in place.Jill Sparks
When you get to the zipper pull, lower the needle into the fabric and lift the presser foot. Move the zipper pull out of the way of the presser foot. Lower the presser foot and continue sewing down the zipper.
Move the zipper pull out of the way.Jill Sparks
Next, pin the other side of the zipper to the other side of the fabric opening. Again, the zipper will be face down against the right side of the fabric, lined up at the edges.
Pin the other side of the zipper to the fabric.Jill Sparks
Sew down the length of the zipper. Again when you get to the zipper pull, lower the needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot and move the zipper pull out of the way of the presser foot.
After both sides of the zipper are completely sewn in, give the stitching a good press, on a medium heat, from the wrong side of the fabric. You don't want to iron directly on the zipper, or it may melt.
Press the stitching.Jill Sparks
Switch back to the regular sewing foot. Pin together the open edges outside of the zipper.
Pin the gap closed.Jill Sparks
Sew the gap closed using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
Turn the bag right-side out. On the top of the zipper, pull the fabric so it just covers the zipper teeth, and press.
Press a crease, just covering the zipper.Jill Sparks After pressing. Jill Sparks
Step 7: Topstitch Around the Zipper
Switch back to the zipper foot. On the right side of the fabric, sew down the length of the zipper, moving the pull out of the way as needed. When you get to the ends, insert the needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric by 90 degrees. Sew over the seam to the other zipper side, then lift the presser foot, turn 90 degrees again and continue sewing down the length of the zipper.
After sewing, replace the zipper foot with the regular foot.
Turn at the ends of the zipper.Jill Sparks Topstitched zipper. Jill Sparks
Step 8: Finish Sewing Together
Open the zipper and turn the cover inside-out. Refold so the open end is perpendicular to the zippered seam. Pin the edges together and sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Press the stitching.
Refold so the open seam is perpendicular to the zippered seam.Jill Sparks
Turn right-side out.
Step 9: Stuff the Liner inside the Outside Shell
Carefully work the liner inside the outside shell and zip up. Your beanbag chair is now complete.
Zip up and it\’s all done.Jill Sparks The backside of the chair. Jill Sparks The pyramid bean bag chair. Jill Sparks