Do It Yourself: How To Make A Comfortable And Durable Bean Bag Chair

Instructions on how to make a bean bag chair that will complement your home decor and furniture, including inner liner, zipper installation and suggested durable fabrics.

Bean bag chairs are almost as popular today as they were in the 70's, but the design really hasn't changed much in all these years. The materials used to stuff the chair are slightly different, but the basic design, comfort and durability of the bean bag chair remains. A bean bag chair is actually two bags, an interior bag, which holds the stuffing, and an exterior bag which can be removed for laundering. When shopping for bean bag chairs, it might be difficult to find one that matches your decor, but you solve this problem by making your own. Here are the materials you'll need to get started on your chair:

Child's:

3 yards of fabric which is 45" to 48" wide, or 2 yards if fabric is 54" to 60"

3 yards of muslin which is 45" to 48" wide, or 2.5 yards if fabric is 54" to 60"



18" zipper

Polystyrene pellets, approximately 4 cu. ft.

Grid , such as pattern paper

Adult's:

5 yards of fabric which is 45" to 48" wide, or 3.5 yards if fabric is 54" to 60"

5 yards of muslin which is 45" to 48" wide, or 3.5 yards if fabric is 54" to 60"

22" zipper

Polystyrene pellets, approximately 6 cu. ft.

Grid, such as pattern paper

You can also use packing peanuts for this project, but only the ones which do not dissolve with water. When choosing the fabric, select a material like corduroy, denim, heavy cotton or another choice which is especially durable. For the most accurate pattern, either purchase a pattern or see if you can find a printable pattern online. To make your own, lay tracing paper on your grid. You'll draw pieces which at first can be sketched as a triangle, but instead of coming to a point at the top, leave a gap between the two sides of the triangle, then form a downward arc between the two points. For the bottom of the triangle, instead of forming a straight line, you'll need to sketch an upward arc, between the two bottom sides of the triangle. The two sides of the triangle should arc out, rather than remain straight. The adult-size chair is approximately 41.5" long at its longest point and 21" wide at the widest points. The child-size chair is approximately 34" long at the longest point and 16" wide at the widest points. To make a pattern for the top of the bean bag chair, fold a piece of paper in half and mark a point approximately halfway down the folded edge. Using a ruler and pencil, draw an arc measuring 5.5" from this point for the adult-size chair, or 4.5" for the child-size chair. It will help if you keep the end of the ruler at the point marked at the fold and pivot the ruler in an arc movement while marking. To make a pattern for the bottom of the bean bag chair, fold paper in half as stated above, then make an arc measuring 12" from the marked point for the adult-size chair, and 10" from the marked point for the child-size chair. Unfold the paper and mark a line 1/2" on one side of the fold. Cut along this line and discard the smaller side of the circle. You'll use the remaining piece as the pattern for the bottom of the chair. You'll need to cut 6 fabric and 6 muslin side pieces, 1 fabric and 1 muslin top piece, and cut 2 fabric and 2 muslin pieces for the bottom.

Pin chair bottom pieces, right sides together, aligning straight edges. Machine baste straight edges using a ½" seam allowance. Stitch again using a regular stitch length, but only stitching 1" from each edge. Press seam open. Center the zipper with right side down over seam allowances, with zipper on seam line. Using a zipper foot, stitch down each side of zipper tape, 1/4" from zipper teeth. Stitch long edges of side pieces, right sides together, using a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave last seam open for easier top stitching. Press seam allowances to one side, pressing all in the same direction. Top stitch 3/8" from seams, catching both seam allowances. Stitch remaining seam, press seam allowances to one side, then top stitch. Stay stitch upper edge of bag, 1/2" from raw edge and clip seam allowance every 1/2". Divide and mark the outer edge of the bean bag top into six equal parts and pin to the upper edge of the bag, with right sides together, matching seams of sides to marks on top. Stitch 1/2" seam. Press seam allowances toward the bag sides and top stitch 3/8" from seam, catching both seam allowances. Repeat the stay-stitch and the divide and mark steps for the bag bottom. Remember to leave zipper partially open. Turn bag right side out using the zipper opening. Press the bottom seam allowances toward the bean bag sides and top stitch 3/8" from seam, catching both seam allowances. Repeat these steps for the inner lining, then place the inner lining inside the outer bag before filling with polystyrene pellets. Zip inner lining shut after filling, then zip outer bag shut. Now sit back and enjoy your finished project.

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