Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Chevron Bean Bags

Make your own bean bags

These cute little chevron bean bags were made to go with our wedding cornhole. Of course we had to get baby blue buttons to match! I only wish we had a sewing machine. Nhan and I hand cut and sewed these bean bags for about 5 hours. I suspect if you have a sewing machine, these should take you 1.5-2 hours at max. Please bear with my hand drawn diagrams below to help you better understand the first few steps. 

Happy sewing!

Note: These instructions are a tutorial to make the bean bags shown above. I will add an addendum marked with "**" at the bottom of the steps to detail how to create a normal bean bag without the flap and button. 

Fabric of your choice - 1.75 yards
Tape measure
Thread - color to match your fabric
Sewing needle
Sewing machine (not necessary but highly recommended)
Food scale
Dried corn or beans

Step 1:
Measure and cut your fabric: 8 rectangles of 16'' x 7'' 

With the right side of the fabric down, measure each rectangle 7 inches from the bottom and mark it with a pencil. (See Figure 1)
Fold the fabric at the line you marked so the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.
Iron at the folded line to create a nice crease.

Figure 1

Step 2:

With fabric face down, as in Figure 2, focus on the right side of the ironed crease. From the center crease measure 4.5 inches towards the right and mark a line with a pencil and ruler. From the right edge, measure inward 3.5 inches and mark a line with a pencil and ruler. 

Figure 2
If you have ever done origami, this may come easily to you and you can just follow the arrows in the diagram above. 

In more detailed words, fold the right edge under at the line closest to the center crease that you just drew and iron it to make a crease. Then flip the entire piece over so the fabric is right side up and fold the right edge back over at the right most line you drew and iron to make another crease. The diagram is shown in figure 2 above. 

After you complete the ironing, your fabric piece should look like Figure 3. When the fabric is right side up, the crease should be exactly 3.5 inches from the right edge and 3.5 inches from the center crease. When the fabric is right side down with the underside showing, the fold should be 4.5 inches from the center crease and 2.5 inches from the right edge.

Figure 3

If you were to lift the flap straight up, it should stand 1 inch tall, and be equally 3.5 inches from both the right edge and center crease as shown in figure 4. 

Figure 4
Step 3:
As shown in figure 4, sew at the dotted line so the two pieces of the flap come together to become one single piece. Sew about 2 mm away from the edge to allow the false "flap" appearance on the outside of the bag. 

Once you have completed this step, your fabric should look like figure 5
Figure 5

Step 4:
Flip the entire piece over so the fabric is right side up.

Find the center of the flap and sew a button to the center as shown in figure 6. 

Figure 6
After you complete this step, your fabric piece should look something like this: 

Figure 7

Step 5:
Fold the fabric along the center crease again so that the colored sides of the fabric are facing each other. 

Starting at the creased side, sew a line 1/2 inch in from the edge all the way to the top of the square as shown in figure 8

Figure 8
Repeat this on the other side of the square so you end up with an open top. 

Step 6:
Sew across the open top 1 inch down from the top. Sew a line about 2/3 of the way across the entire top, leaving the last third open. 

Figure 9

Step 7:
Through that opening, flip your bag inside out. 
Place your bag on the scale and fill it with 1 lb of dried corn (I used black beans since they were the cheapest dry bean I could find, but I highly recommend using corn or a white bean instead. After playing with the bean bags, small pieces of bean/corn break off and turn into dust. Black beans give a dark pigmentation to the fabric that isn't exactly desirable in such a light colored fabric.)

Figure 10

Step 8:
Using your needle and thread, sew the last 1/3 of the top of the bag closed, doubling the stitching if needed. 

Repeat with other 7 pieces of fabric. 

** If making a regular bean bag without the flap, you can cut 8 - 7''x14'' rectangles and fold them directly in half, colored sides facing each other. Sew directly up the sides of the newly folded square from the folded sides to the open top end of the square to form a nice pocket. Your sew lines should be 1/2'' in from the edges on both sides. To complete the top, sew about 1 inch down from the top edge 2/3 of the way across. When you get to that point, flip your bag inside out through the corner hole and fill the bag with 1lb of dry corn or beans. Finish sewing the final open corner by hand. **

And that's a wrap! You are now ready to play cornhole. Click for tutorial.