New Sewing Room and Stuffed Animal Beanbags

Well, it took over a month, but I finally got my sewing area set up and ready to use! I still need to do a few things, like install my thread racks on the wall and set up my gravity feed iron.  I also have a large box full of fabric that I decided I didn't want to keep, so I need to eventually go through that.  But thankfully my room is functional and I've even started working on some projects.


During our first few days here, as my kids unpacked their boxes of stuffed animals and toys, I considered storing the animals under their beds, since I bought them taller bed frames with plenty of storage space underneath.  However, I was finding it hard to find bins that were an appropriate size.  Around that time a pattern company put out a pattern for a storage beanbag.  I loved that idea, and considered just buying some, but the cheapest I could find were about $35-40, and with three kids that adds up quickly.  I also chose not to buy the pattern because it was basically a cube, and I had something slightly different in mind for shape.

My kids all liked the idea, so once a few weeks passed and we had a chance to go to the fabric store, they all went with me to pick their fabrics.  I didn't get them for quite the price I hoped because they were on sale for less of a discount than my coupons were worth, and then I splurged on pricey double zip plastic zippers, but ultimately the price was about $23 per beanbag.  

I started with my son's.  I'll admit, my great plans fell apart when I second guessed myself during construction, tried to fix it, then realized there was never a problem after all if I had followed my original plan! The result was a taller, cylindrical beanbag, but it all squishes down when in use.

The second beanbag for my younger daughter went just as planned originally.  I started with 2 yards.  At one end of the fabric I cut out two large circles 26" in diameter.  That left about 46" of fabric.  I cut that into four strips 11.5" by the width of the fabric, which was around 57".  I sewed two strips together at the short ends to make a big circle/tube, then did the same with the other two strips.  Then I sewed one tube to the outer edge of each large circle.  I divided each circle and tube into fourths and pinned those first, then pinned the fabric around it into pleats until the large tube matched the outer edge of the circle.  Then I sewed and topstitched those seams.  After that I ended up with a top and bottom, like so:


I bought 30" zippers and since they opened from each end, I sewed tabs on each end to close them off.  I sewed the two beanbag sides together, but I basted the length where the zipper would go.  I sewed each side of the zipper to the seam allowances, then opened the zipper (which is hard because it's facing the fabric so you have to unzip from the bottom side without using the zipper pull!) and undid the basting stitches.  Then I topstitched both sides of the zipper and middle seam.  Finally, I made some handles and sewed them on to the beanbag.

I'm not sure those instructions are worth much, but hopefully they are somewhat helpful if you want to make your own.  They can be altered for a smaller beanbag and narrower fabric too.  Just make smaller circles, and make sure your tube is about 1.5 or 2 times the circumference of the circle.  The pleats will give it a kind of a Morrocan pouf look.

This is my daughter's purple beanbag.

These beanbags are super huge, but the way! They put all their animals in and there wasn't enough stuffing for them to be that comfortable.  So my kids put some extra blankets and small pillows into take up some space.  

Oh, and the purple fabric, which is like a rosette minky, shed horribly! I was literally coughing up pieces of fur and trying to get it out of my nose and eyes constantly.  It covered my sewing table and cutting table and floor.  Here's a shot of my belly showing some of the damage.

Finally, I tackled my older daughter's.  She picked a thicker fabric, some faux leopard fur (which provided a funny story because she told me she was the only one who picked "fox fur" and it took us awhile to clarify that she was trying to say "faux" and had only ever read it in books, haha). This fabric had a long pile and while it had fewer flying fibers to get into my face, it made my floor look like a stuffed animal had been shaved in my sewing room! I had more trouble doing the topstitching and was very careful around the zipper to make sure I stitched the fur away from the zipper.  I broke 5 needle trying to sew the handles on!  However, because it's thicker, it turned out really sturdy and nice.  I bought 2 1/4 yards because she's bigger than the other kids and has more animals. So I made the circles about 28" and increased the height of the other pieces.  She stuck a whole comforter in there with her animals and it is very comfortable and a good size, with plenty of room for more animals.

Their rooms are much cleaner now that the animals are all in these beanbags. 

I'm grateful to be back in the swing of things with sewing.  I have problems with lightheadedness and a racing heartbeat this pregnancy, so standing for any length of time is tricky, but I bought a new tall stool to use in my sewing room that helps.  Sadly, I always end up with swollen feet after sewing, but I do it anyway because of the sense of accomplishment! Two of my children started school yesterday and my preschooler begins next week, so I'm really hoping to make progress on my next two sewing patterns.  But first, I've cut out four dresses for my oldest because she was almost all out of dresses that fit! So that's my next project that will hopefully not take more than a couple of days. But well, I'm 8 months pregnant and spend a good chunk of each day sitting on my couch reading or surfing Pinterest for decorating ideas, so I'll be honest, the sewing may take longer!