Bean Bags: A Scrap-Busting Tutorial

My kids are hands on, tactile kids. They love to kick balls, throw stuff and investigate the consequences of each and every action.

I decided to make them some beanbags, in the hopes that perhaps I could make a felt target for the floor and they could amuse themselves for a few minutes with it. I didn't expect the extent of their imagination. The beanbags have been in use for about a week and in that time they've been building blocks, hats, Pip had made them into a bed for her cars and then one was a blanket on top of the cars. In short, we love open ended toys. Gross motor skills, sensory experiences and so on and so forth. Or: they feel really cool in your hands. You can heat one up to fix an ouchie, throw one in the freezer for an ouchie, pile them on top of each other and knock them down. They also look pretty snazzy.

Gather materials

Fabric either 7 inches x 14 inches OR 2 x 7 inches
Wheat to fill the beanbags
Coffee to fill your tired brain
Iron
Scissors/Rotary cutter (I rotary cut mine)
Pins/ Safety Pins

Notes: I got my wheat from a local animal supply shop. I got my coffee from my kitchen pantry. I have also heard of people making calico beanbags for their inner beanbags. I didn't do this. The wheat I have used isn't particularly pointy and I used a small stitch to make the seams as durable as possible. If you were making these for very young children or to sell, I would be more inclined to overlock/serge seams as well as perhaps making an inner bag. I think this is a great way to use up odd shapes of material you have kicking around. You could also make a giant patchwork piece of fabric and cut it into the rectangles. Have fun!


Method:


1. Cut fabric for your beanbags. I used one piece of fabric per beanbag and cut it 7 inches wide by 14 inches tall. This is going to give me a square beanbag.

I meant to cut just a few... 
2. Wrong sides together, sew around the edges using a small stitch length (2.2mm) and a 1/2 inch seam allowance leaving a gap at the top. Trim your corners as demonstrated to make a crisp corner.

It took me 10 minutes to put the red lines on the picture.
I got Pippa a drink, broke up a toddler fight, got everyone
an apricot ball, explained that when you clean up the toys
we can watch ABC and thought about coffee.
3. Turn your beanbag inside out and press the top gap seam allowance to the inside.

I deliberately took these pics the day after I'd painted my nails.
Take heart that they no longer look like this.

4.
Prepare your beanbag filling area. Take note of the important items.




5. Scoop some wheat into your jug from the bag and holding the beanbag open over the bowl, carefully pour the wheat into the beanbag. Pin the opening closed with one or two pins. This step can be done with toddlers underfoot but is exponentially faster without. That is why there are no pictures of this step.

A visual of how much I filled my bean bags.

6. Sip your coffee and ensure that you drink it before it's cold. Priorities, please.

7. Stitch your opening closed, going back and forth at the ends a few times.






8. Oh my goodness children, stop yelling at the cat. Pip, here's your dummy.

9.
Hooray!


I initially meant to sew just a few up and when I began sewing the fabric I'd cut I noted that it was taking an extraordinarily long time. When I counted the cut fabric I'd cut 34 beanbags out. We have a plentiful supply now and I have given some away as a gift. Which brings me to:

GIFT IDEAS

I can hear the refrain of 'Humpty Dumpty' coming from my bedroom. Will I be putting a pre-emptive beanbag in the freezer?

Crafty Wednesday Tutorial: Wheat Bag Fun Times

When Mr S came to bed the other night and stole our one and only wheat bag off my bump he said 'Why don't you make some wheat bags? I can get the linseed from my work and it makes sense to have more than one in our house.' I knew his feet were cold and he just wanted the warm wheat bag, but I also knew that he made sense.

So behold, a tutorial for you! It is really SO straightforward and took less than an hour, including the cover. And now you've got some instructions and no baby brain, I expect it will take you even less time.

Not Wheat But Linseed Instead Bag Tutorial

YOU WILL NEED:

1 x 24inch x 13inch rectangle of calico
Approx 2kg linseeds
Your noble steed (sewing machine)
Your best sewing friend (my iron)
A ruler
A fabric marker
Chocolate brownie
Cup of tea

WHAT TO DO:


  1. Fold your rectangle in half longways, so you've got a rectangle that's 12inch x 13inch. Stitch around the two short sides with a 1/4inch seam allowance, and stitch the top 2/3 closed.
  2. Are you feeling pedantic? Trim corners and turn inside out. Not pedantic? Just turn it inside out.
  3. Give it a light press with your iron.
  4. Measure up and divide your sewn rectangle into thirds. I realised I'm crap at dividing inches into thirds, and went with the 'near enough' theory.
  5. Have a bite of brownie and a sip of tea.
  6. Sew 2/3 along your first line.
  7. Using a jug/funnel/SOME directional implement and preferably OVER a bowl, pour 2 cups of linseed into your bag. Jiggle it around to make it stay in the channel. It should look a bit like this.
  8. Push all the linseed to the bottom of the channel and finish sewing the line across.
  9. Sew the next line 2/3 across and fill and sew in the same fashion.
  10. When you reach your last channel, fill in carefully and sew the edge closed, ensuring that you fold the seams in as you sew. I promise you I trimmed the threads after I took this photo.
  11. Finish your tea and enjoy your brownie!


The Cover

Millie was still asleep so I decided to make a cover for the Not Wheat But Linseed Bag.
Here's where I clearly didn't imbibe enough chocolate brownies to be entirely accurate, nor did I take any notes. I am now 35.5 weeks pregnant and it is almost a week later than when I made this and took the photos, so bear with me. Do as I say, not as photos say I did.

YOU WILL NEED

1 piece of fabric 15.5inches x 12 inches
1 piece of fabric 22 inches x 12 inches
More brownies
Another cup of tea

WHAT TO DO


  1. Overlock one of the shorter edges of both your pieces.
  2. On both pieces, fold over your overlocked piece and finish the seams. Alternatively you can do a rolled seam here for a neat finish.
  3. Fold the finished seam edge of the 15.5inch x 12 inch piece over 6 inches to create a 'pocket'.
  4. Place both pieces right sides together, so your 'pocket' piece is facing up.
  5. Sew around using a 1/4 inch allowance.
  6. Overlock/zigzag seams and trim threads.
  7. Heat your Not Wheat But Linseed Bag up and pop it in the case.
  8. More brownie.
  9. More tea.
  10. Yay!
I hope you enjoy this. It was such a quick project that's been so very useful! What are you making this week? Link your posts up below.




Happy Valentines Day shirt - a tutorial.

So I'm still a complete novice new to this sewing malarkey, but I thought I'd share how I played a little game with a T-Shirt I like to call 'Pimp My Shirt'. Or a refashion as the crafty types would say.
Millie has this awesome black Bonds crew neck shirt that fit like a dream and is SO soft and delicious to have her wear... she just looked like a boy every time she wore it. Mr S requested that I make it look a little more girly. Sure thing!
I went through the Clothes I Don't Want To Throw Out and Surely I Could Do Something With Them pile and found a pair of shorts that weren't really Millie's style and perhaps destined for Vinnies.
We don't really do Valentines Day in our house, but I thought it'd be sweet to make this and take Millie to Mr S' work and show her off.

Step 1: I lightly pressed the shirt and pinned the bows from the shorts on the sleeves. At this point I put a ballpoint needle into my machine, because I knew I'd get distracted and forget later on. A ballpoint needle is essential for stretch and knit fabrics.

 
Step 2: I cut the waistband off the shorts and cut through one of the leg seams, making one big piece of fabric. I ironed this to make it sit flat.

Step 3: Cut the shorts into roughly 1inch strips using a rotary cutter. It also appears I didn't take a photo of these strips. Run a gathering stitch all the way down the centre of the strips and pull the bobbin thread to make cute little ruffly strips. A gathering stitch is just the longest stitch your machine can make.

Step 4: I wanted a heart shape on my shirt so I arranged the strips into a heart shape just see how it'd look. Cute as a button, that's how it will look.

Step 5: Realise that Millie has decided to only take a tiny nap this morning, not a sleep as is her usual pattern. Bring her out to the sewing room and give her a box to play with.


Step 6: Wonder what that sound is and realise that Millie is eating the cardboard box. Stop pinning, remove box from child's tiny person and give her a Cruskit instead. Back to pinning. Wonder why Millie didn't sleep that long and also acknowledge that you can hear her whinging to herself.


Step 7: I pinned the outer layer of the heart into place, then using a stretch stitch on my machine I stitched through the centre of the heart ruffle all around the shape. Realise baby is wiping soggy Cruskit all over the leg of my jeans as I'm pressing the machine foot.

Step 8: I then stopped and realised I'd sewn part of the shirt together. Unpick and keep going.


Step 9: See how great it looks?

 Step 10: I pinned the next layer of ruffles in place and carefully sewed around, this time taking care not to sew the shirt together.

Step 11: Make sure you use the right needle weight for what you're doing. I learned this the broken bent needle hard way.

Step 12: Have a break because baby has been super patient but now needs a cuddle. Realise she has been whinging because she's come down with a sudden cold. Runny nose and temperature. Sad face.

Step 13: Pin the last layer of ruffles into place and sew sew sew!

Hoorah!

Step 14: Hand stitch the bows in place and know that hand stitching is work of the devil.

Step 15: Admire your handiwork. Finish your cup of coffee and wipe the baby's nose again.

Step 16: Ask Millie to kindly model your creation. I understand that there are some babies that sit still? I do not have one of these. Enjoy my blurry photography.


I'm remarkably proud of myself and want to show this off to everyone. I am no longer afraid of cotton knit fabric and will not attempt all manner of knit projects. YOU DON'T NEED TO HEM KNIT FABRIC. I KNOW, amazing right?