Wednesday, January 15, 2014


SOOOO, I can't believe it is already January 15th!  Happy new year!  I hope your holidays were wonderful. .. Cutting to the chase, several people have asked me to post some pictures of my kitchen.  Aaaaannnnnd, I keep saying, just wait the next post I do will be my kitchen before and after!  Wellllll, this is obviously not a post about my kitchen.  So sorry if I got your hopes ups!  Yesterday I received the pendant lights that go over our island in the mail.  Of course, now I have to get those installed before I take some pictures and post the kitchen before and afters on the blog.

Anyway, maybe you will enjoy reading about how I made this chevron strip bean bag.  And after you read all about it you will probably want to make one too ;-)  A little over a year ago, when my daughter turned 4 I made this bean bag for her birthday.  It is kind of a tradition that I make a bean bag for each of my kids.  And, this may sound crazy but, my husband and I have hand cut the foam filler for all the beanbags.  We have spent hours cutting foam remnants (that would have been thrown away from a local home fabric store, so they are FREE) into approximately half inch cubes so we can fill the bean bags.  Also, we have figured out the foam HAS to be cut into cubes, not chopped up or shredded or the bean bag becomes lumpy.  Actually though, cutting the cubes is not too bad.  Especially once you see how soft the bean bags are with real foam cubes compared to those white Styrofoam beads.  WE think it is worth it.  And, we love renting movies and watching shows together.  So, with both of us working together and two movies later we usually have plenty of foam cut to fill at least one bean bag.  For our two oldest I just made solid colored bean bags and embroidered their names on them.  After a while I get tired of the same old thing so for Amelia I was really looking forward to trying a chevron pattern with some of my favorite fabrics I had been saving from prior projects over the years.  Making a chevron bean bag is a bit of a project.  Plus I barely had enough fabric.  Definitely easier if you have more than enough fabric.  Lots of piecing, cutting and sewing.  I thought it was a lot of fun making it though and if you are up for a sewing challenge you will too. .. AND, yes my oldest two were a little jealous when they saw Amelia's Chevron bean bag.  Sorry kids life, it just isn't fair.  AND, lets be honest this was possibly more for me than Amelia.  The above picture is how I envisioned her bean bag always looking, unfortunately, this photo was not even taken in her room it was taken in mine, she does not read Hemingway, and ceramic birds are not a safe toy. Truth be told she could care less what it looks like, she just loves that she has her own bean bag chair.  It is most often drug all over the house and used as a fort, slide, bed, table, landing platform (for her many tricks she does off the furniture while I am not looking) or whatever her little imagination comes up with that is what it is used for.

If you are wondering how I made Amelia's Chevron bean bag please read the following for a tutorial.

  • PATTERN- I have always used the Simplicity 5105 pattern.  I think the size is perfect and it has a great shape.  

Can you tell this pattern has been used a few times?!

  • THE LINER - The patter does not say to make a liner.  I always, always make a liner.  It also does not allow for a zipper or any sort of opening for easy removal and cleaning.  I will explain how I did that later on in the tutorial.  But, you most definitely will want to wash the bean bag cover at some point.  For the liner I just buy cheap muslin and sew it together just as it states in the pattern, fill it with foam then whip stitch it closed.

    • CUT SEVERAL 4.5 inch STRIPS ON THE BIAS - All my seams were half inch.  Finished, the strips will end up being 3.5 inches.  I used 4 different fabrics but you can really use as many or as little as you want. 

    • CUT THE LONG STRIPS INTO SHORTER PIECES - Put the strips in the order of how you want them to be sewn and line them up (approximately 10) on your quilting mat along the 45 degree line then placed the pattern piece on top of the pieces lined up with the lines going horizontal across the quilting mat.  In the picture below not all the strips a laid out but you can see the blue strip is probably the longest strip and that is the one I would use as the gage.  Cut all the strips 3 to 4 inches longer than what the longest strip needs to be (ex the blue one in picture).  REMEMBER the pattern does not allow for a middle seam allowance so you will need to account for that when determining how long to make your strips.  
      • Make sure to cut one end on a 45 as shown in the photo below.  
      • Each chevron piece mirrors it self so half the strips should be cut with the 45 pointing one direction and the other half point the opposite direction.
      • If you cut two pieces at a time rights sides together you can't go wrong.  And it is quicker ;)

    Line up all your pieces like so..

    Start sewing all the strips togehter.
    The pattern has 6 petal shaped pieces.  But with what we are doing the petals are cut in half so you will end up making 12 half petals sewn together.
    **Once sewn together 6 half petals will run one direction the other 6 will run the opposite direction.  
    **Be sure to press each seam open as you go. 

    Check after each sewn strip to make sure the pieces are staying on track.  To do this line up the clear quilting ruler so that the seam lines up with the 45. see below

    If the seam does not line up perfectly with the 45 cut off what is needed to keep the lines running straight.

    Top stitch all your seams.  This looks nice and helps the bean bag hold up to the daily wear and tear.

    Pin and sew all half petals together from top to bottom
    EXCEPT one.  On one of the petals you will start at the top but only sew down 3/4 of the the way to allow for a zipper.  
    ***Remember, halves should mirror each other. 

    Once all the half pieces are sewn together you should have 6 full pieces.  Press seams open, place pattern on top so the middle fold of the pattern lines up perfectly with the points of the chevron pattern. 
    ** Make sure each piece is cut exactly the same.  Chevron strips are pointing up in each full petal. 
    Pin and cut around pattern 

    Then you just follow directions as stated in the pattern.

     To put the zipper in at the bottom of the bean bag follow the directions below.  
    Hopefully this makes sense..

    You will need pattern piece 3 and an invisible zipper that is at least 28 inches long .  Cut out piece 3 as directed in pattern.  The pattern will tell you to sew the halves together at the center. 
     **Only sew the first 2 inches of one end.  

    Right sides together, Start pining the top to the bottom starting at the open edge of the bottom and the open edge of the  petal that was only sewn 3/4 of the way down.  Pin bottom piece the rest of the way around to top outer shell.    Then sew together.  After it is all sewn together there will be a large slit that starts at the bottom and ends part way up one of the petals.  This is the opening for the zipper.  Make sure the zipper opening is not bigger than the zipper.  If it is simply sew down a little further on the petal side of the opening. 

    Iron the zipper open 

    pin it in place

     and sew it on 

    put the filled liner in the bean bag cover and you are done!! 

    Now you can cozy up in your new chevron bean bag chair, grab a book, and take a nap or just relax.  Because you deserve it!


    1. That turned out awesome Mel, I love to see everything that you're doing... your house is just beautiful!!! Love all the new family pictures too.:)

    2. Wow! This is a very useful page and I really enjoyed reading article and all users’ comments. That is a wonderful bean bag . looks great and comfortable. I am impressed! Your fabric is much more stylish than what they offer. Best quality bean bag chairs that will blow our mind. Thank you for sharing valuable information.

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    5. Nice looking and modern bean bags chair, Its such an awesome piece for home and office.

    6. I'm kind of drooling over your black and white USA map you can see in some of these pictures. Any chance you're willing to share where you got it from?