Bean Bag Chair Tutorial

Bridget McPhillips

Inspired by the desire to not give my children a bunch of candy this Easter, I decided to whip up some bean bag chairs. 

I needed a pattern so I started browsing Pinterest, which is where I saw a pin from Martha Stewart.  The link to the original post on can be seen here:

If you look at this post you will notice that the reviews are not great.  I am guessing that is because there are no real directions and the direction to cut the tops of the triangles off is just bad advice.  

I decided to post the changes I made to this pattern, I hope you try this one, it is really very simple and a great design! 

The original pattern calls for 5 pieces. 

Four isosceles triangles (measuring 24 inches at the base and 36 inches along the two sides), and

one square (24 inches by 24 inches).

I decided to make two bags, one to act as an inner lining to hold the beans and one to function as a cover that is removable and washable. 

I used all the same measurements and shapes, I just cut out 8 triangles, 4 out of the fabric for the inner bag and 4 out of the fabric for the cover.  I also cut 2 squares, 1 out of the fabric for the inner bag, and 1 out of the fabric for the cover.     

It is very basic sewing to put this bag together.  Start by stitching each of the four isosceles triangles, right sides together, along the long sides.

Your lining will look like this just before you sew the last two sides together.

Beab Bag made using triangles

Once all the sides are stitched together, flatten out the bean bag, lining up the seams.  Measure down about 6 inches from the top, pin and stitch straight across.  This will form the top of the bean bag.

Bean Bag made from triangles top

I added a zipper closure to the bean bag.  The original pattern did not include a zipper.  From all of the posts I have read, all of the filler eventually breaks down and needs to be replaced or supplemented.  I wanted a zipper closure so in the future I could easily adjust the fill in the bean bag.  To install the zipper stitch one side of the zipper to one side of the square piece and stitch the other side of the zipper to one of the bases of the isosceles triangles (the side pieces).

Insert zipper in bean bag liningInsert zipper in bean bag lining

After the zipper is installed, unzip the zipper halfway.  Next match up each of the base sides of the triangle pieces with each of the sides of the square piece and sew.  Once the bottom is sewn, the bag can be turned through the zipper opening.

bean bag zipper closure

Completed bean bag lining zipper closure

Now, for what I found to be the most difficult part of this whole process, filling the bag with the bean bag filling. 

I chose to use Poly-fil, Biggie Bean Bag Filler, it is made by Fairfield.  The bean bag that I made required 1 full bag and about a half of a second bag.  Each bag was labled to fill 2 cubic feet.  I also added one bag of shredded foam (12 oz. bag). 

To fill the bean bag, I cut the bottom corner off of the bag the fill was packaged in and then let the beans fall into the zipper opening of the bean bag. 

This is what the bean bag will look like when it is filled.

Bean Bag Insert by The Tumbled Stone

Next, make the cover following the same directions followed to sew the bean bag.

Make a bean bag removable cover

Stitch the triangle sides together, right sides of the fabric facing.

Stitch sides of triangles togetherBean bag cover before final seam

For the cover, I top stitched each of the seams.  I did this for two reasons.  The top stitching will make the seam more durable and I think that top stitching adds a nice aesthetic, I just really like the way it looks.

topstitched bean bag cover seams

Topstitching by BridyMcP

I had intended to add the zipper to the cover in the same way I had done for the inner bag, but I needed to create a larger opening to get the cover over the filled bean bag.  I decided to add a flapped zipper, diagonally across the bottom square piece of fabric.    

Add a zipper to bean bag cover

I made the flaps out of the same fabric as the cover.  To make the flap, cut a 2 inch  strip of fabric two inches longer than the zipper.  Fold the fabric strip wrong sides facing each other and serge the raw edges.

Stitch the flap in place as you install the zipper with the serged edge along the zipper teeth.  Once stitched in place, the flap will fold back over the zipper, covering the zipper teeth.

Add a fabric flap to cover your zipper

After the zipper was installed I added top stitching along the flap edge along the zipper on the side where the flap is attached to the cover.

Bean Bag Zipper by BridyMcP

Bean Bag Bottom by The Tumbled Stone

I also added a handle to the bean bag cover.  

To make the handle cut a two inch wide strip of fabric. Fold the strip in half with the wrong sides of the fabric facing and press.  Next open the fabric strip back up and fold each of the raw edges into the center fold line just created and press again.  Now fold the strip in half again and stitch along each of the edges.

Sew a handleHandle by The Tumbled Stone

To form the top of the bean bag cover, with the bag turned inside out, lie the bean bag cover flat lining up the four seams that make the bag. 

Bean Bag Top

Next measure down from the top of the bag cover approximately 6 inches and mark or pin.

Measure for the bean bag top

From the inside of the bag, slide the handle piece in place along the line just marked.  Stitch across the bean bag cover top, along the marked line.  This will form the top of the bean bag and also secure the handle.

Insert the bean bag handle

The top of the bean bag cover will look like this once stitched.

Finished bean bag top with handle

Next match each of the four bottoms of the isosceles triangles with each of the sides of the square piece to form the bottom of the bean bag cover.  Be sure to leave the zipper open so that the bean bag cover can be turned right side out once the seams are sewn.

Sew the edges of the square to form the bean bag bottom

Turn the bean bag cover right side out through the zipper opening and slide the cover over the bean bag.

The Tumbled Stone Bean Bag Tutorial

All in all, the concept behind this bean bag pattern is great.  The shape of the bean bag creates a back when you sit in it.  It really was simple to construct. 

Completed Bean Bag with and without cover

I made three bean bags in about 4 hours.   That includes the time it took to fill the bags, the most time consuming part of this project. 

The covers took me a bit longer to work out, because I needed to design in the zipper closure.  I chose the flapped zipper because I used brass zippers and did not want the zipper to scratch anybody or anything. 

I love to use natural fibers, so my fabric choices were linen and cotton.  I used linen to make the inner bean bag, and a brushed cotton canvas fabric to make the cover. 

A simple project that will make a great gift or a fun addition to your home decor!


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