Monday, December 31, 2007

Tutorial: How to Sew Bean Bags

Another last minute Christmas gift was this set of fleece bean bags intended for use at football tailgating parties. My son's girlfriend asked if I would sew a new set of bean bags for my son since the last set I sewed for him was given to a previous roommate. Apparently bean bag toss is a trendy game - who knew? Well, obviously not me.

No pattern used (or needed) for this set of bean bags.

This set of eight - four for each team - measure 5-1/2" x 5-1/2". I would have liked to have made them 6" x 6" but when my son's girlfriend purchased the fabric they sold her 6" strips. And, in typical Joann's fashion, there wasn't a fraction of an inch to spare *sigh*.

Want to make your own set? Here's a quick tutorial on how to sew bean bags.

Materials Needed
* Fleece - pattern number one - 6" strip.
* Fleece - pattern number two - 6" strip.
* Flannel - for inside - scraps or (2) 6" strip.
* Beans (We used 6 lbs for eight bean bags)

Step One - measure and cut
* Cut eight 6" x 6" squares of fleece number one.
* Cut eight 6" x 6" squares of fleece number two.
* Cut 16 squares (6" x 6") of flannel or other woven fabric. It doesn't have to be pretty or match as it will be used inside as an underlining to help support the weight of the beans.

Step Two - Sew
* Place a flannel square on the back of each fleece square. If you need to, baste or pin the two pieces together. These will now be treated as one piece.
* Sew using a 1/4" seam allowance around all four edges, pivoting at each corner and leaving an opening approximately 3" long on one edge.
* Sew a second time using a zig zag stitch. This will help prevent the seams from popping out.
* Repeat for all eight bean bags.

Step Three - Turn and Fill
* Turn all eight bean bags right side out.
* Divide beans equally. We didn't have any way of weighing the beans so we divided them by filling eight cups equally. You'll want the weight as equal as possible so each bean bag will toss the same.
* Pour beans into the bean bags. This works great if you have a partner that can help you. One of you holds the opening open while the other pours the beans in. If you're alone you can use a funnel to help guide the beans into the bags. This is the most time-consuming portion of the entire project.

Step Four - Finish
* Stitch the opening closed on your machine. I used a narrow zig zag stitch and stitched along the entire edge of the one side.
* You might be tempted to slip stitch the opening closed so that it will look nicer, but the continued tossing combined with the weight of the beans will weaken the stitches.
* Push the beans back as far as you can while edge stitching that last seam, otherwise some may escape while you're sewing and end up all over your machine or worse, underneath your needle.
* Toss a few of the completed bags around to see how much fun they can be.

The first set of bean bags I made for my son ten years ago are still going strong so I expect it will be awhile before I'm asked to sew another set,. However, it is such a simple-to-sew project that I think I'll just show him how to sew the next set! Pin It


  1. Cute bean bags! Have you ever heard of a game called Cornhole? I think it started here in Cincinnati but has spread throughout the Midwest. It is amazing to me how popular it is.

  2. Do you mean to tell me that Joann's actually cut 6" strips for her? Our Joann's refuses to cut anything less than a half yard.

    That said, is this bean bag game played kind of like horseshoes?



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