Bean bag chairs can be expensive to purchase, so making your own is a great way to add a personal touch without having to spend a fortune at the store. Bean bag chairs are great for lounging as you watch television and can make a nice addition to a recreation room or a child’s bedroom. In fact, making a bean bag chair is an excellent first sewing project to share with kids. A bean bag chair is simple to sew, and it teaches the fundamentals of the craft that can be applied to more complex sewing projects down the road.
Before you can start making your bean bag chair, you will need to purchase a few supplies at your local fabric store. You will need purchase 5 yards of a thick upholstery or vinyl fabric with a width of at least 45-inches. This will be the outside shell of your bean bag chair. For the inside lining of your chair, you will need to purchase 5 yards of thin muslin fabric with a width of at least 45-inches. In addition to your fabric, you will need to buy 6 cubic feet of polystyrene pellets. The polystyrene pellets will be the stuffing for your bean bag chair. You will also need a 22-inch long zipper that matches the color of the fabric you chose for your outside bean bag chair shell. Finally, you will need the following sewing supplies: sewing scissors, a cutting board, a yardstick, sewing pins, fabric pens, a sewing needle, thread to match your fabric and a sewing machine.
Lay out the upholstery fabric you purchased on your cutting board with the wrong side down. Using the measurement grid on your cutting board, measure out the first panel of your bean bag chair. Your bean bag chair panel should be 12-inches wide at the top, 45-inches long and 25-inches wide at the bottom. Cut out your panel. Repeat your measurements and cutting for your next three panels. You will have a total of four bean bag chair panels. Set your panels aside. With what remains of your upholstery fabric, use your yardstick to measure a small circle with a 12-inch diameter and a large circle with a 25-inch diameter. Cut out your circles and set them aside. Repeat all of your measurements and cuts with your muslin fabric. Your muslin fabric will be an exact replica of your upholstery or vinyl fabric.
Take your zipper and pin it to the center of the wrong side of your large circle. Open the zipper, and with your scissors cut the fabric at the mouth of the zipper. Take your circle with your pinned zipper to the sewing machine and sew the zipper in place around the cut. For a more finished look, you can sew a hem on the fabric around the mouth of the zipper. Set your large circle with the sewn zipper aside.
Take your cut pieces of upholstery fabric and pin them together by their 45-inch sides with the wrong side out. Take your connected panels to your sewing machine and sew them together with 1-inch seams. You now have your panels connected to form what looks like a tube.
Take your circles and pin them to the top and bottom of your panel tube. Make sure you have your circles pinned wrong side out. Take your fabric back to the sewing machine and sew your circles into place with 1-inch seams. Turn your fabric right side out through the zipper you placed in the center of your large circle. You now have the outside shell of your bean bag chair.
Apply the pinning and sewing steps you completed with your outer shell onto your muslin pieces to construct the inside shell of your bean bag chair. Make sure you do not sew one edge on your large bottom circle. You will insert the polystyrene pellets into the inside shell through this hole.
Fill your muslin shell with your polystyrene pellets through your open edge. Fill your inner shell to your desired thickness. Keep in mind you will want your bean bag to be firm enough to sit on, but have enough give for you to be able to lounge. With your needle and thread, sew the open edge closed. You may want to enlist some help keeping the pellets inside the inner shell as you sew close the opening. Place your filled inner shell into your sewn outer shell through your zippered opening. Close the zipper on your outer shell. You have now made your own bean bag chair!