Bean Bag Chair — A Storage Solution (stuffed animals, extra pillows & blankets)

posted in: make it | 2

There will definitely be a theme of “the dissertation is done, so Debbie is starting to play ‘catch-up’ with projects” with my upcoming posts.  It has been so nice to sew/cook/craft again.  Not that I worked on the dissertation/school work ALL of the time, but I found myself feeling so guilty about doing anything else, that instead, I would just sit and do nothing or web-surf looking for new projects that I didn’t have time to do!

A while ago, Jen came across in a catalog this creative way to store stuffed animals.  Did she order a couple? Oh no, she said, “I bet Mom could make those a lot cheaper!” (I think they were about $75 in this speciality catalog).  I did manage to make one for Little S (who had the stuffed-animals-reaching-the-point-of-room-takeover situation going on!) and she received it for her birthday over a year ago. Both of the girls loved the project and requested I make them for the rest of the “grands” — I bought the fabric, even cut it out, but didn’t get them made until just in time for this Christmas.  And, they were a hit!

This “storage solution” would also work great for a dorm room or small apartment (to store extra linens, winter jackets, etc.).


Start out with any bean bag chair pattern.. I used “D” of Simplicity Pattern #5105 (which I can guarantee was purchased during one of JoAnn’s any-pattern-for-$1.99 sales — I do NOT pay full price for patterns!).

Heavy fabric, such as duck or denim (you do not want it to be stretchy!), according to pattern requirements

22″ long zipper (closed at one end)

1/2 yard mesh fabric (like what is used for laundry bags)



Cut out the fabric pieces according to the pattern directions.  Begin sewing pieces together, again, according to the pattern directions; however, instead of just a simple seam between two of the pieces, insert the zipper.

Homemade Bean Bag Chair -

For the piece which will be opposite where the zipper has been inserted, cut out some of the heavy fabric and insert a “window” of the mesh fabric.  In the “sample” Jen found in the catalog, this window was made of vinyl … so that was how I made the first bean bag — not a good idea!  Little S almost immediately zipped herself (we should have known!) into the bag and couldn’t get out.  Luckily, a little friend was over playing and we were alerted to her predicament!  So, before making anymore, I did a bit of fabric “research” and came up with the mesh idea.  If you’re making one of these for an older child or teen, or even a young adult, the “window” isn’t really necessary — mainly just allows for the furry friends to be remembered!

Homemade Bean Bag Chair -

Continue to follow pattern directions to complete the “bean bag chair”, simply using your “modified” panels.

Since these “chairs” are likely to get heavy use (Little S drags hers all over the house so she can sit wherever the action is happening!), I double stitched all seams and top-stitched through the seam allowances which I pressed to one side.

Homemade Bean Bag Chair -

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2 Responses

  1. Kim
    | Reply

    Trying really hard to make one or these for each of my kids. I’m having trouble with the zipper though.. How do you insert the zipper in between the curved seam? I’ve never sewn in a zipper before, and quite honestly, this is the first thing I’ve sewn since 7th grade Home ec, but I’m really trying. Any advice on the zipper?

  2. Debbie
    | Reply

    Are you using the same bean bag chair pattern I used? I don’t remember the curve being a problem. I did use the machine to sew the seam with a large basting stitch (before going back and doing the zipper). After the basting stitch I ironed the seam open and then used some sticky packing tape to tape the zipper (remember to flip it upside down so the zipper pull will be facing “out”). You might be able to pin it in, I’ve just had better luck taping zippers down (and I’ll admit zippers are NOT my favorite — right up there with button holes). I sewed it once from the back side, took all of the tape off, and then flipped it over and sewed it again (kind of a top stitch look) to give it some extra strength … seemed like a good idea with the kids plopping themselves down on them. Then used a seam ripper to pull out the basting stitches. And I apologize for not seeing your message earlier — I think it got caught in our spam filter. I hope you were able to finish the chair!!!

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