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Bean Bags with Patriotism

Bean Bags with Patriotism


Irresistible bean bags are easy to sew and fun to play with.


By Barbara Albright

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Bean bags are irresistible. They beg to be picked up, tossed, squashed, or juggled.

It's fun to lob them back and forth or devise simple games with buckets or baskets as targets.

Make some for a summer picnic or birthday party -- perfect for games or party favors. They also can be a craft to keep the kids busy.

Making bean bags teaches design and sewing. Both are useful life skills.

What You Need
To make bean bags, you need fabric, thread, sewing needles, and ordinary dried beans. Dried beans are sold at every supermarket in the country. The kind you use does not matter, although for small bags, small beans are preferred to larger ones. Unpopped popcorn is another idea for the "beans."

If you are making multiple bean bags, a sewing machine is useful. Pinking shears are handy for cutting the fabric so that it does not unravel.

How to Make a Bean Bag
Bean bags can be simple or ornate. The simplest are made with two squares of felt or another easy-to-sew fabric.

Cut out squares of fabric. For best success, make a paper pattern first and use pinking shears.

Pin the squares together so that they match up. Use a sewing machine or very small stitches to sew around the outside edges, leaving about a quarter inch border. Leave a small opening at the end of one side for the beans.

If you use patterned fabric, sew the bag inside-out and then, once it's sewn with only the opening left, invert it so that it's right-side out.

Insert a funnel into the opening in the sack and then put beans into it. Make sure the funnel's spout is large enough for the beans!

Don't overstuff the bag; you want the beans to move around inside it. When the bag is as full as you like it, sew the opening closed.

For a party activity, you could sew the bags ahead of time and let the kids fill them and sew the opening closed. For young children, this would be the easiest way for them to feel they had "made" their own bags. 

Other Bag Ideas
You can cut the felt into other shapes such as triangles and half-moons. Use two different patterns of fabric for variety, or sew a solid colored back on some of the bags.

Decorate the outside of the bags with fabric paint, appliques, or waterproof markers.

Toss, squash, and juggle to your heart's content!


Beans bags designed and created by Betty Westray



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