Free pattern and tutorial: Baby and toddler bean bag

In the past weeks, I’ve been working on the baby and toddler bean bag pattern I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. After making the toddler version for Norah (the bean bag without the straps), I also made a baby version for Ava (same bag, but with straps).

Do you like the fabrics I used for this bean bag? I sure do! They were a generous gift from Modes4u, a Hong Kong-based webshop which carries a great range of fabrics, including some of my favorite brands and designers (Birch, Monaluna, Echino, Melody Miller, …). I had ordered some hard-to-find Nani Iro fabric from Modes4u a few months ago, and was really happy with their service. So I was quick to say yes to their offer to work together!
It was difficult to choose from such a great selection, but I couldn’t resist picking some Birch prints again. Their beautiful The Grove Decor line is made from organic cotton canvas, a thicker fabric which is perfect for projects like the bean bag.
Make sure to check this blog again next week, when Modes4u will be offering you a chance to win some fabrics here! Yay!

But for now, let’s turn to the bean bag tutorial.

THE DESIGN
The bean bag has a separate inner bag and cover. The cover closes at the bottom with Velcro, so it can be washed. The inner bag is filled with polystyrene beads.
I used piping between the top layer and the sides, but it is purely decorative, not functional, so feel free to leave it out.

IMPORTANT: As applies to any baby chair, you should never leave your child unattended in it!

PATTERNS
The patterns can be downloaded here or here (and here they are in just 2 A1-pages). Before you download them, please follow StraightGrain via Facebook, Bloglovin’, email or Pinterest. The patterns can be printed on letter size paper or A4 paper. In either case, make sure that you print it at 100%. Make sure that the option ‘Page Scaling’ is set to ‘None’. Use the 1 inch and 3 cm squares on the first page to check whether you printed correctly.

Very important: seam allowance (1 cm or 3/8″) is already included in the patterns! Do not add extra seam allowance, because the sides and top of the bag will no longer fit (I will spare you the mathematical explanation of this ;-)).

The diagram below shows how to assemble the first nine pages of the pattern. These contain the patterns for the three main parts of the bean bag: the top layer, the bottom layer, and the sides. You can either print these pages once, assemble them, and then trace the different parts, or you can print out the first nine pages three times, and cut out and assemble each part separately.
The inner bean bag and cover share the same patterns for the the top layer and sides. The bottom is slightly different, though, as the cover has an opening in the bottom, while the inside bag does not. It is indicated on the pattern which lines to use for the bottom of the cover, and which ones to use for the bottom of the inner bag.

If you are making the baby bean bag, you also need to print and assemble pages 10 to 12, which contain the pattern pieces for the straps.

MATERIALS
– 1 yard/meter of fabric* for the top of the cover (preferrably heavy weight, or mid weight reinforced with interfacing)
– 1 yard/meter of fabric* for the sides of the cover (preferrably heavy weight, or mid weight reinforced with interfacing)
– 1/2 yard/meter of fabric** for the bottom of the cover (preferrably heavy weight, or mid weight reinforced with interfacing)
– 1.5 yard/meter of fabric** for the inside bag (preferrably heavy weight)
– around 220 cm (86″) of piping (optional)
– 2 strips of around 25 cm (1/4 yard) of Velcro
– around 50 liters (13.20 US gallons) of bean bag filling (polystyrene beads)

* I’m assuming you use quilting width fabric (110cm/44″) for these parts; if you use regular width fabric, you can probably do with less.
** I’m assuming you use regular width fabric (140cm/55″) for these parts; if you use quilting width fabric, you will probably need more.

If you’re making the baby bean bag, you will also need:
– 1/2 yard/meter of fabric for the straps (preferrably heavy weight, or mid weight reinforced with interfacing)
– 1 plastic buckle which fits a 3 cm (1.2″) strap
– 3 small pieces of interfacing (see step 2.7)

INSTRUCTIONS
Note: seam allowances are 1 cm (3/8 inch) unless otherwise indicated

1. Making the bean bag
Note: the seams of this bag can be under a lot of pressure, especially when kids grow bigger. Unless you would like to find polystyrene beads all over your house after a few weeks, keep this in mind as you stitch the seams (e.g., for extra strength, use a smaller stitch length, serge all seams, and/or run a dubble stitch line)

1.1. Put the side pieces with right sides together, and stitch the side seams. Turn right sides out, and press the seam allowances.

1.2. Pin the top layer of the bag onto the sides of the bag, right sides together, and stitch all the way around.

1.3. Pin the bottom layer of the bag onto the sides of the bag, right sides together, and stitch all the way around, leaving a hole of 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inch) to fill the bag. Turn right side out.

1.4. Fill the bag with the polystyrene beads. Make sure not to put in too much – your child should be able to sit IN the bag, not on top of it!

1.5. Close the hole. I first closed it with some rough stitches by hand so the beads would stay inside, and next used my machine for a more solid stitch.

2. Making and attaching the straps (not relevant for the toddler bean bag)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Safety first! These straps will be preventing your baby from falling off the bean bag, so make sure to make very solid stitch lines. Use quality thread, a smaller stitch length, a double (or triple) stitch line, and backstitch well!

2.1. For each of the three straps, put both parts with right sides together, and stitch as indicated on the picture below.

2.2. Trim the corners, turn right sides out, and press carefully.

2.3. Each of the three straps has an open side. Fold the end inwards by 1 cm (3/8″) and press.

2.4. Bottom strap: Fold over the top part by 7,5 cm (3 inch) and stitch near the edge.

2.5. Short strap: Insert the short strap into the fixed part of the buckle and fold over by 2 cm (3/4″). Stitch near the edge.

2.6. Long strap: Insert the strap into the adjustable part of the buckle. No stitching is needed here.

2.7. Next, we’ll stitch the straps onto the top layer of the bean bag cover. Use the markings on the pattern to position the straps. First, reinforce the back of the fabric in these three locations with a small strip of interfacing. Next, stitch the straps onto the cover as indicated on the picture below. Keep in mind the safety instructions mentioned at the beginning of this section (use at least three stitch lines, backstitch extensively, etcetera).

3. Making the cover of the bean bag
3.1. Repeat step 1.1 for the cover (put the side pieces with the right sides together, and stitch the side seams. Turn right sides out, and press the seam allowances).

3.2. If you’re using piping, sew it on the right side of the top layer. Your stitch line should be at 1 cm (3/8″) from the edge, all the way around.

3.2. Pin the top layer of the cover onto the sides, right sides together. Next, turn it upside down (not inside out), and stitch right into the line you stitched in the previous step, all the way around. This will make sure that the piping is exactly where it should be.

3.4. Next, we’ll turn to the bottom of the cover. Take one of the bottom pieces, fold in the straight edge by 1 cm (3/8″) and press. Again fold in again by 1 cm (3/8″), press, and stitch. Repeat for the other piece.

3.5. Next, put the straight edge of one piece with the right side on top of the wrong side of the other piece. Make sure they overlap by 4 cm (1.5″); secure with a little stitch line at the left and the right edge.
3.6. Stitch the pieces of velcro tape onto the bottom pieces. Position them in such a way that when you close the cover, the 4 cm (1.5″) overlap between both pieces (see previous step) is maintained.

3.7. Finally, pin the bottom of the cover onto the sides, right sides together, and stitch all the way around (so, repeat step 1.3, yet without leaving a turning hole).
3.8.Turn the cover right side out, and jiggle the bag into the cover. Close with the velcro straps. Done!
A big thank you to Modes4u for providing me with the fabrics for the baby bean bag!

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60 thoughts on “Free pattern and tutorial: Baby and toddler bean bag

  1. These are so amazing! I can't believe that you are finding time to work on sewing/pattern making/blogging – you're incredible! I totally want to make one of these for each of my girls – just have to find the time! Thanks so much for the free pattern/tutorial. Hope you and the family are doing well!!

  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! i've been looking for a pattern for this all day! my kids are nearly 2 and 3 (irish twins) and will not lay down to nap or sleep without being in their swings. i wanted to buy a couple of these but they're a little pricey. i'm dying to get rid of these swings. i even broke my toe on one of them a couple of weeks ago. i'm hoping they'll find the transition from hard plastic, fabric covered swing to soft comfy bean bag a pleasant one!

  3. Dear Ann,
    my daughter just turned 4. She screamed the first 4 months of her life and hated being put down – she just enjoyed the really expensive doomoo seat. We still have it, so I guess it paid off, but: do you think your pattern could also work as a new cover for the original doomoo? I don't really like its design. Thank you for your time and tutorial!
    Love, Penny

  4. Dear Penny, that story sounds very familiar! Both Norah and Ava hate(d) being put into bed, but enjoy(ed) being on the Doomoo Seat. I think it could work for the original Doomoo Seat, but I'm not sure (I haven't tried). What you could do, is make the cover, and try it on the Original Doomoo Seat. If it doesn't fit properly, you could still make the inner bag, and fill it with the filling of the original Doomoo Seat. Making the inner bag is the fastest part of the project – shouldn't take you more than an hour. Let me know how it works out 🙂 an

  5. A good friend of mine is about to have a baby boy and this will be a perfect present! Just wondering if there was a way I could use dot minky (I have ALOT in my stash that needs to be used) for the top layer, it'll be so soft for bubs.

  6. hei an. thank you so much for this pattern/tutorial. i sewed a bean bag for my little one and just postet about it on my blog (www.frauangorafrosch.blogspot.com)
    love from switzerland
    miriam

  7. I love the idea and would love to make some for my twin grandsons but I can't get the pattern to open up. Any suggestions as to what I need to do.

  8. Two of our daughters are expecting babies this summer and this will be a great gift for each of my new grandbabies! While there are a lot of these beanbags available for purchase it just means so much more when it's homemade with love!! Thank you for sharing your pattern!!

  9. great !!! will be making one for my number 14 grand baby due soon. Been wanting to buy one but just too expensive now I can D.I.Y

  10. Wow! This is a very useful page and I really enjoyed reading article and all users’ comments. That is a wonderful bean bag . looks great and comfortable. I am impressed! Your fabric is much more stylish than what they offer. Best quality bean bag chairs that will blow our mind. Thank you for sharing valuable information.

  11. Love this! And my husband even has the clips. Will sew it for my baby who is due to be born in September. And my older kids would love their own bean bags too! Thank you!

  12. is this the only place to view the picture? do you have a youtube? for some reason I can only see the strap pictures, and none of the other ones.

  13. Thanks for this, I love the shape. I made it today for my toddler. I found it quite easy but putting the pattern pieces together/identifying which bit is which taxed my tired brain a bit..lol! Got there in the end. Love the result. Thanks again

  14. Ok – my posts aren't showing, but apologies if you have already seen this twice!!!

    I'm hoping to make this for my niece, who is already quite a 'long' baby – what is the finished size? I wouldn't want her to outgrow it too quickly…

    Also, do you have a pattern not on A4? I have access to a large printer so would be easier!

    Many thanks, loving the pattern, hoping this works…

  15. Hi Rachel,

    From top to bottom, the top (so, the yellow part) measures 75 cm. How old is your niece?

    And I don't have it for big printers yet, but I could make that for you… Which size would you need? A0?

  16. Love the idea! What do you think could be a good alternative to the polystyrene beads? Want to look for a more eco-friendly, less plasticky option, and am okay with it being less “bean bag”-like in that case. Any ideas? Thanks!

  17. Heb de babyzitzak gemaakt, samen met mijn dochter welke over 3 weken gaat bevallen. Hij is prachtig geworden, veel lovende woorden ook gehad.
    Ben benieuwd wat de baby er van gaat vinden …En bovendien, niet echt moeilijk te maken met dit fraaie patroon er bij.

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