Thursday, 10 January 2013

Number Bean Bags

I saw this ages ago on Chez Beeper Bebe and stored the idea away (on a list, naturally) for future reference. I FINALLY got around to making them... I do get around to things on my list eventually you see!

 Here are the principles I used:

  • It had to be quick.  I have a pair of toddlers who require a lot of attention, I've loads of stuff that needs doing for Scouts, I've loads of crafty things to make on my list at the moment... you get the picture.
  • It had to cost next to nothing.  I don't like spending money that I don't need to spend, especially while not earning anything as a stay-at-home-mum.  Also, we've just had Christmas and it's a long stretch to January pay-day.
  • I wanted them to be tactile and pleasant to play with.
So I cut up an old ripped lilac sheet and an old black velvet skirt.  I vaguely used templates, but didn't cut them very carefully.
I cut out the numbers from the velvet.
I then approximately tacked the velvet numbers on to the sheet rectangles.  Chez Beeper's instructions involve some iron-on fusible web, but that I didn't want to spend the time waiting for it or the expense, so went for the tacking option.

Next was the tricky bit.  I've never used the applique option on my sewing machine.  I zig-zagged around the edge of each number.  Because there were so many twists and turns there was a bit of bunching.  I'm not sure, but I think perhaps the fusible webbing may have prevented this.  Also I'm not entirely sure about the green thread, I think it looks okay, but it does mean that my sewing deficiencies show up clearly.  I used it out of laziness.  It was the first thread to come to hand and I also already had this thread on the bobbin of the sewing machine.
Following this, I put the velvet and the numbers right-sides-together and stitched around three and a half sides of the rectangle.  I didn't pin them.  This meant that, again, there was some fabric bunching, and also some aren't quite rectangular.
I filled the bags with a mixture of chickpeas and lentils (which of course I had knocking about in my pantry), and then hand-stitched the last bit.

Of course, the children love them, and they are every bit as tactile and functional as I had hoped.  Not quite so aesthetically pleasing as those made by Chez Beeper Bebe though!

For the future, what would I recommend to do differently?
  • buy some nice fabric
  • cut the fabric more carefully
  • use the fusible iron-on bonding stuff
  • use a matching thread
  • pin the pieces together before sewing.
All in all, yet another project completed, and yet more lessons learnt.  You can't go wrong!

1 comment:

  1. I love the look of the black and white bean bags! And that velvet must provide a very nice Montessory-friendly tactile element to the numbers. By the way, I am all for working with what you have on hand and sometimes that is the only way to make it happen--and some of the best innovations happen in this way too! Ihope you will consider sharing some photos on my Beeper Bebe Projects made by You Flickr group, found here:
    --would love for others to see your work. Thanks for sharing it!