This was a Christmas gift I made last year for my then 3-year-old son. Bean bag checkers! So simple, and yet I knew he would love them.
I didn't take a ton of pictures as I went along so this is a more basic tutorial intended for those who already sew/quilt. If you're a total newbie, it's really not an advanced project at all, but you may need to look up instructions for things like binding etc.
The fabric I used was from the Hooty Hoot collection, designed by Shari Butler of Doohickey Designs for Riley Blake. As far as I know it's no longer available. But you can use any fabric (doesn't all have to be from the same collection) that has small creatures or motifs on it. Check out some of Shari's other collections for cute animals.
1/4 yd each of two contrasting board fabrics (also used for the back of the pieces)
16x 16 piece of backing fabric (or 1 fat quarter)
1/4 yd of binding fabric
1/4 yd of pocket fabric
Enough of the fabric for pieces to cut out 12 of each motif (you need two different motifs that are about 1 1/2"-1 3/4" square)
12 1/2" piece of Velcro
Grain for the "bean" bag pieces
The basic rundown of the project is as follows:
1. Make a mini patchwork quilt board.
2. Add pocket on back and then bind the whole thing.
3. Sew little beanbag pieces.
Use 1/4" seams unless otherwise noted.
2 strips , 2 3/8" x WOF, of each of the board fabrics
Sew the 4 strips, right sides together, alternating colors, along their long edges. Press seams in one direction. Crosscut this strip set in half perpendicular to the seams. Sew the 2 smaller sets together so that you have 8 alternating stripes. Press the seam in the direction of the others.
Crosscut this strip set into 8 rows 2 3/8" tall. Sew these rows together along their long edge, flipping every other row to create the checkerboard pattern. Press seams to one side. You will have a board top 8 squares x 8 squares that is about 15 1/2" x 15 1/2"
Sandwich the backing, batting and front and quilt through the layers. I simply used a straight line on the diagonal through the darker blocks. Baste around the edges, 1/8" from the edges on the front. Trim the batting and backing close to the edge of the front.
2 rectangles 5 1/2" x 15 1/2" (you might want to measure your board top and cut these pieces a little wider if needed) (for the pocket pieces I used 2 different fabrics, but you can use just 1)
2 rectangles 2 3/4" x 14 1/2" (for pocket flap)
Sew the pocket pieces with right sides together along the top and bottom long edges. Leave the sides open. Turn right side out through a side opening and press.
Sew the flap pieces with right sides together along each side and the long bottom edge, leaving the top long edges open. Clip corners, turn right side out and press.
Center the Velcro strips on the top outside edge of the pocket piece and the bottom inside edge of the flap piece. Sew them in place about 1/4" from each edge.
Place the pocket piece on the back of the board so it's top edge (with the Velcro) is about 1 1/4" from one of the board's raw edges. The pocket's raw side edge should align with the board on 2 sides. Pin in place and baste 1/8" from the raw edge. Flip the board and align so the pocket it at the top. Stitch-in-the-ditch along the bottom of the 3rd row of squares (this should catch the bottom of the pocket all the way across. If it doesn't work out right, you should move your pocket to make sure this seam will sew it on.
Place the pocket flap so the raw edge is centered on the top raw edge of the board. Baste 1/8" from that edge.
Next, bind the edges of the board using your preferred method of binding.
Fussy-cut 12 squares 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" of each of the motif fabrics
12 squares 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" of each of the board fabrics
With right sides together, sew the pieces fronts and backs together (one color of the board fabrics should got with all the same motif … like my white/blue owls have a blue backing and the green brown ones have a brown back). Sew around all sides, leaving a 1" opening in the center of one side for turning. Trim the corners. Turn them right side out through the hole.
Make yourself a small paper funnel and use that to stuff the squares with some kind of grain. I think I used barley because I had it and beans seemed too big. You could also use rice or really any kind of grain. I guess in theory this could become a snack for mice depending on where you store it, so keep that in mind…
Sliptstich the openings closed.
You can now store the pieces in the pocket and you're ready to play at any time!
I originally thought of including a ribbon or a button elastic closure so it could be stored rolled up. But in the end I like to simply fold it in half because it's flatter.
Enjoy! And please do share picture in my flickr pool if you make one...