Upcycled T-Shirt Bean Bag Chair

A special thanks to Becky Stern and Tiffany Threadgould for their YouTube Instructional Video at http://blog.makezine.com/craft/pillow_chair_from_t-shirts_and/.

Like many Americans who have received a t-shirt for every time they’ve sneezed, my husband and I have a plethora of old shirts. I’ve debated what to do with them. They encompass so many good memories that to let go of them is heartbreaking. When I stumbled across this instructional video to make a T-shirt Bean Bag Chair, I thought, “Brilliant!” Tim has wished for a bean bag chair, so what better thing to make for my Valentine’s Day birthday boy?Image

The video link above gives excellent instructions, but here’s my version.

Create the pattern


Bean Bag Chair Pattern

  1. With a 20×30 in. piece of paper, draw a vertical line down the center.
  2. Start with a 60 degree angle at the top of the center line and draw a soft curve to one of the bottom outside corners.
  3. Cut out this first side and trace it on the opposite side to create a mirror image curve.
  4. Once the second curve is cut, cut the whole pattern into two pieces.

Cutting out the shirts

This 2 piece pattern is half of one panel. You will make 6 panels total.


Completed Panel

  1. Iron shirt (Yes, I realize the picture below is not the best example of a wrinkle free pattern and shirt)
  2. Pin the pattern to the shirt (reinforce pattern with tape)
  3. Cut with scissors or rotary cutter

I used a double layer of t-shirt to ensure the durability of the bag. I want to make sure it holds up to lots of lounging and kids jumping! This meant 24 of each piece. Each shirt gave me 2-3 pieces.


Cutting out the pieces


2-layer pieces cut and pinned, ready to be sewn.



Shell of T-shirt Bag

  1. Pin & Sew the 2-layer individual pieces
  2. Assemble the 2-layer pieces into their panels
  3. Sew a zipper into one of the seams. I took a zipper from an old diaper bag.
  4. Turn the bag right side out using the zipper opening.
  5. Sew two end cap circles where the panels come together.
  6. Fill it on up!

I used bean bag filler to fill. The video mentioned above used cut up upholstery foam from an old piece of furniture. I didn’t have access to foam so I found 3 big bags of beans at Bed Bath & Beyond (say that 10 times fast!). An extra set of hands and patience were helpful during the filling process.

When it’s all finished, you have a colorful, sentimental, comfy chair to sit on!


Jump on and enjoy!


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