Friday, 18 April 2014



I have just finished a big project, a huge beanbag.

This is the first piece of furniture I have made, and quite possibly the biggest project I have worked on to date. I had a wonderful new Janome sewing machine for my birthday, which has made my fabric crafting so much easier.

I love Studio Ghibli movies, and My Neighbour Totoro is my favourite, he is such a lovely snuggly character, so I decided to make a Totoro beanbag. 

Being a novice sewer, I decided that the best idea would be to not use a pattern, at all. So did it completely by guesswork and adjusting him as I went through. I wanted him to be completely a beanbag, but as the costs went up in excess of £30 just for the beans, I decided to make a hybrid cushion/beanbag. I used recycled pillows for the base, this also helped with keeping the shape, as well as bulking up a bit to reduce the volume of beans needed. 

I started with two cheap fleeces from a local home store, they were £6 each, I have lots left over so plan to make some miniature totoro stuffies or something, whenever. 

I knew the shape I wanted him to be, roughly the shape of a beanbag seat so he needed a round base with fattish L shapes so that he is the right shape. The big bag of beans purchased online came in a stretchy bag which I topped up, I used this as the liner to keep the beans in, so that we don't leave little beanbag ball farts all over the house. I also used some had to plain fabric to line his tummy for strength.

I worked inside out and ended up with roughly the shape I had in mind with his head being quite flat and nose just slightly pointing forwards. 

Working with beans is very hard!! Omg they wafted everywhere, I was so careful filling him up, but five minutes before Mr P was due home, I realised that my careful pouring had in fact.....missed and there was an avalanche, then I noticed how big Liliies eyes were, before she decided that rolling on the balls was a good idea. 

I hand sewed his face and head to make sure I had the right shape, this fleece material is really easy to sew, which bodes well for me, as the stitches don't show at all!

I used black shoe laces for his whiskers, buttons for eyes, and part of an already sacrificed skirt for a previous make, for his nose and claws on hands and feet. Some White felt for the whites of his eyes.

I was delighted with the end result, although I did make him way bigger than anticipated, I still love him though. I am so pleased that he actually looks like Totoro, and I have managed to get his facial expression spot on. His arms are separate pieces sewn on, as are his ears, stuffed really full to get them to stand up. I used the edges of the fleece to make the detail on his tummy, this was also easier to sew as they were already sealed on one side. 

Total project cost, approximately £30 plus bits and pieces from home, and time. 

Hope you like him :)