I got this fab new Carnival Circus fabric range from the Craft Cotton Co and was asked if I fancied making something up in it for them. Erm, yes please! They asked which colour I would like but how could you possibly pick?! So I gained 10 pieces of circus fabric to play with and needed to think of something fun to make. My first thoughts were of some kind of tent but that would involve DIY and power tools so I knew it would be ages before I got round to making it. I thought about making some fabric building blocks but that has been done a hundred times before. As I was playing with my little dude I started thinking again. The week before I took him to a dance class and he had to balance a beanbag on his head. It was amazing to watch how much entertainment a toddler can get out of a single beanbag. So during our game of trains I thought up this beanbag game.
My little man is two but I can confirm my 30 year old husband enjoyed playing just as much as he did so this is one for the whole family.
YOU WILL NEED
2 Fat quarter bundles in contrasting colours (pack of five)
Cot sized batting
3/4 Metre of coordinating fabric (for the backing)
Iron on stabaliser
x2 A4 Felt sheets
Rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler
1kg Chick peas
The finished game will be 74 x 112cm.
1. Cut out 6 15 x 15" squares . I have made the game in two teams, blue and red, so I have made 3 blue and 3 red squares, in the light background fabric.
2. I found something that was about the right sized circle, in my case a pan lid measuring 8" wide. It really doesn't matter what size your circles are so just use something you have available that looks right in the squares you have made. On your iron on interfacing, draw around your template.
I have used interfacing to stiffen the circles and make them easier to sew on later, you can use bonderweb here instead, I didn't just because it is more expensive.
3. Roughly cut out your interfacing circles, don't cut them right up to the line as this will make it easier for you to cut them out again when they are ironed onto your fabric. Iron your interfacing shiny side down, onto the reverse of your fabric - 3 in red, 3 in blue. I have used the darker fabric in the bundle, cut out neatly.
4. I have attached the template I used for the numbers on the "what you will need" picture, but use whichever font you like, or just free style it.
When making something this fiddly, it is much easier to use bonderweb. If you have not used it before, you are going to love it! You may have used or seen it to hem trousers but you can buy it by the metre, off the roll, although the width is only A4 size so it is easy to store.
With your template laid out place the bonderweb shiny side down and draw round it in pencil. Squeeze your numbers in as best you can, to make the most of your bonderweb. Cut around it roughly and iron it onto your felt. Cut neatly around your letters.
5. Peel the paper backing off your bonderweb numbers. It should leave a shiny layer of glue on your felt. Place the number in the middle of your circle and carefully iron it on. You may need to place a piece of cotton over top or iron on the reverse so it doesn't stick to your iron.
6. I did a straight stitch close to the edge all the way around the numbers, using my machine to secure the numbers in place. The bonderweb sticks it into place but over time it will peel off if you don't also sew it down. You can hand stitch it if you prefer.
7. Arrange your squares in the order they will be sewn together and match them up with your numbered circles. I have done higher numbers at the top so you earn more points the further away you are.
8. Pin your circles to the middle of your squares. To determine the middle fold your square and circle in half, twice, and match the centre. Pin in place and sew around your circles. I used my machine blanket stitch. You could use your zigzag or hand blanket stitch around it.
9. Sew your squares together. I made three pairs first, pressed my seams open and then sewed my three rows together. Press your seams open.
10. Lay your quilt top onto your wadding and cut to size, leaving a little extra around the edge, just in case.
11. Lay this over top of your backing fabric with wrong sides together. I have used the star fabric in this circus collection because the height of the quilt just happened to be the same width as the fabric and the stars look the right way round in both directions, perfect! Pin in place, I use safety pins since I discovered curved quilting safety pins, I have been stabbed a lot less by sneaky pins.
12. I have done as minimal quilting as I can get away with so the amount of quilting you put in at this stage is entirely up to you. I have stitched in the ditch and then just around the circles. Square of the edges of your quilt with a ruler and rotary cutter.
13. Cut a strip of fabric 28 by 2". Fold right sides together length ways and stitch along the long edge. Trim down and turn it to the right side. I would be lost without my l thisoop turner for jobs like. Fold the ends in on itself and press, sew the ends to seal. Alternatively just raid your ribbon box.
14. Fold the ribbon you have just created in half and pin it to the centre top back of your quilt. This will act as a tie so you can store your game neatly. I have made my own binding using the checked red fabric. I have a more detailed tutorial on how to make and your own and apply binding on my Peter Rabbit Panel tutorial. I am a bit lazy with my binding and use my machine to sew it to the back first and then press it to the front and then sew it close to the edge on the front.
15. Making the beanbags is really easy. I cut out 10 rectangles, one in each fabric 12 x 4.5". Fold them in half with right sides together and sew around three edges but leave a gap to turn them out and add the chick peas to. Make sure you back stitch at each end and sew right of the edge so no peas can escape. I have trimmed the corners down before turning them, used a knitting needle to push out the corners and then pressed them as they get a little crumpled when they are turned out.
16. I enlisted the help of my toddler to fill the bean bags We made a make shift tube with an empty kitchen roll to fill them. It took a lot longer than if I waited until he was asleep but where is the fun in that?! They each weighed about 100g. Sew down the opening securely either with your machine or by hand using a slip stitch.
I used chick peas as they are big enough that they aren't likely to escape the bags but still small enough that they shouldn't cause any hazard if they do. Still always be careful and take away and fix any that start to leak.
17. You are ready to play! George is 2 so he makes up the rules as he goes along but here are the rules I thought up:
Players - 2-6
Split into teams red and blue.
Youngest player goes first. Standing at the foot of the game, try to get one of your beanbags in your own coloured number.
The other team now plays and so on until all the beanbags have been used.
Add up your score.
Take a step back and repeat! Keep going until you run out of space.