With Memorial Day just one week away, picnic season is upon us. Eating outdoors is my favorite summer activity. I’ve already pulled out my favorite warm-weather recipes, and I’m ready to dig into a new season of burgers and potato salad. To celebrate the holidays that mark summer’s beginning, middle, and end–Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day–I designed this set of red, white, and blue beanbags. They’re not only pretty; they’re practical too! You can use them to hold your tablecloth, napkins, and paper plates in place on breezy days. You can arrange them in a basket to make a simple centerpiece. You can even use them in a beanbag toss game. (They are beanbags, after all.)

I used three cotton prints to make my beanbags: a blue swirl pattern, a red-and-white floral, and a red polka-dot fabric. They’re embellished with red, white, and blue rickrack, and red-and-white gingham ribbon. You can, of course, use any ribbons or trims you have in your sewing stash. The instructions are quite straightforward, so I decided to explain the process with pictures, rather than words. To make each beanbag shown, just follow the corresponding diagram. Cut the fabric pieces to the sizes indicated. If you’re going to add ribbon or rickrack, do so before you sew the pieces together. When it’s time to sew, use a 1/4″ seam allowance. 

When the beanbag fronts are finished, pin each to a 4 1/2″ square of fabric in your desired print, right sides facing. Sew the pieces together, leaving an opening for turning, then fill the bag with dry rice (or another filler), and whipstitch closed.
Happy stitching–and happy picnic season!

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