My Niece had her birthday this week.  Last year we gave her My Neighbour Totoro.  She loves the movie and often talks about it.  She also loves beanbags.  I’ve been wanting to make a Totoro beanbag, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity!

I made the pattern from scratch, designing the approximate shape of the body, belly patch and base using this picture as a guide:


I initially intended to make the base round, but after thinking about it, decided to go for an ellipse.  This made it a bit harder to design the base, as I had originally gone with rearranging c = 2pi*r to find the radius of the circle that I would need, from the lengths of the bases of the four side panels.  But this doesn’t work for ellipses.

My friend, who I was visiting as I worked through this process found the equation for the axes of an ellipse.

perimeter formula

He also managed to rearrange it to make an ellipse with a 1:1.5 ratio and give me the lengths that I needed.  For this I was incredibly grateful, as I don’t really know where to start with the whole rearranging formulae thing unless the fit nicely into the wee triangle thingy that my physics teacher taught us at high-school.

Anyway.  To cut a long story short, this finished the inner bag, which was then filled with 2 bags of beans and sewed closed.  Filling the bag was incredibly messy until my friend came up with the genius idea of using an embroidery hoop to create a seal between the bag of beans and the bean-bag.  Legend!  It took about 2 minutes to empty both bags of beans into the fabric case… with no mess at all afterward!

Then came the outer.  This involved 3 side panels in grey plush, and a front panel with the top in grey and the bottom in white.  The eyes were made from three layers of cotton appliqued on using that awesome stuff I talked about in the last post.  I also had to use a cotton patch on the back of the plush fabric, as my machine didn’t respond well to the attempts to applique directly onto the plush.

The tummy marks were made from scraps of the side panel fabric, again interfaced on, with cotton patches on the back.

I was initially going to do arms, but it looked fine with just the ears.  So I left it at that.

Unfortunately, when I originally bought the materials to make the beanbag, I had planned on a circular base, so the zip that I had was shorter than the base of the beanbag.  This meant that trying to get the bag into the cover was significantly harder than I expected.  I ended up having to remove about 1/6th of the beans from the inner, squish the inner into the case and then refill the inner, without the benefit of the embroidery hoop (of which I have none and need to rectify at some point!).  This was a very messy process, but the Squid enjoyed it immensely.  Less so the cleaning up afterward.

Final outcome: a beanbag that had the Squid demanding one for herself, and my niece rolling around on it squealing with delight, then carrying it around the house for the next half hour, before establishing it in her bedroom.


3 thoughts on “Totoro!

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