Come over to Stitches and Love to see this tutorial updated with my new FREE ball pattern and tips! (I finally got around to creating a pdf of that pattern I said I'd create aaaaaages ago!)
Well I finished my first project since starting this blog and am very excited to tell you how it went. I have been planning to make some fabric balls for my boys for Christmas and wanted to make a trial ball to see how I liked the pattern and if it worked. Here's what I found. I will probably have to post a 'perfected' version of this tutorial at a later date. You will discover that I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times...I just like my sewing to be neat. Although other times, I just want something finished so am not as picky. :-)
PLEASE NOTE: This is quite a simple project but I have just explained lots of little things in detail to make sure it is nice and clear and to help you get good results. So don't freak out if you think it is a bit long!! Also, the photos are from my trial and I used fabric I didn't care too much about so they're not the prettiest. I will make sure I take more photos next time when I use my good fabric. :-)
I am always trying to improve my tutorials so PLEASE feel free to comment if you have any suggestions or if you simply like it! Thanks!
Fabric Ball Tutorial
- Fabric scraps of choice
- Sewing thread
- Bell/Rattle (optional)
1. Print out your template and cut it out. The template includes a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I used a free template from Grand Revival but am in the process of creating my own so I will post that at a later date. Here is the post from Grand Revival and here is the actual template.
2. Pin template to your fabric and cut out 6 segments. I chose to cut out 2 segments each of 3 different fabrics. To get a nicer shaped ball, cut the pieces on the bias (at a 45 degree angle to the grain of the fabric).
3. Arrange your pieces in the order you want them to appear around the ball. For example, I used teddies, green, blue, teddies, green, blue. Then pair them up starting at the beginning. Eg. teddies and green, blue and teddies, green and blue. Place each pair of segments with right sides together and pin ready to sew the seams. Stitch down 1 side of each pair using a 1/4 inch seam. Press all seams open. Clip a little of the excess seam allowance off carefully near the ends so that when you sew the pieces together, the point where each piece meets isn't too bulky.
4. Place 1 side each from 2 pairs right sides together and pin. Make sure you choose the correct segments so that the ball follows the pattern if you chose to do one. Also make sure you pay careful attention to make sure the existing seams match up if you would like the end of your ball to look neat and all seams to meet up at one point. This can be fiddly but is well worth it. Once you have it pinned in place, stitch the new seam. Again carefully cut away excess seam allowance at each end and press the seam open. You will now have 4 segments joined together like the picture below.
5. Using the same method as in step 4, pin and stitch the last pair of segments on to 1 side of the first 4. Don't forget to continue your pattern of fabric and carefully line up the existing seams before sewing. Cut away excess seam allowance at each end and press seam open.
6. Pin the last 2 sides together lining up the existing seam allowances. Leave about a 2 inch gap in the middle for stuffing. Cut away any bulk in the seam allowance at each end and turn ball out the right way. If you can manage it without ironing major creases into the rest of the ball, press the ends where each segment meets. This will help them sit flat and look neater. Also press the seam open so that the section that was left open for stuffing has a clearly defined edge for when you sew it up later. Don't worry if the point where all the segments meet isn't neat...you will find a solution for hiding this in step 8.
7. Stuff the ball with polyfill or other soft stuffing. I found that if you stuff it firmly, it keeps a nicer shape. If you want to include a bell or rattle, insert it into the middle of the stuffing keeping it at the centre. Then stitch up the opening. Be careful to stitch along the ironed edge to keep the seam even. Otherwise you will get a wonky line along this seam that is quite visible once the ball is finished.
8. If you didn't manage to get the segments to match up properly, you can cover each end with a circle of fabric hand stitched over the ends. You could also use buttons or stitch on small iron on patches. It isn't too hard to sew it up neatly though so don't give up if you don't get it the first time. :-)
So that's it! The finished ball. I wasn't 100% happy with the shape which is why I am now drafting my own modified shape thanks to my wonderful husband who can make 3D graphics on the computer and then make a flat net for me to use. :-D Hopefully that will help me get are better sphere. Despite that though, Max got a hold of it and absolutely LOVES it so it just goes to show it doesn't have to be perfect.