One of the best parts of the holidays is once all the presents are opened there is lots of family downtime. No really, I mean that! My family is great! Coming from a crafty family, downtime can mean getting out the sewing machine. (We really know how to party.) And a couple of days after Christmas, I got to work with my mom on making baby balls for some of the new arrivals in my life.

I am not sure who first discovered the pattern for these balls, but I know my grandmother made them for many years before passing on the secret. I watched Mom make them for years, so it was so much fun to make one with her.

These colorful toys are perfect for grabbing with tiny fingers and mouths, but are fairly cheap and simple to make once you get the hang of it.

To print the pattern or learn how to create your own, go here.

Begin by tracing and cutting out 24 triangles and 12 ovals from your fabric.

These are my mother’s lovely hands. One of the best things about crafting with others is picking up tips and tricks, along with what should be some obvious techniques. This time I learned that it is much easier to trace onto the light-colored back of the fabric than the patterned front. I guess that is probably obvious to most people, but it never occurred to me. Thanks, Mom!

With a little careful placement, a seven inch ball can be made out of a fat quarter. I would suggest using contrasting fabrics to make the ball more visually interesting, so two fat quarters could make two complementary balls with the tops and sides interchanged.

Cut out the triangles and ovals.

With right sides together, align the rounded edges of a triangle and an oval and sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Repeat for all 12 ovals.

Align a second triangle along the rounded ends and straight sides and pin. Folding the oval in half can help.

With a quarter inch seam allowance, sew along all three sides to create a pyramid. Leave about a half inch open near the point.

Repeat for all twelve triangles.

Confession: Sewing these triangles together requires quite a bit more fudging than the above pictures make it seem. Most of my triangles look more like this.

And I use this a lot.

And this a little.

Once all twelve triangles are sewn, turn them right side out and stuff.

Sew the stuffed triangles closed with a whipstitch. This can be a messy process… no worries about Frankenstein seams. We will hide them all later.

Once all 12 triangles are stuffed and sewn together, it is time to start connecting them.

Begin by sewing two triangles together at the point of the oval shapes. Be sure to stitch neatly and firmly.

Attach a third triangle point-to-point to create a line of three triangles. Fold the string of triangles, and attach the two end points together. This creates the first of four cones.

Roughly tack the loose tips of the triangles (the orange ends for my ball). Once again, these won’t be visible when the ball is fully assembled so there are no points for neatness.

Complete all four cones. Sew two cones together at a their intersecting points.

Tack the back (orange) ends again. Repeat for the other two cones. This gives you two X-like shapes.

With the two inside faces (in this case the orange sides) together, rotate one of the X’s 90 degrees. Match up the remaining triangle intersections so that four ovals create an X at all points.

If you are a really together crafter, you can secure these corners with a safety pin. But if you are me, you can’t find safety pins anywhere and you can use bobby pins to hold the points together.

Secure those corners to complete the ball!

Looks great….I need to make two so far….let me know if you know of any others I need to make.

Thank you! I’ve been wishing for a pattern for these for many years. I’m tickled to have come across one at last.

Nice job!

Thanks for the tutorial! I love that you tell us where the Frankenstein seams are okay. 😀

What are the dimensions of the pieces?

Although, I usually like my balls to be about six inches in diameter, you may make the pieces any size you like. I have included instructions on how to make the templates in the “Making the Rounds” blog post.

Thanks!

Thank you for this great tutorial! This was just what I needed for a gift for my Little Man. I mentioned my ball and your tutorial in my blog post – http://scrivnerburg.blogspot.com/2012/06/busy-weekend-in-scrivnerburg.html

Thanks…my twin grand daughters received these as a present and loved them. Now that I found your tutorial I have begun making them for presents!!

[…] pattern or instructions I followed can be found on this blog. They were quite well explained, going into enough detail that if you’re not a frequent […]

I just finished making this and I’m so happy with it! Your instructions were fantastic. I put two bells in mine, although the sound is a little muffled so I’m not sure how to combat that. But thank you for the awesome and easy to follow instructions with loads of pictures 🙂

Loved your tutorial! The pictures were very helpful and the humor makes it even easier to tackle! (My husband wants to know if you use the beer once in a “blue moon”. I’m noticing the fine points of sewing one together; he’s noticing beer brands!)

I got to the two X-like pieces and I can’t figure out the rest. I can’t see how to get from the picture of two pieces to one. I can’t tell what to rotate. Help!!!!

Hi Emily. If you place the two halves with the orange sides together, you will need to rotate one of the halves 90 degrees. Essentially, if you look at the picture the “oval” that bridges across the top of the “X” on the right should form a triangle with one side of the “X” on the left and the bottom piece forms a triangle with the other side of that “X”.

I hope that helps. If not, let me know and I will see if I can get a video posted. Thanks!

Hi,

Somehow I got the pieces together to form a ball, so I no longer have the two halves to try your new instructions. Thank you for responding.

Emily

Thank you so much for this pattern I have seen them around for years but no pattern. After waiting 11years for a grand baby I can now make them too! Have the fabric and stuffing already. With your directions for the template who needs a pattern. I hope I can do the center joining okay. You mentioned Frankenstein seams. It’s near Halloween. I may call these boo balls for a few little friends. Again many thanks

Carolyn

Years ago we made a lot of these clutch balls and I still have the pattern pieces, so I just needed to know the number of sections (12). Thanks. We cut the triangle pieces on a fold (1/2 circle). It worked fine. Your method might be a little easier for some people.