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!