09 June 2012


That's a fun title. Quite a long while ago I came across a great tutorial on purl bee for beach balls. When I couldn't shake my psycho nesting phase, I made several. Starting with one for my baby girl for Easter that year. It sort of snowballed from there into a ball for all of our sibling's kids, then friends that had babies, then neighbors that had babies. It has gotten to the point of no return. People probably expect, or at least hope for a ball from me when they have a baby. I'm actually ok with it though because it takes very little fabric, it's a homemade gift that can be personalized with the baby's nursery colors, and it really doesn't take too long. Provided I don't have kids at my heels while sewing. So... it actually takes double the time that it should because when do I ever have no kids at my heels while sewing?

P.S. Don't stick a needle (the one you did the hand stitching with) in the completed ball. I did that once, just for a moment and oops, it went in and I couldn't get it back out without opening the ball up. I got it out, but nothing says, "we're not really friends" like a sharp object inside of a baby's toy. Not the best gift.

I use Purl's template for the medium ball and I pretty much do the rest on my own. Their tutorial is great, but after, what... 24 balls, I've come up with my own tricks and short cuts.

1. First of all, after I cut two pieces for each of the four fabrics, I lay the pieces out to determine the best pattern on the ball. If you create a flat flower with them (face up), I make sure that each pattern's twin is directly across from it.

2. Then I flip the one from the right on top of the one on left, and pin on the right side (that's the edge that I sew). This ensures each pair is "right sides together".

3. I don't chain sew, I probably should, but I don't have experience there so I just sew the pinned side corner to corner, 1/8" from the edge. Then iron the seams.

4. I sew each pair and put it back in it's place so I don't mix up the patterns in the end. Then iron the seams.

5. I sew two sets together to create two bowls, making sure that I don't repeat any of the patterns within one bowl. Then iron the seams.

6. Then I put the two bowls right sides together (make sure that the end fabrics aren't repeated). I match up the top corners first and pin about 1/2" to the right, then 1/2" to the left, that will be the opening. Then pin all the way around the bowl.

7. When sewing the bowl, I start at the top right pin and sew all the way around to the top left pin leaving about 1 1/4" opening at the top (I like the opening at the top because the end cap covers my bad hand sewing job ;)

8. After the ball is sewn, turn it inside out, stuff it, and add a jingle bell.

9. This is another place where I have veered from Purl's tutorial. They use solid fabric for the end caps. I find wool felt to be so much easier and I like the look of it. Cut 2" felt circles. I have found that a tomato paste can is a perfect size. I cut carefully inside my sharpie lines.

10. Hand sew the top opening and then the end caps to each end.

Total time it takes to make a ball: 1 hour if there are no kids at your heels. With kids, about 2 hours to all day.

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