It was not an exact science putting it together and it is not a perfect sphere but Its simple and My little boy loves his.Even now he still kicks it round our living room.
I'm now making one for my Little girl in the same way.
I'm not the best at sewing and I don't own a sewing machine. I was even worse when I made Lucas' I only knew three stitches at the time Back stitch, running stitch and over stitch so thats all the "skill" you will need to make it.
The lettering is obviously not required for it to work as a ball, I admit I got brave with that and i could have quite easily made a real mess of it. I had small iron on Butterflies I had bought on stand by if it needed unpicking again.
Tools You Will Need
- Scraps of fabric
- Tape measure
- Fabric Pencil
- Needle and Cotton
- Pins + Safety pins
- Embroidery cotton or Top Stitch various colours (basically a thicker cotton for over stitching the seams and lettering)
- Old shirt or scrappy fabric plain and pale in colour
Step 1: Getting Started
First take the scraps of fabric and lay them out in the order you want them on your ball, If you are using stretchy fabrics I suggest you place them between rigid fabric else when its stuffed it might not hold its shape so well.
If you are lucky enough to have a Toddler living with you I suggest you do this after they have gone to bed, I made the mistake of trying it when he was up, It was made impossible by the attempts to help me (aka wear the pieces of fabric on his head.)
The shortest length you are using will determine the size of the ball, In my case it was the pink swirly piece third from the right, It measured just over 10 inches in length, This means you need enough strips for a circumference of 21 inches. I laid them out like on the image and ran a tape over it to be sure there was enough fabric,
You will need a couple of pieces wide enough to cut the circular end pieces out of.
In fairness if some of the pieces are a little longer it doesn't really matter because the ends will be covered by the top and bottom peices.
Step 2: Cutting Out the Segments
Once you have found the length you need the other pieces to be you can set too folding the fabric in half and drawing the segments, This is a half a pointy lemon shape I drew my segments free hand to use the full width of the narrow pieces,it doesn't seem to matter to much if they are not perfect so long as the point is in the middle of the fabric and its some what symmetrical. Any that I had cut that were not quite right I found I could correct at the sewing stage by following the line of the other piece I was sewing to it instead.
Large pieces of fabric I saved till the end so I could be sure to cut wide enough pieces to finish my ball. Note that it can be completed with just lots of narrow strips.
Once you have draw the half segments they just need cutting out while the fabric is still folded and should fold out to create one segment.
Step 3: Checking Dimentions
At this point its good to check you're happy with the order (I had to alter mine from its original order two of the peices were going to be to difficult for me to sew together) Then make sure that there is enough peices.
I found the easyest way is to lay a tape down and lay them on top, You need to allow for the seams and the over stitching,I over lapped them by about 3/4 inches till I had got to 21 inches,
Step 4: Assembling the Body of the Ball (Part 1)
Take your first two pieces (its best to start with one of the widest pieces I found this out the hard way) and lay them with the fronts of the fabrics facing each other and pin, Because my little boy gets so interested by anything I am trying to make and I didn't want to risk any injury when I was stitching them together in the day time I used safety pins to pin the pieces together.
I used back stitch to sew the pieces together. Stop half an inch or so from each end because the top and bottom pieces will hide it, This too leaves the hole for stuffing it later.
Then take the next piece and pin that to the smaller one of the two you just stitched, again fronts of the fabrics facing, I say this again because the amount of times I started to stitch with one facing the wrong way was ridiculous. Stitch them together like before.
Keep going stitching the next piece each time.
Step 5: Assembling the Body of the Ball (Part 2)
Now take the first and last peices of your ball and pin them together to close the open edge,
At this point if you turn the ball the right way round you can see the shape that your ball will be, if it is looking too much like a rugby ball for your liking then you can cut and add another strip as you have all the rest and add it too it. Or if its to much of a sqaushed pumpkin trim the end pieces down,
Once you are happy with the shape of the ball turn it inside out again and stitch it together.
Step 6: Over Stitching the Seams
Turn the ball the right way out again. To add more texture, colour and shape to the ball push the seames out till the cotton you stitched it with is showing and pin them so you can over stitch them.
I used a thicker cotton for this, In various bright colours,
I also used a fair few plasters as the needle made my middle finger sore where I push it through, I would have used less But my little boy kept trying to steal them off my finger because they had monkeys on them. I have ordered a thimble now. :)
Step 7: Making the Top and Bottom Pieces
You now need the top and bottom bits for the ball
Pin one of the ends of the ball closed with a safety pin by pushing it through each of the segmaents in order. Stuff it loosely to give it shape,Then pin the other end.
You should be able to see now what sort of size end pieces you need to cover the holes at the ends, They both need to be the same size so base it on the largest one required.
Draw the circle onto the back of your fabric. I just drew round a cup that was the right size.Then place it face down onto the size size bit of Old shirt/scrappy fabric and pin, Stitch along the line, You can do this with just a running stitch, small stitches work better to keep its shape,(leave a gap of about half an inch to be able to turn it the right way round.)
When you have done cut round it and turn it the right way out. Now its ready to go.
Do another just the same.
Step 8: Attaching the Top and Bottom Pieces
Pin the bottom peice to the ball leaving the safety pin in the end of the ball underneath it.(you remove this in a bit)
To stitch the bottom peice on is a little fiddly its an over stitch the same as the seams but you need to pinch the fabric on the ball together with the bottom peice to stitch it, you may need to remove some of the stuffing to make it a little easyer,
When more than half is stitched on you can remove the safety pin from underneath, If you remove it before then It can sometimes make the ends of the ball a funny shape or the top and bottom pieces end up to one side.
Don't forget to remove the safety pin.
Finish sewing the bottom piece on.
Then take the pin off the other end briefly and push the stuffing down into stitched bottom end you should be able to push it through the hole in the end of the ball to fill out the bottom piece and give it a bit more shape,
Pin the top piece on the same ready for the next step
Step 9: Stuffing and Finishing the Ball
Stitch this one on the same, after you have removed the safety pin carry on stitching, Keep going until you have just an inch or so left to stitch at this point you need to finish stuffing the ball.
You can put in as much as you think, I stuffed my Little boys so it was still quite soft. Playing with it as much as he has and a few swims round in the washing machine has made it softer it feels quite baggy now. I have stuffed Devons so that it is more ridgid now but will soften up in time.
Once its stuffed it makes that last bit of the top piece difficult to sew up so the smaller it is the better.
Step 10: Lettering (Optional)
The lettering I just drew on, I tend to work alot by eye and so I didn't measure it but obviously you can measure it out to get the spacing.
Then I used a chequered chain stitch to stitch over the lines, But you could do it with any stitch as fancy or as simple as you like.
Step 11: Completion
So thats it finished, ready to be enjoyed and played with.(Sat on stood on covered in food)
This is my first Instructable I and all comments / suggestions would be much appreciated.