These patchwork play balls are great handmade baby gifts. They’re bright and colorful and make a nice rattling sound when you roll them back and forth. This project is made with English Paper Piecing so it’s all sewn by hand. It’s easy enough to work on while watching a movie and it’s a great way to use up some pretty scraps.
Let’s get to it!
To make a patchwork ball you need:
- a variety of quilting cotton scraps (I used 6, a mix of prints and solids)
- all-purpose thread (white is fine)
- fiberfill stuffing
- a rattle insert
Go ahead an print two copies of the pentagon templates. Cut out the 12 pentagons. Now you’ll need to baste fabric to each pentagon. If you’ve never done English Paper Piecing, I highly recommend this video by Diane Gilleland on how to use paper templates to baste the fabric. It’s a very easy process! The only difference here is that we’re using pentagons instead of hexagons.
You’re going to make two pentagon flowers by attaching five petals to a center pentagon. Select one pentagon to be the center, then stitch a pentagon to each of it’s sides. For a symmetrical ball you can choose the same fabrics for both flowers, or just go crazy and make them totally different!
Sew up the seams between each pentagon. Look! Pretty flowers.
Leaving the papers in, place the two flowers on top of one another. They’ll fit together like a puzzle with the points of one pentagon fitting in the dip between two other pentagons.
It’s starting to look like a ball! Now continue whipstitching, attaching the pentagons to one another where they meet. Leave two lengths unsewn to create an opening for turning and stuffing. Remove the papers. Turn the ball right side out through the opening. Stuff the ball halfway. I’m a fan of using hemostats for stuffing.
Nestle a rattle insert in the stuffing in the center of the ball. Finish stuffing the ball. You want it to be firmly stuffed with no lumps or hollow spots. Ladder stitch the opening closed.
Ta da! Roll the ball and listen to the nice rattle.
Here are a few ideas to make these balls even more special:
- Choose some small scale “I Spy” prints and fussy cut each pentagon to feature the prints.
- Use one of the prints from the ball as the ear lining for a Baby Bear or as the fabric for a baby blanket.
- Shrink the pentagon template down by 50% and enlarge it by 150% to make balls in different sizes. (Small rattle inserts would be perfect for the smaller balls.)