Ages ago I bought some lovely fabric from the marvellous M is For Make with the intention of sewing baby toys. This gorgeous fabric has sat washed for months waiting to be utilised and finally at the start of my maternity leave I got round to using it!
Sewing baby toys appealed to me, firstly because it seemed fun and a lot of the baby toys you can buy are expensive and all very similar. Secondly, I wanted to improve my sewing skills, mainly the accuracy of my cutting, which is shocking and also the accuracy of my sewing which is probably just as bad!
I chose Purl Soho’s Fabric Beach Ball pattern for my first project and decided to make the medium size. When I bought the fabric I had clear ideas about how it was all going to fit together, but then once the fabric arrived this all changed!
As a side note, I had AMAZING customer service from Kate at M is For Make, who helped me choose the fabrics to make sure I had exactly what I wanted. I LOVE the fabric from this retailer! I’m always ogling the merchandise so to speak, but as I’m not a very confident sewer I’m never sure what I’d use the fabric for!
To make the balls you need to download the pattern (which is free), print and cut out your desired size and then cut out eight pieces of fabric. You then pair these up according to how you want to alternate the fabric on the ball, pin together right sides facing and then sew down one edge. The pattern suggests chain sewing these together, but I couldn’t get this to work so just sewed each pair individually. You essentially repeat this until you have two half spheres of fabric and then sew these together, leaving a gap to pull the fabric through and then stuff.
I found this project fairly easy and straight forward, although I had issues with how my points all met on one end, and ended up having to hand sew some of the points together. I think the reason for this is that the pattern tells you not to back sew to secure the stitches, but I think as I deviated from the suggested technique, once some pressure was applied to the stitches they came undone! The gap that I left was also WAY too big and I should have made this smaller. I was rubbish at taking photos of this project during the make, but you can see here the ugly scar of my hand stitching to close the gap up! The other end of the ball was actually fairly neat and I’m quite proud of that.
I also deviated from the instructions for the two circles at each end of the ball. You were meant to fold over and iron the edge of the circles and sew into place. I couldn’t get this to work for me so I ended up sewing two circles together and then hand stitching the circles on.
This project has been really good for me. I managed to finish it in a few hours, and got everything apart from the end circles done in one afternoon. It has helped me with my cutting and sewing accuracy and has given me confidence in my basic sewing skills. I’ve had a chance to work on my hand sewing and I’m actually fairly happy with the finished results. It is a bit rough around the edges, and the shape is definitely not perfect, but it rolls (hurrah!) and its soft and squidgy, so hopefully the baby will think it’s perfect!
There will be more baby sewing projects coming up so keep your eyes peeled and if you have any suggestions for me about how to improve my sewing I’d love to hear them!