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Big Soft Spheres by Susan Wasinger

Perfect for your budding superstar, these soft and squishy playthings are lovely to kick and roll and throw and catch and even just hug.

This tutorial is an exerpt from Susan Wasinger’s beautiful book:  Sewn by Hand.

Here is the tutorial:


scraps or fat quarters of light-weight
cotton prints (each ball requires
6 different prints)
heavy-duty thread
fabric scraps for stuffing
eco-friendly fill (see note under Fabrics)
bell or rattle (optional)


standard sewing basket
paper for template
washing machine/dryer
stiff brush (optional)


For the spheres: Since this will be used by a child, organic fabrics would be an excellent choice here. You really only need a few inches of each print, so raid your stash for suitable scraps.

For the stuffing: This is a great project to try eco-friendly fillings like those made of organic cotton, kapok, and bamboo.

Spheres in two sizes, 6 inches or 8 inches in diameter

Since these soft toys will be getting a lot of love and squeezing and maybe even a nibble or two, the stitching must be nice and tight to keep the stuffing safely on the inside. Use a small backstitch that has virtually no gaps to make it secure. For even more security, do a double row.

Portability factor: { pretty high }
Small pieces, very few notions, sew them anywhere, but leave the stuffing for home.

Prewash all the fabric for this project–very important! Cut out six of the pattern templates in the size you choose (click the image below to open an enlarged size and print the template for use).


The balls are most fun if each section of is a different fabric, so raid your deep stash! Try to position the template at a 45° angle to the grain of your fabric; this will give the best fray. Save all the cuttings and scraps (more on that later).

Wet each cut piece and rub it vigorously between the palms of your hands to rough up the edges as much as possible. Repeat the process until you see the edges start to fray. Once you have roughed up the edges on all the pieces, throw them in the dryer with something rough (like towels or jeans). This will help the edges really “bloom,” creating the soft, fuzzy fray that makes these balls so lovable. Continue the entire fraying process until you are happy with the amount of fray. You can see why it was so important to pre-wash your pieces–otherwise they might all have shrunk to different sizes through all this wetting and drying. Lightly iron your sections so they lay flat, but not so much that you squash the fuzzy edge.

Lay out your sections in a pleasing sequence, alternating dark and light, tone or pattern until you are happy with the effect. Remember that the pieces at the far left and far right will ultimately be adjacent to one another when the sphere is complete.

Lay the first two sections on top of the other with wrong sides facing. Pin then sew along one edge from point to point about ¼ inch or less from the edge, using a backstitch and heavyweight thread. Start and stop about ¼ inch from each point to leave room for the point of the adjacent piece. Knot your thread at the end of the stitching, but no need to cut it as you can use this same thread when sewing on the next piece.

Pin on the next piece to this first group, lining up the points, wrong sides together. Sew as before. Continue until you have attached all six pieces. Leave open the last seam for stuffing.

To give the ball a little more heft than just plain stuffing can provide, bundle some of the fabric scraps and maybe a jingle ball in a small square of scrap cotton.

Squeeze it together into a small ball, then tie off the top with a few stitches and a knotted thread. Wrap stuffing (I used bamboo fiber stuffing) around this bundle and stuff it inside your fabric sphere. Keep adding stuffing until the ball is round and firm. Make sure to work stuffing all around your bundle to keep it in the center of the ball. It is hard to over-stuff these spheres.

Pull the final two edges together and pin. You will need to compress the stuffing a bit to finish this seam, but it will spring back nicely. { photo 4 } Sew the final seam closed. Knot and bury the thread deep inside the ball. If necessary, you can tidy up the apexes of your sphere, where all six points meet, and close it off completely with a few little stitches.

Featured Stitches

Posted by Living Crafts on Jul 13, 2012 09:26 AM | 52 Comments

52 Responses to “Big Soft Spheres by Susan Wasinger”

  1. How cute are these!! Thanks for the tutorial. I just found your site today and it looks very nice. Thanks for all that you have and the hard work you do. Cathy
    I also mentioned you in my site as well:

  2. Kelly says:

    I want to make these for my grandchildren!!!!

  3. Meg says:

    Where is the template?

  4. Karina says:

    I’ve justadded sewing to mymcrafting repetoire, totally going to make one of thes balls for my 8 month old tonight! So, sorry sew cool! Hee hee

  5. Jen Degeneffe says:

    These are fun and easy handwork projects. Used this
    As an intro to hand stitching for my 9 year old.

  6. beth hartwell says:

    These are just perfect. Even the first graders could make them. I know some new babies that will be getting one.

  7. Carol Heier says:

    Those balls are so cute. Want to make some.

  8. Terri Secrist says:

    Wonderful project!

  9. em marx says:

    I love simple sewing projects and can’t wait to check out her book.

    Gandhi said: ” that because we work all day long (especially busy loving mothers and fathers) we must do something creative each day even for only 10 minutes as our Soul needs feeding through being creative!”

  10. Gail Shaffer says:

    Love the project. Would also like to see them done with a Christmas, Victorian, calico material and make them as tree ornaments. Or what about using the pattern to make pet ornaments with a stronger material. The possibilities!

  11. sara says:

    I love the shabby unfinished edges and I’m always looking for just one more item to whip up for those frequently needed handmade baby gifts.

  12. June Albright says:

    These are great- a fun way to use special fabrics. I have made them with the seams concealed, but I like the raw edges.

  13. Jusa says:

    I love these balls! I know just who needs one. A great way to make use of special scraps I’ve saved.

  14. Carmen Hambrick says:

    Nice idea, can’t wait to try it…

  15. Nancy Disbrow says:

    I want to make these with my Playgroup moms in the Autumn.
    I love the ornament idea; a wonderful holiday gift for my kindergarteners to stitch.
    Thank you!

  16. Gail says:

    Beautiful gift to make for my new one coming next month. So cute. Thanks!

    • David says:

      That is so cool that you give us these tips and do a lil handholding I LUV your mag and blog all of you that work so hard month after month to bring them to us .well, you i spire me!Thanks for all your hard work .

  17. Theresa says:

    This is wonderful. I’m going to make one for my new grand niece.

  18. Kelsey says:

    Love it! Making some for my little girl’s first birthday. But where is the actual template??

  19. Such a wonderful toy for the infant and toddler. No bumps and bruises. You could make these so very bright and cheery.

  20. Mutti says:

    Great idea and wonderful instructions! Thank you… and I will be making one for my 4 month old grandson who recently came to live with me. I should be able to finish it before he is ready for it… He is very into his toes right now!

  21. Nanette says:

    I am going to get busy and make several for my granddaughter as well as for some mommies I work with. Thanks for the great idea!!!!

  22. Ann Franks says:

    Will make wonderful gift for my new, 11 days old, granddaughter

  23. Nicole says:

    This is a lovely project to make with my students in the new school year, and could be a great “pay it forward” gift to a younger class in the school. Thanks!

  24. cat macri says:

    These look lovely! I think my 7 year old and I will make them for my 1 year old!

  25. Molli says:

    These are very cute! I make the 3-dimensional ones.

  26. Jackie McConnell says:

    Can’t wait to get started, but can’t find the template mentioned in the instructions.

  27. Linda says:

    These look like fun to make as well as play with!

  28. Amber says:

    These are so cute and would perfect gifts! Is the template posted somewhere else?

  29. Terri Sue says:

    I can’t tell if you read your comments or not. At this point I would say no you don’t. Several people have asked if there was a template, where to find the template, etc. Yet you have not felt it worth your bother to answer them. I find that rude. I also would like the template. We are celebrating my grandson’s 1st birthday this weekend and when i came to get the directions i found there was no template. I think this is pretty shoddy on your part.

  30. Barbara Lavell says:

    Wonderful project – I can’t wait to make them for my great-grandchildren & great-nephews/nieces. I, too, would like a template altho I’m thinking it wouldn’t be hard to make one up myself.

  31. Amber Anthony says:

    I would love to learn how to do this!

  32. Tara Jansen says:

    Fantastic Projects!

  33. andrea says:

    Great project and give away. I have a ball pattern much like this but the seams are missing… I like the “rawness” of this one better!

  34. Living Crafts says:

    Thank you all who left a comment. We are working on giving you the actual pattern. best, pardis

  35. jean says:

    Just wrote to the editorial dept. and got a quick reply. They are having problems opening the file from the publisher, and are unable to show the pattern at the moment. They are working on it though–should be ready soon!!

  36. Linda Ball says:

    Thanks for the toot! Very pretty project!

  37. Christine says:

    This is a beautiful gift for a child…….

  38. tina says:

    These balls are so cute and interesting. I think any baby would love to play with them.

  39. laurie says:

    I really hope to have kids make these in classs.

  40. Mellany says:

    Such a sweet a lovely way to use up extra material that you have available.

  41. lynn says:

    Any word yet on where to get the pattern to download?

  42. Pam Schilling says:

    Love the pattern. Have made an Amish style ball for my granddaughter and these would be a wonderful way to begin her sewing lessons! She’s 4 and wants to copy everything I do!

  43. Lili says:

    Such a wonderful, nostalgic look! A good way to use those vintage cottons from the 30′s!

  44. Michelle says:

    Sweet gifts for those frequently needed new baby presents!

  45. Cathy Kent says:

    Cool ideas to make gifts for people

  46. jeanne says:

    Just in time to think of making Christmas presents.

  47. Kelly M says:


  48. annalouiza says:

    This is right for us!!!

  49. Mekenzie says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing and for the opportunity to enjoy this book! Blessings

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