Monday, May 7, 2012

How-to: Make a Baby Rattle Tag Ball

Well, another week has gone by and I THINK little Bolt is finally trying to adjust to his new apartment life. It's not life in the country running wild but it's not a chain-link, concrete-floored kennel with 2 other dogs either. Yesterday I got like 4-5 hours of sewing done in the morning, and a nap, and well, then I ran errands and came home to a toxic mess in his crate (not pictured due to the disgustingness). He's going to the vet on Monday to see if he has worms or a stomach bug.

Other than that, which really isn't his fault, he's getting along swimmingly in his new home. He and big brother Trace are getting along better and better, and I think Trace is really glad to have a new playmate. I am breathing a sigh of relief about that one!

I finally figured out a way to get a PDF of a template online, so today I'm posting the long-awaited Baby Rattle Tag Ball. This ball is soft and has many features that babies like. You can use any type of fabric, for my first one I used three different peach-colored fabric scraps (about 8" square should be plenty- you'll need 2 pattern pieces to each fabric, 6 football shapes in all) to make a soft motif for the ball.

A second feature of the ball is the ribbon tags-- you can use scrap ribbon in any bright colors and a variety of textures and sizes is best for attracting the baby's attention.

The third feature, of course, is the hidden rattle that makes a fun sound for baby's ears while she plays with the ball. I'll show you how to embed the rattle so that it is not a choking hazard if the ball should ever come apart. You will need another short strip of scrap fabric, and a medium sized jingle bell that you can get in a package at the craft store year-round.

First, you'll need the template for the ball which you can download and then print out. Once you have the template cut out, here are the instructions for making the ball.  Here is a list of other things you will need:

  • 3-6 different fabric scraps, about 8" square
  • coordinating thread
  • jingle bell
  • short strip of scrap fabric, about 1"x3"
  • fiberfill stuffing
  • many different scraps of ribbon, about 2" long

1. Trace the template, allowing for a 3/8-inch seam allowance around each one, six times onto as many as six different fabric scraps. (Coordinating colors in your fabric is both fun and leads to a more pleasing result.)
Cut out the pieces.

2. Placing right sides together, sew two pieces together along one side of the "football."

3. Open the two joined pieces, then take a third piece and three or four ribbon scraps. Fold the ribbons in half so that short ends of the ribbon are touching, forming a loop. Tuck loop in between right sides of the third piece and one of the first two pieces, aligning raw edges of pieces. Pin ribbons in place so that 1/2" or so of ribbon loop is in between right sides of the pieces. Sew it along this edge. This creates 3 joined pieces, or half of the ball.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other half of the ball.

4. Open each of the halves, and place them right sides together, aligning raw edges on one side. Be sure that "ribbon seams" are spaced evenly from this seam, and pin three or four scraps of ribbon as before along this edge. Sew this side together. 

5. Leaving right sides of all six pieces to the inside of the ball, align the raw edges of the final side and sew, leaving 1-2 inches open for stuffing and turning.

6. Take the jingle bell and hand-sew it to the short strip of scrap of fabric, making many passes through both bell and fabric so that it is nice and secure. 

7. Hand-sew the other end of the scrap to the inside of the ball, using matching thread to the outside of the ball. Again, make many passes through both fabrics so that it is tightly sewn on and knotted. Then turn ball right-side out.

8. Stuff the ball with craft fiberfill stuffing that can be purchased at a craft store or sewing shop. Stuff to desired fullness and whip-stitch opening closed.

Voila! You now have a tagged, soft rattle ball for your baby!


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