May 10, 2009

Montessori Infant Ball

I spent the weekend sewing. Not my usual pastime, but I had a lot of fun and I am very proud of the results. The impetus, was the birth over the last month of three new babies into our Montessori community. It has become a sort of tradition for me to make one of these balls for each new baby born to a Montessori family.

I thought to include photos of each step in case any of you are inclined to whip out your sewing machines!

The first step - of which I have no picture (sorry!) - is to make your paper pattern. Draw a circle (roughly the size of the ball you want to end up with) and fold it into quarters. Cut out the quarters. One will form the piece below (you need 24 of these)

Then take another quarter and trace the arc of the circle as a mirror image to form the other shape you need: (you need 12 of these)
Now take the eye-shaped piece and sew it to one of the pie-shaped pieces:
Now fold the pie-shaped piece back to expose the right-side of the eye-shaped piece:
Now lay another pie-shaped piece face down on top and sew to the other edge of the eye-shaped piece:
Now bend the eye-shaped piece in half:
Sew the edges about 3/4 of the way down - backstitching to about 1/2 of the way down:
Now turn the right way out and stuff (I stuff quite firmly but not all the way to opening). You should end up with 12 of these:

Now sew three of them together by the points. Try to make these joins as strong as you can - I double my thread and sew several times through the same spot:

When you have joined all 12 pieces in groups of 3, tie two groups together with embroidery floss in the corners. Keep tying until all the possible points are joined to another point:

You end up with a ball looking like this. Trim the threads (or sew them into the ball if you don't want them showing) and the ball is done. You can sew a small bell into the centre of the ball for the added dimension of sound. Or you can put a loop of ribbon on for hanging.

I made two others (two for little girls and one for a little boy).


  1. Thank you for the pictures, but what about the conference?
    Enormously curious!

    Maria in cold Sweden

  2. Thank you so much for your tutorial. I have been looking all over for a pattern to make this ball. My 5-month-old is nearly up on his knees and looks like he's ready for this :)
    So happy to have stumbled across your blog. Fabulous!

  3. Great job ! Great results !
    Thanks a lot for sharing this !

  4. I just made these from your pattern. Thanks for the inspiration. It took me a while to 'get' the pattern. They were a lot harder than I expected but worth the effort. Thanks. You have a lovely site. I am at in snowy NH.

  5. thank you so much for sharing this "precious material".... i always wished there could be a way to learn how make it... and i found your website.
    amazing work you are doing.

  6. Thank you for the super clear and very easy to follow instructions. I am going to link to this awesome tutorial on my blog!

  7. I have just made one of these for my Grandaughter. I cut 6 circles, and 9 oval segments, but did not cut the circles into pieces. divide the circles into 3, sew the segments to the circles, matching
    seams carefully and leaving a gap for stuffing later. Sew another circle to the other side. turn to the right side and sew from each segment to the centre of the circle Make 2 more circle segments, then stuff each piece firmly. using strong thread attach the three shapes in the middle, then each segment to its adjoining segment. Good luck I hope that this makes sense.