Woodstock London - 07 Oct 2020
Amish Puzzle Ball
These Amish Puzzle balls are so intricate and fun and actually deceptively simple to make. They are perfect for little hands to grasp and fun for older kids to take apart and put back together. They’re also just really pretty objects!
You can really play around with print combinations and all the lovely Palava colours and patterns. I’ve used the cotton here in Beep Beep as my son loves it so much, spotting the zebras and cars while he’s holding the ball, but you can also use a thicker fabric like a wool, felt or cord.
TO MAKE YOUR OWN YOU WILL NEED
• A bowl or plate (the one I’ve used has a diameter of 15cm)
• Two contrasting fabrics or more if you wish
• Machine thread
• Matching embroidery thread
• Stuffing for the inside
1. First step is to draw around the bowl. Best bet is not to start with too small a bowl, as it will just get fiddlier. This one was perfect with 15cm in diameter, and the finished ball comes out roughly the same size. Draw around the bowl on the reverse of your fabric six times. Then cut the circles into quarters so you have 24 pieces. These are for the inner sections, the striped pieces in this example.
2. Now trace the curved edge of this piece and match it with a mirror image to create an almond shape, which will be your pattern for the outside sections.
3. Cut 12 of the almond shapes
4. Next, lay the almond shape over one of the quarter pieces, right sides together, matching the curved edges. It’s not really necessary to pin but it might help. Sew this a foot's width from the edge, I use a 7mm guide but 1cm from the edge is more the standard. Don’t sew right to the end on either side, leave the same distance to the edge
5. Take another quarter piece and sew the curve of that to the other side of the almond. Making sure the right sides of both quarters are facing each other
6. Now fold the almond in half long ways and sew the straight edges of the quarter leaving a gap so you can put the stuffing through, wide enough to fit your fingers into.
7. Trim the excess from the corners and slit the curve so it flattens nicely when it’s turned out. Press the seams and it’s ready to stuff
8. Little by little add the stuffing until the quadrant is nice and puffy and quite solid. Finish up the piece by hand stitching the gap with a slip stitch in a matching thread
9. Repeat x 11 for 12 total pieces
10. Now, take four of your quarter pieces and sew the outer corners but leave the middle points free. I did a few secure stitches with an embroidery thread split down to 3 strands in an accent colour. Don’t stitch too tightly or too loosely
11. For your second set of four, sew the outside points as before, but then also the middle points of opposing inner corners.
12. Lastly, sew all outside points as the other two sections and all the middle points together too
13. Now the fun bit! Take the section you put together last as the inner section of the ball. Over this put the previous section with the mouth-like opening. Lastly take the section that has loose points in the centre and put it over the ball but in the opposite way. So that the almond shapes sit horizontally and tuck the points towards the centre of the ball so they sit in the gaps. It’s snug, but sits nicely once in place and it makes a really robust structure for little people to go wild with!
To make it extra pretty you can try making the almond sections in three different prints, using one print for the outer pieces of each layer is really effective.