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Apr 9

Mysterious baby grab ball

Below, I have a picture of a baby grab ball that I’ve had since I was little. It’s resurfaced now that I have a little guy of my own, and I have found myself a lot more interested in it than he has. I decided I had to figure out how to make one of these suckers, and I’d like to share my method with you. I’ve selected a bright, fun fabric that babies will enjoy. This would make a lovely gift. My mom tossed most of my baby stuff, but the grab ball stuck around for decades.


(Click fabrics for direct links for purchase at Warehouse Fabrics Inc.)

Kaleidoscope Wild - KAEWID

Terrace Wild - TEEWID


I had 1/4 yard of each of the fabrics. You’ll need a little batting to stuff the ball with.

The pattern

Grab ball pattern
Print out the PDF file above and cut out each piece. From your fabric, you’ll cute 12 of piece A and 24 of piece B. You can use different fabrics for A and B to add visual interest. You will use a quarter-inch seam throughout.

The process

This is the ball I’ve had since I was a baby. I found it really mysterious. Not when I had the tiny brain of a baby, but now. So I decided to decode this ball and build one of my own. By the way, if anyone knows of a different name these go by, please tell me in the comments.

This ball has an “eyeball” shape on the outer side (I’m sorry. That is the only description coming to mind.) and a more triangular shape on the sides, with a rounded edge that meets with the “eyeball” shape.

Stitch as shown in this photo. You’ll line up the curved edges of one A piece and one B piece. Stitch the curved edge. Add another B piece and stitch on the other curved edge of piece A. Now you have just the “triangle edge” of the B pieces open, so stitch as indicated in this diagram, leaving a hole to turn and stuff through. You will use a quarter-inch seam throughout.

NOTE: Make sure you start a quarter-inch from the points. See where the dots are in the diagram?

I know you are impressed by my high-tech diagrams and patterns. And my fancy terminology, like “eyeball shape.”

My camera card died on me after the first few steps of this tutorial. This picture is a camera phone pic, and I apologize for the crumminess. I lost the photos of the fabric pieces and the sewing how-to, so that’s why I made you a diagram (above).
New memory card. Yay! So, here, I’ve turned all of my pieces right-side out and stuffed them. Stuff ’em good and tight, ya hear?
Close up the open edge by turning the seam allowance in and stitching. I tried to do this by machine, but I just couldn’t because the stuffing prevented me from getting the seam under the presser foot.
So out comes the hand-sewing needle. Sigh. Slip stitch the openings shut.
All of my pieces are sewn now, and now we need to assemble the ball. the best thing is to buy some sort of heavy-duty thread. Or you could use embroidery floss. Why didn’t I think of that before? Well, I used regular thread, and so I waxed it for strength.
On the bottom right, you’ll see that I sewed four points together. On the bottom left, you’ll see what the other side looks like. I have gone through all of the triangle points with the thread, and after this picture, I pulled it tighter and secured it. So you’ll have two 4-piece units.
Now we’ll take the final four pieces and make them into a sort of circle.
I have sewn two more pieces together at the point and I’m going to join those points to one of the points on the big unit of four.
Here are two angles showing those two pieces joining the others. You’ll take those last four pieces and sew them at the points all the way around. These pictures show just two of the pieces, and we’ll keep going around.
Now we need to add the other 4-piece unit. Fit it together as seen at the right, and sew all the the points together at the intersections.


In action

  • Barbara Erwin

    Great idea! I quickly looked at instructions for this ball. How many hours would you guess it took to make? Thanks

  • admin

    Gosh, I don’t know because I spread it out over the course of a week. But probably three-ish.

  • Barbara Erwin

    I think you it sounds a little time consuming. Thanks for your help and idea!

  • I have made a few of these, what a great tut, mind if I share?

  • admin

    Not at all. I’d be honored.

  • Karen

    Did i miss something? I only see one pattern piece & you are saying attach A to B and then add another B. Where is the B pattern piece?

  • admin

    If you click on the pattern piece – a text link labeled “Grab Ball Pattern” under the header “The Pattern,” it brings up one page with two pieces, A & B on it. I just clicked it and found both pieces.

  • Sophie

    This looks so brilliant. I’m going to make one for my daughter and another for my cousin’s baby shower. eeeee I’m very excited about it. Thank you for the pattern.

  • strem

    I found your post and blog through pinterest. Thank you for writing out the instructions and documenting it with pictures so well. I made 3 of these yesterday in assembly line fashion… and I love them. I had seen them before but would have had no idea where to start without ripping one apart. These will be gifts for all of my friends who are expecting or just had babies.

  • smcbride

    I was scouring the internet this afternoon trying to find something to sew for a few different friends who are having babies. This is so cute and perfect for what I was looking for! So far, I’ve made one, with two more to go. Awesome tutorial, thanks so much for your hard work!

  • Anne

    I wonder if you could sew a couple bells inside the ball to give it a jingly noise as baby plays with it? Can’t wait to make one of these!

  • Robyn

    Yeah! That would be really neat. I hadn’t thought of it.

  • How much of each material do I need?

  • Robyn

    I just used scraps. It really wasn’t even measurable — just small irregular pieces! It hardly takes any fabric.

  • Mary

    I’m so happy to have come across your directions for this ball! I made one for my 1st born (36 yrs ago!), but lost the pattern ages ago. Now with grandkids coming, I wanted to make one for them. You have such great directions and photos! Thanks!!

  • Robyn

    I’m glad you found our tutorial, Mary! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Jan

    Made one of these today, in black and white, for our soon-to-be grandson. When you sewed the four piece to make the circle for the center, did you stitch along all the straight sides, just at the points or not at all? I sewed down each side but I wasn’t sure of the ball would have been a little more round if I hadn’t. I might try one without. Thanks for this great tutorial and pattern.

  • Robyn

    I think I did sew it in the middle a little bit, in addition to the points on either end. I have one of these from the early 1970s and it is held so securely even after all these years. I have to admit I did not do as good of a job sewing mine together! So I’d say the more the better.

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