After speaking with a friend recently, I began researching Montessori education and they start the kids young! Anyway, thanks to the info provided by How We Montessori, who started her child learning in the first month, I stitched up my first child’s toy (and his first Easter present). Here is the tutorial I used. When it said the final ball would be the same size as the original circle, my stitch nerd said, “But wait, you’re not adding seam allowances? How can that be?”
I used the bottom of my son’s formula can, and the ball is roughly the same size, and that’s without adding seam allowances! Craziness! This ball is great because the shape makes it easy for my son to grasp, its soft for chewing (at least he thinks so), it rolls pretty well, and its lightweight so he can carry it around and bash it into everything. I think the only improvement I would make is adding a sound element in the future.
Another change would be not to use white fabric for the petals! Duh, mom! Here is a more “quilter” style tutorial. I say that for 2 reasons: a) she uses a rotary cutter, which I do not have, and b) she has a sweet antique straight stitch machine in her pictures. I’m jealous! For mine I used an cereal box for the pattern paper and just traced off the rows of triangles and petals so they all fit on narrow strips of fabric, then used my scissors. Its a great scrappy project.
An interesting fact, in Brazil, toys from companies like Fisher Price and Baby Einstein are hard to find for less than R$ 50. Some toy sets can be over R$300, like the block set I was looking at. Montessori is also something that hasn’t been imported into Brazil. I have begun to read up about their education philosophy and am already planning several sewing projects to match his development in the near future, starting with a set of shapes/color blocks and fabric books. I’ll post the tutorials on those as well. Overall this project cost me nothing since I had the fabric in my stash, a ripped pillow the provided the stuffing, recycled cardboard, and thread I already owned. I just invested about 9.5 hours of crafting time. The hand stitching takes the longest and there is a lot of it!