Happy Halloween Everyone! I hope your October is going well! If you’re still in need of a quick, easy, inexpensive costume, check out this soccer ball tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions! ****Scroll Down for more pictures and variations*****
*Materials Needed: 1 yard 72-inch white felt, 1/2 yard black felt, 4 inches black or white 1-inch braided elastic, white thread, black thread, poly-fil
1. Figure out how big you want the ball part of the costume to be, i.e the diameter of the ball. You want it to be a little wider than your child’s waist, but not so long that he can’t walk or go to the bathroom/get his diaper changed. I measured my son from about his shoulders to his hip bone, which was 11.5 inches.
2. Figure out the circumference of your ball based on the diameter you measured. I used the circumference calculator at http://www.athropolis.ca/popup/c-circ2.htm and got 36.1 inches.
Divide this number by 8 (the number of sections your ball will have) and by 2 (the halves of your ball). For me, this was 4.5 inches and 18 inches.
3. Add 1 inch to each of these figures to account for 1/2 inch seam allowances on each side. Use this to draft your pattern on whatever paper you have — pattern paper, newspaper, grocery sack paper, whatever. Draw a line the length of your first, larger calculation (which for me was 19 inches) and another line the length of your second, smaller calculation (which for me was 5.5 inches) crossing the first line at its center. Connect the end points of the line to make a long petal shape. Make sure your curves are clean so your ball will be nice and round. You can just draw one half or even one quarter of your pattern and then fold it over to do the rest so it will be symmetrical.
4. Draft the pattern for the back of the ball halves which will rest against your child’s body. Take your original diameter, add 1 inch to account for seam allowances, and draw a circle with that diameter. I did this by just drawing a bunch of diameters and connecting them.
5. Now cut out your felt. Cut 8 of the petal-shaped pieces and two of the circles. Also cut a few strips of white felt about 2 by 7 or 8 inches wide for the shoulders of your costume. Set the circles and strips aside for later.
6. Put the petal sections together in sets of two, and pin them along one of their long sides. You should have 4 sets of two petals pinned together.
7. Sew the sides you have pinned using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
8. Open up the sets. You should now have four pieces instead of eight. Again, sandwich and pin pin the sets together along one long side, right sides facing (the seam allowances should be facing out with the pretty side on the inside of the sandwich. When you do this, one set sort of “nests” inside the other) . You should now have two sets that each have four of your original petal pieces in them.
9. Stitch along the sides you have pinned. If you can, try to start at the point where your previous stitching starts (you’ll see what I mean when you have the pieces pinned together. All of the stitching for the balls will start at one point at the top, and continue to one point at the bottom) and stop where your previous stitching stops.
10. Open up the two pieces of your ball. One of them will be for the front, and one of them will be for the back. Now it’s time to decorate them. Print out or trace an image of a pentagon and use it for your pattern. I used 12 pentagons for my son’s soccer ball, but a bigger costume will need more. Arrange them how you like on both halves of the ball (google a picture of a soccer ball if you need help, or consult your kid’s) and attach them however you choose. I pinned mine and then sewed around them using a 1/8 inch allowance. However, you can also hot-glue them on (use a bunch of hot glue since this costume might get a beating) or use fusible interfacing (I think this might be the fastest method — fusible interfacing is around .99 cents a yard and comes with instructions on the back).
11. Once you’re done putting the pentagons on, you’re ready to put the whole thing together. First, take one of your circles and lay it on your child’s chest where you want the ball to sit on his body. Arrange the shoulder strips you cut earlier so that they go over his shoulder like the shoulder parts of a tank top. Now, fold them in so that their raw edge is aligned with the raw edge of the circle and their other raw edge is pointing towards the middle of the circle. Pin them there.
12. Cut two lengths of elastic about two inches each. Lay them on the circle where you want the two sides of the balls to connect under your child’s arm a little over halfway from the top of the circle. Then, like you did with the shoulder strips, turn them so that they are inside the circle. Pin.
13. Now, invert the decorated half of your soccer ball so that it looks like a bowl with black pentagons on the inside (Make SURE they are on the inside of your bowl, otherwise your soccer ball will be wrong-side-out). Lay the circle with the strips and elastic on top of your bowl, like a lid, with the side with the arm strips and elastic facing DOWN into the inside of your bowl. Whenever you are sewing this costume, all the attachments are going to be inside your “bowl.” Check periodically to make sure; if they’re not, your ball will be inside out! Pin the lid to your bowl. It helps to work by pinning at the top, then putting a pin across from that pin, then picking another point and pinning across from it rather than working your way around.
14. Sew all the way around your circle, leaving about a 2 inch opening on one side. Make sure this opening doesn’t have any part of the elastic or shoulder strips in it. You want those securely sewn into your seam.
15. Now, Turn your soccer-ball costume half right side out by reaching into the opening you left, grabbing a piece of the ball, and pulling it through. Yay! One half is done!
16. Hold the costume up to your child to see about how long you want the shoulder strips to be. Mine were pretty good right at the 2 by 7 inch mark, but a smaller or thinner child will need them cut off a little. Hold them up where you want them to be, add 1/2 inch (for the seam allowance) to the length you want them to be, and then cut them off.
17. Now, lay circle #2 down and lay the finished first half of your costume on top of it with the circle side DOWN (the two circles will be next to each other in the sandwich)and the pentagon side facing UP. Pin the shoulder strips to circle #2 at about the same place as circle #1 matching the raw edge of the shoulder strip to the raw edge of circle #2. Do the same with the elastic.
18. Now you should have circle #2 with the first costume half pinned to it. Pin the first costume half down in the center of circle #2 so that it’s secure and won’t flop around inside the sandwich you’re going to make right now. Now, turn the second pentagon decorated ball half so that it’s another inverted bowl with the pentagons on the inside, just like before. Pick up circle #2 (with attached first costume half) and lay it over your bowl like a lid, just like before, and pin, like before.
19. Sew, as before, leaving a 2 inch opening. Turn right-side-out by reaching in and pulling out the first costume half. You now have your costume done except for stuffing and sewing up the opening.
20. Stuff your costume with poly-fil. When you stuff it, try to pull the fill apart a bit rather than stuffing it in in globs. That’ll make your ball less lumpy. Also, don’t stuff it too full; remember that your child is going to be in this!
21. Close the opening using hot-glue or a blind stitch. Instructions for doing a blind stitch are here (don’t worry, it’s easy): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM-Fd0cuMH0 .
I hope that explains the process in enough detail. Don’t worry, once you get started, it gets very intuitive. You can easily adapt this method to make other kinds of balls, just change the way you decorate your costume. Feel free to email or comment with any questions whatsoever and I will try to help as soon as possible.
Edited to Add:
I used this method to make a whole batch of balls for my kids to wear for Halloween. I ended up with a soccer ball, a basketball, a football, and a little baseball, complete with carseat baseball mitt. Here are some pics:
At the Halloween Carnival.
Someone wasn’t happy we ended his candy binge.
Change the measurements a bit and you end up with a football.
Omit the back half of the ball (just use the flat circle piece) and cover a carseat with brown felt and you have a baseball and baseball mitt.
We found a serendipetous soccer goal while trick-or-treating. In tribute to my two sons’ favorite part of the game . . . “GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!!”
Such a tired little baseball. 🙂