Here Is How To Sew A Sphere
Sewing a sphere together is not at easy as it might seem at first glance. The reason behind this is similar to that globe – map debate you might have heard about raging all over the internet. That is where nobody can accurately depict the various countries and continents on a flat map without distorting their shape and size in relation to their counterparts on the globe. Nevertheless, that’s neither here nor there, and so, let’s focus on our project instead.
You might be familiar with how those huge beach balls look like, right? The ones kids use to throw around in the water. What you might have also noticed, is the way that ball is pieced together. It has six identical pieces stitched together and capped at each end with a round disc, usually made out of the same material as the ball itself. The project in and of itself is not that complicated. The only thing you have to truly pay attention to is on how to make the paper template for those six pieces. After That one’s done, you can use that same piece as a template for the other five.
To better understand where we’re going with this, and to get a better image of what we’re talking about, picture an orange. Imagine taking that orange in your hand and slice it straight through in six equal-sized pieces. Now, that we think about it, a watermelon would have probably been a better example to give here, but alas, the orange it is. It’s also more spherical than the watermelon, so, there’s that. What you need to visualize here is the orange peel of one of those pieces, because that’s the mold you will need to cut out six times.
Things You’ll Need To Get The Job Done
Before we can get started, here are the things you’ll need.
- A large piece of paper – slightly larger than the sphere’s diameter
- Pencil or Marker
- Scotch Tape
- Straight Pins
- Preferably a sewing machine
Making The Paper Template
Don’t be alarmed, but there might be some math involved with this one. For our demonstration here, we will be talking about a 20 inches wide sphere and all the other measurements that go with that particular size. For spheres with different diameters, check out this webpage here. Luckily that someone actually considered to do the math for all of us, right?
For our 20 inches ball, we will go with a piece of paper that’s at least 28 5/16 inches by 10 inches. You will use this piece of paper as your template in order to cut out the six pieces. Now, draw a 28 5/16 inches line by using your ruler and marker. Find the exact middle of that line and then draw a perpendicular line that’s a total of 10 inches, but divided into two equal sizes of 5. You will now have a cross.
You will also need to mark the so-called, focal points. To do this, look at the long line. At each end of the line, go back 1 1/8 inches and then another inch, both left and right. Draw a dot at each of those points. You should have four in total, two at each end of the long line, and two on each side. These will be your focal points.
Now, take a piece of string and tape one end of it to one of the focal points. Run it along the long line to the other focal point on the same side of the line, but at the opposite end. Before taping the string here too, make sure that the string is long enough for its middle to reach the far end of the 5-inch line on that same side. When it’s long enough, but doesn’t go beyond that point, tape it to the focal point.
Now, take your pencil and draw a curved line from one focal point to the other, while the string will guide your way. Make sure that, when you’re half-way there and you’re at the 5-inch line, this curved line that you’re drawing reaches the very top of this shorter, 5-inch line. Go all the way to the other end, and you’ll have a sort of elongated semicircle. Take that string, tape it to the other two focal points and repeat the procedure. What you end up with is something that somewhat resembles the shape of an eye or a leaf. Cut it out, and you have your template!
Sewing the Sphere
Take your paper template, place it on the back of the fabric and outline it six times by using your pencil or marker. Make sure that the marker won’t stain the fabric on its “good” side. Take your scissors and get to cutting. Leave some space around the edge (roughly half an inch) – and it doesn’t need to be a perfect cut either. The stitching will go along the line, but not this cut.
Take two pieces and place them front to front (with their good sides facing each other.) Pin them together and sew along one semicircle. Don’t go all the way around because your sphere may actually end up looking more like a torpedo or submarine, more than anything else. Anyway, make three pairs out of all the six “orange peels.”
Now, take two of these pairs, flip them inside-out (as in the ‘good’ face will be inside). Pin them together along the line and then sew the line. Do only half, as you’ve done before. Now, take the last pair of two pieces and repeat the procedure, finishing of the sphere in its entirety. What you will end up at this point, will be the inside-out version of your sphere. As you may have noticed, you can flip it in its right position through the top.
Do that and before sewing all the edges together, you might want to fill it with something. Fiberfill is always a good option. Through the top opening, you can pack as much of that fiberfill as you feel is necessary, and now you can finally sew everything together. It’s probably better to do this last part by hand, instead of using the sewing machine.
This is pretty much how you sew a sphere. As for the template, there are also some store bought ones. Nevertheless, this is how you make your own. Regardless of whether you use a pre-made template, or not, the result will be the same. Have fun!