There was a handmade ball like this at the last La Leche League meeting I went to and my daughter absolutely fell in love with it. It was almost impossible to get her to part with it when we had to leave to go home. The only way I could get her into the car was with the promise that I would make her one just like it. It looked simple enough.
Good news! It is! I hand-sewed it without a machine (but you can use a machine for this project) in about two hours. The outside pieces are made from fabric scraps I had as remnants of old clothing. The batting came from an old worn-out pillow. After making this ball, I saw some others just like it that were made using old sweaters. The different knit patterns and cables made for some beautiful and interesting textures!
1. Print the following pattern. You can change the pattern size depending on how large or small you want your ball to be. I made mine almost 11 inches long and the ball is between a cantaloupe and a soccer ball in size.
2. Trace your pattern onto the back of a piece of fabric. Trace exactly around the edge. Cut six pieces.
3. For the round end pieces, you don't need a pattern. Just trace around something of the appropriate size you have at home such as a jar lid. Cut two round pieces.
4. Lay two long pieces face-to-face and sew along one edge about 1/4 inch in from the edge. Unfold the pieces.
5. Lay a third piece face-to-face with one of the first two pieces you have sewn together. Sew along one edge as you did with the first two. Continue until all six pieces are attached and the only openings are in the two ends.
6. Turn ball right-side-out and stuff with batting.
7. Sew on the round pieces by placing one over one of the end holes. Hold it in place with the palm of one hand as you work around it with a whip stitch. This may look better if you use a fabric that does not fray at the edges such as jersey (t-shirt material) or felt. If you are working with a fabric that frays, you'll have to tuck the edges in as you go around.
P.S. Instructions for the doll can be found here.