A while ago I promised a tutorial for my set of handmade vintage style fabric skittles and I'm pleased to say it is now done for you. I thought this might be a cute little project for a handmade Christmas Gift for a child.
If anything isn't clear, please let me know and if you make a set of these please do send me a link or picture - I love to see everyone's fabric choices :)
This is also the method I use for making bolster cushions etc, basically anything which is a cylindrical shape, just change the size and proportions to suit your project.
For each skittle cut a piece of fabric measuring 20 cm in height by 16 cm in width and two circles 5 cm in diameter.
To make a set of six skittles, you will need to cut 6 of the rectangles - I used three different prints for my set, all from the Alexander Henry Sage Glen Kids range - sadly now discontinued.
You need to cut 12 of the 5 cm diameter circles - I like to use corduroy for my circles as it gives a bit of grip when you stand the skittles.
Fold under and press approx 0.5 cm along each of the long sides - this helps with your starting and stopping points plus makes it easier when you come to slip stitch your skittle closed.
On the wrong side of one of your circles, mark a dot approx 0.5 cm in and then place the circle, right sides facing, onto the rectangle - lining the dot along the fold and the edge of the circle with the top (shorter) edge of the rectangle so that when you start to sew from the dot you are approx 0.5 cm from the top (shorter) edge of the rectangle.
Now sew your circle to the rectangle, insert the needle into the dot and it should be on the fold you made earlier. Keep the outer edge of the circle aligned with the edge of the rectangle, every 5 or 6 stitches, I stop, insert the needle, lift the presser foot and turn the circle to align with the edges again, lower the presser foot and continue - just go slowly and you will be fine.
You should end up on the fold on the opposite side of the rectangle. At the starting and stopping points backstitch a little to secure the stitches.
Repeat at the other end with another circle.
Now you are going to stitch the 2 long sides together (right sides facing and use the groove of the folds you pressed earlier). Leave a gap of approx 5 cm or so in the middle so that you can turn it right side out - again backstitch at your starting and stopping points to secure your stitches.
Now turn right side out and gently run your finger along the seams from the inside to gently press them open a little.
Fill the bottom of the skittle - about 5 cm or so, with dried rice to give it some weight which will help the skittle stand upright and then fill the rest with polyfill or similar. Slip stitch the opening closed and then tie a fabric tie or piece of scrap fabric - I just literally cut a rectangle, folded and pressed in the sides and pinking sheared the ends and tied it around the top of the skittle to form the head shape.
Now onto the fabric ball:
Cut 6 of these shapes from your chosen fabrics, again I used 3 different prints.
Unfortunately my scanner has died on me so I can't give you a template for this shape at the moment I'm afraid. I made my own template out of card - top to bottom is 12 cm and the width is 5 cm at the widest point. I just drew a line 12 cm long and at the halfway point drew a line 2.5 cm in length at a right angle. I then drew a freehand curve to join the 3 points together, cut it out and placed my template on the folded edge of my layered fabric - that way I didn't have to worry about the edges not matching up if I tried to draw the whole shape freehand.
Mark a dot at the two outer points approx 0.5 cm in from the edge on the wrong side of the fabric and sew (right sides facing) following the line of the curve. I don't bother pinning the two pieces together but just press lightly with an iron which help hold them together whilst I stitch. As always, backstitch to secure at your starting and stopping points.
In the same way, stitch another piece onto one of the first two pieces.
Now you have one half of your ball.
Repeat with the other 3 pieces so that you now have two separate halves of a ball.
Join the two halves together, right sides facing and leave a gap in the middle of one edge to enable you to turn
the ball right side out. Press the edges open to help you slip stitch it later.
Turn through, stuff - I make a little bag of rice to slip in the centre to give the ball a bit of weight and then surround that with polyfill. Slip stitch closed and you're all done!