1.31.2016

DIY Birth Ball Cover

Recently, I've had a blast using one of my Christmas presents from Strider -- a birth ball! In truth, it's just an exercise ball, but for doulas, it's a magic birth tool. They're fabulous for everyone, but especially pregnant mamas. The only problem is that they are tricky to transport -- I've heard from more than one doula about experiences chasing them across hospital parking lots or down maternity hallways. With my prenatal appointments well underway, I can easily agree. YourDoulaBag.com makes a fabulous cover that can even be ordered with custom print fabric. However, as I am trying to keep my expenses to a minimum, I figured this was a great opportunity to use up some of my stash fabric. I found only one other tutorial but I wanted a slightly different style. So, for anyone else looking to make their own, here's how I went about it.

To start, I pulled out large piece of a green batik print that I got on clearance a few years ago, measuring around 85" x 44". (Note: the colors aren't as pretty in the pics as in person, it's actually a lovely deep green.) I didn't use a pattern or have exact measurements before starting this -- I figured I'd go large and just cut off excess as I figured out how to build the cover around the ball.
I placed the ball in the center and pinned it at the top to see how much excess I could trim from the sides.
Right-sides facing each other, I sewed the short sides with a sturdy seam (red and yellow together).
Next, I folded one of the open ends up by an inch and sewed it to create the casing for the drawstrings.
To make the drawstrings, I used long strips of another stash fabric to create one long piece (it ended up about 10' long but I could've probably done with 8.5' or so in the end). I did a double-fold similar to a bias strip for quilting. It started around 3" wide but was 3/4" once the double fold was done.
 I finished the edges by hand and then sunk the ends into the hem.
Putting a safety pin through one end, I slowly fed the drawstring through the casing. Once done, Strider and I had a good laugh about how it basically looked like a skirt we could've both fit in.
Next, I put the ball inside and gathered the string to see how much excess I could remove from the top. 
(Many thanks to my handsome Vanna White.)
I ended up removing around 5.5" of extra before sewing across that edge. I placed the ball back inside and then tried to see how to finish the top. Sidenote: I had a good laugh picturing it as a giant Yoda head - Strider didn't see it quite as humorously as I did
Next, I pinned the two corners to the center-top using a safety pin through all three layers.
Then, I made the strap using the same stash fabric as the drawstring - it ended up around 3.5" x 36".
To secure the strap to the cover, I doubled the ends over around 2" and stitched them down.
After a little trial & error modeling with Strider, I decided to attach the straps at 10" distance from the top center point. The teal circle is the safety pin holding Yoda's ears in place. The red dots are where I pinned down the strap...just in line with the pin after I took the picture.
I sewed the edges of the straps on in a square and then x-shape to really secure them. I finished the cover by hand-sewing the center top point (the safety pin with Yoda's ears). I also sewed a decorative button over it to cover the gather-point. Then it was ready to go!
 Once again, a thank you to my ever-patient and supportive husband! Note: I made the strap extra long so that I still have room to also carry my labor bag on the same arm.
Overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out. It look about 3.5 hours, but if you wanted to cut that down, you could use a thin rope instead of making the drawstring by hand. The bag is also a little larger than necessary, but I think that is beneficial as it gives room for me to pump the ball up more or to even go up a size if needed in the future (mine is a 65cm). Total cost = $0.00 ...my favorite!

Has anyone else made a cover from scratch?

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