I recently visited another school class showing them some patchwork quilts, and here they also wanted an easy project to try out for themselves, which did not involve the use of sewing machines. So they got to sew balls made of pentagons, using the English Paper Piecing method.
Here is how:
First, make 12 pentagon paper templates of the size you want, but all 12 the same size, of course.
Cut 12 fabric pieces with a comfortable seam allowance, baste around all 12 templates. I find that the basting method I use for hexagons also works well for pentagons, as long as they are not too large.
Sew one pentagon patch to each of the sides of the centre pentagon. Now you can remove the paper template from the patch in the centre.
Sew the sides of the 5 pentagons together. They will form a bowl shape.
Make two such bowls, only leave one seam open on the second bowl.
The open seam will make it easier to turn this bowl inside out while the papers are still in.
If you want to make a bowl instead of a ball, you can do that of course. Just put one bowl inside the other, wrong sides together, line up top edges and sew. Leave the papers in for stability, – you may also consider putting in the bottom paper that was removed earlier.
Better still, if you plan on bowls from the beginning, you can cut your templates from stiff interfacing instead of paper, – then the bowl will be washable.
For a ball, the two bowls must have the right sides together, and you line up the top edges a little differently. The “mountain top” must be right above the “valley”.
Then you sew the sides together so that the “mountain” ends up in the “valley”. It can be a bit fussy to hold the patches in the correct position while sewing, so you may have to pin them to avoid the “struggle”.
The “mountain” patch has all sides sewn now, so the paper can be removed.
Continue sewing like this along the edges of the two ball halves. As soon as a patch has all its sides sewn, the paper can be removed, making it easier to handle the project.
Sew till there are only two seams left ….
… or if your fingers are small and nimble, – make it so just one seam is open.
The opening will be easier to handle once the papers are gone.
Turn the ball inside out….
….fill the ball with leftover batting pieces, or whatever you want to have inside….
… and then sew the last opening shut.
A pdf file with pentagon templates can be found here.