I need a bit of advice in constructing this ball. This is a photoshopped image of what it's supposed to look like. It's a sort of beach ball shape, but it's small, about 5" high. It has 12 hidden pockets, 2 in each seam of the ball where little toys are placed. The buttons are attached to the toys (and the toys are attached to the pocket so that they don't actually come out) to help pull the toys out. It's meant to be a surprise what's getting pulled out, which is why there are pockets and why everything has to be symmetrical.
I've been using patterns for beach balls, and the patterns works out just fine, but I'm having technical problems with the pockets. The ball doesn't hold its shape because of the openings-- it can't hold the structure, plus the pockets get in the way of each other on the inside of the ball so that they bend and do funny things, making it hard to pull the toys out. The ball will be made out of velvet in the end. Right now, the pockets are cotton, but I suppose that they need to be a thinner material (maybe nylon)-- maybe that will help with that issue...?
I've thought of putting boning near the seams, but that's complicated. I don't think interfacing would help. I've been thinking about making the pockets into tubes that connect to the other side. Maybe that will give it more structure?
If anyone can think of any possible solutions, I'd appreciate it greatly. I can't seem to wrap my head around this problem! Thanks all!