Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Up, Up, and Away!

Greetings, fabric lovers! Scraps, here, with another project from the Voyage fat quarter bundle, inspired by the darling little hot air balloons featured on one of the patterns in the pack!
As soon as I saw this set of patterns it immediately said it needed to be in a travel-themed nursery. Of course, you saw how I completely ignored that obvious use in my bracelet project, but you can't fight the status quo all the time, you know? So let's give the fabric what it wants.
I created a simple hot air balloon pattern (which you can download here) and then gathered the rest of my supplies:
  • Voyage fat quarter bundle
  • Light-weight Fusible Interfacing
  • Brown Grosgrain Ribbon (~ 2 yards, but extra is good)
  • Helmar Fabric Glue and a toothpick or skewer
  • Hemp Yarn and a Crochet Hook
  • Low-Loft Quilt Batting 
  • Pen, Scissors, Straight Pins, and a Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Beads
  • Double-Fold Bias Tape 
I cut an 8"x12" piece from the blue & white star print for my background. Then I fused the interfacing to pieces of the two remaining prints before transferring the balloon wedge patterns to them and cutting them out. The interfacing helps stabilize the edges a bit to prevent fraying and, if you wanted to avoid applique work entirely, you could use a double-sided fusible interfacing to adhere the balloon shapes to the background fabric. 
You could grab some brown fabric (burlap would certainly work) for the basket, but I wanted to add a little more texture than that, so I grabbed a foam block and wove my little balloon basket over the pattern, securing the ends with straight pins. A little fabric glue slipped between the outside edge of each overlapping ribbon (the toothpick or skewer makes this easier to do without mess) will keep the woven basket together and then you can snip off the excess ribbon.
Arrange your balloon wedges and basket on the background fabric and stitch into place. I chose to do this applique-style with a small, narrow zigzag stitch (stitch length 1, zigzag width 3, on my machine) and found that if I let the feed dogs do the work of moving the fabric I ended up with far less puckering and shifting as I went along. My balloon ended up slightly skewed from center, but rather than fight with it, I just decided to see it as a balloon drifting in the air.
Just like with the basket, you could use some pre-made cording here and couch it or even glue it, but I chose to use some hemp yarn from my knitting stash and a crochet hook to make 3 chained lengths to strap the balloon "to" the basket (the lengths depend on your placement of the pieces). These I hand-stitched into place, leaving longish tails at each top corner of the baskets, braiding those ends together to make the swag that meets in the middle.
Next, layer the pieced top with the batting and a piece of backing fabric (I used a large scrap from my stash), leaving the ends open. Quilt as desired--I chose to run a line of stitches through the middle of each balloon segment, outline it all, and then add some subtle cloud "puffs" to the background. Then I machine-stitched a narrow band of double-fold bias tape all the way around the front of the work (trimming as necessary), and whip-stitched it in place on the back.
Final touches included adding some of my leftover fabric beads from last week's project as "sandbags" on the balloon, and two loops of bias tape added as hangers and sewn on the back with buttons to hide the stitches on the front.

I'm thrilled with the way this darling little wall hanging turned out! What have you been stitching up, lately?

Wishing you creative days,

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