I was so pleased, when I was given the opportunity to create a tutorial for Birch Fabrics’ new collection: Fort Firefly. Designed by Teagen White, the collection features 12 prints and 1 cheater hexi print. The prints are beautiful and heavily nature inspired, made from 100% certified organic premium quilting weight cotton and work wonderfully for either a boy or a girl or grown ups!
Inspired by these fabric mache hot air balloons, I set about creating a sewn fabric hot air balloon that will add a touch of whimsy to your home!
- hot air balloon pattern
- fat quarter of: penny’s garden, firefly creek, critters, rose garden coral,tree fort, rose garden taupe, jars blue
- 2 butterflies from fireflies coral
- heavy duty sew in interfacing
- 48 + 12 4mm eyelets with washers
- 6 metres of 4mm recycled cotton cord
- organic cotton sewing thread in shades: 4801, 4807, 4814, 4820, 4825, 4829
To make the hot air balloon
Download the free hot air balloon pattern. Using the templates cut out 1 balloon top and 6 balloon sides from the heavy duty interfacing. Now cut out 2 balloon tops and 12 balloon sides from fabric, making sure to add a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Assemble the top part of the balloon by centering one of your fabric hexagons on top of the heavy duty interfacing hexagon. fold the seam allowance around the interfacing and pin in place. With the remaining hexagon, press the seam allowance to the wrong side of the fabric. Centre on the other piece, pin in place and top stitch close to the edge.
Repeat this method to assemble each of the six side panels of the balloon.
Cut a strip of fabric 1 inch by 4 inches. fold raw short edges under by 1/4″. Now fold in half lengthwise, and fold raw edges in towards the middle. Sew along open edge to create hanging loop. Sew to the top panel of the balloon. Transfer placement marks for eyelets onto the side panels, then attach eyelets.
Cut out two fabric butterflies with 1/4″ seam allowance. trace the butterfly shape (no seam allowance) and cut this out from interfacing. If you wish to have wings that you can bend and pose then using a narrow zig zag stitch sew (either by machine or by hand) a length of floristry wire around the edge of each wing on the interfacing.
Sew a line of stay stitching around the edge of the fabric butterflies, fold/iron under seam allowance. Layer the 2 fabric butterflies (right sides out) on either side of the interfacing. Hand stitch the three layers around the edge,using your preferred method. Sew the butterfly onto a side panel by top stitching on either side of the butterfly body, where the wings join the body, leaving the head and tail free.
Hand sew the balloon top to each of the 6 assembled side panels.
To make the basket
Cut 2 x 6.25 inch circles out of fabric and 1 x 5.25 inch circle out of interfacing. assemble the basket base using the same method as per the balloon top and side panels. Cut 2 x 17.5 inch by 5 inch rectangle out of fabric and 1 x 16.5 inch by 4 inch rectangle out of interfacing. Assemble the basket side as per the balloon top, side panels and basket base.
Attach the 12 eyelets to the basket side panel, by matching up with the base of the balloon eyelets.
Assemble the basket by hand sewing the 2 short edges of the side together and then hand sewing the basket side to the base. I love how it looks as if the jars of fireflies have been hung around the basket!
Assembling the hot air balloon
Cut the cord into 6 equal pieces, and loosely lace the side panels. You may want to cover the ends with fabric, or use a little bit of tape over the ends, to make it easier to thread through the eyelets. Gently tighten the cord until the balloon is the right shape. knot each end of the cord close to the rear of the lowest eyelet on each side panel.
Lace the cord through the eyelets in the basket and then knot cord on the rear of each washer on the basket, to keep it in place. There should be an approximately 4.5 inch length of cord between the base of the balloon and the top of the basket, when the cord is taut.
If you used wire in the butterfly wings, you can now pose them.
Now all you need to do is find a spot to hang your balloon.
A big thank you to my friend Rebecca Smale who helped me by photographing the hot air balloon, whilst I suspended it off of a bamboo cane… so glam! My muscles are still aching!!