There is certainly more than one way to fly and I found that I was not quite done working on the theme for this impending exhibit Taking Flight. I’ve covered a bird & Amelia Earhart — but I decided to have some fun making three dimensional hot air balloons.

Coming up with a pattern wasn’t so hard. I found a place on the web for making a very large one for a paper balloon. I used the math, scaled it down, smoothed it out, and this is my paper pattern.

I took eight of these & taped them together to see if they would work — and they do. I’ll be making my balloons with a Peltex layer for stiffness — but it should be similar to the paper. I think it was Jamie Fingal’s blog where she made a sculpture from paper & then used that as a pattern to make her fabric pieces. It’s actually simpler than you would think — working with the paper — & if it doesn’t work, you trim or substitute another piece — or throw away & start over.

So I sewed strips together for the first balloon & fused them to Peltex stiff interfacing — then I sewed down the middle. I didn’t worry about the back since it will be inside the balloon. Then I outlined from my pattern and cut them out. It was easy on the yellow — I used the center half of the pattern to line up with the crease between the yellows — but when I started sewing the next balloon in blue, it was easier to mark on the back with a pencil on the Peltex & use the quilted line as a guide for the middle.

Once I had eight pieces, I zigzagged with a matching thread on the tops & bottoms — the 2 shortest sides. After that, I lined up pieces wrong sides together and zigzag stitched pieces together on the long sides. Two wasn’t difficult, four wasn’t bad, eight was a challenge.

The yellow & blue ones were easy — and then I made the rainbow with vertical seams. Then I found a great red stripe fabric with the stripe on the bias — perfect for a chevron — but it would have been nicer if I had bought enough to make the entire balloon. Mistakes happen. I pulled a similar stripe from my stash, cut it on the bias, and made it just like the yellow & blue ones.

Right now I’m making a more vintage one with cream & black stripes (4 stripes on each panel) on the bottom & a vintage check on the top. Odd numbers are good — five would be a good place to stop — if I didn’t have another one lined up. I have a great blue & gold Renaissance fabric that would look cool if I fussy cut the panels.

Good News

I found out this week that my blog was included in Quilter’s Home list of Top 55 Blogs. Really — little me. I was shocked — and pleased — and excited. I think this is worthy of a happy dance.

If you don’t believe me (I was skeptical too) or want to see the rest of the list, it’s here.