If you’re rushing round after kids, battling with time and just need a creative place to escape to, this hot air balloon embroidery project delivers. It’s also a great way to get a handmade touch into your nursery whilst making sure that you take the time out you need when you’re busy juggling a million things in between naps.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 8″ embroidery hoop
- embroidery threads in approx. 6 different colours, including brown for the basket
- 2 x squares of white cotton fabric (measuring approx. 13″ x 13″ or 35cm x 35cm)
- 2 x squares of patterned fabric (measuring approx. 13″ x 13″ or 35cm x 35cm)
- erasable air ink pen or sharp pencil
- sewing machine
- hot air balloon printable pattern and stitch guide (download here)
- cloud pattern (download here)
To get your hot air balloon embroidery off the ground (sorry, couldn’t resist…), first make sure your fabric is ironed. If it’s lightweight then consider using a medium weight vilene backing which you can easily iron on. This will just stabilise your fabric and make it a bit easier to work on. Then download and print the hot air balloon pattern, place it under the centre of your white fabric square and trace the design onto the fabric. You can use an erasable air ink pen or sharp pencil but remember not to cut your design out yet.
TIP: tape the paper pattern to a window and tape the fabric on top – the light coming through the window will help you to see your design easily and trace it through.
Download the pattern to see which stitches go where and decide which colours to use. If you don’t feel confident about any of the stitches, try them out on a spare piece of cloth first.
Once you’re ready, put your crease free fabric into your embroidery hoop and pull tight, making sure your design is roughly central. Follow the stitch guide to complete your embroidery. Hanging your finished hot air balloon embroidery as a hoop in the nursery would be lovely, but to go one step further and turn it into a mobile – just read on!
To make the nursery mobile
You will need
- a long, dry branch or twig to hang the balloon and clouds from
- white thread to hang with
When you’ve finished your embroidery, turn the work onto the wrong side, still in the frame. Use a pencil to mark all the way around the hot air balloon, approx. 0.5cm from the edge of the work on the wrong side.
Now lay your work with right sides together onto your patterned fabric and use a few pins to hold the two layers together. Use your sewing machine to stitch along the line you drew around the outside of the shape but make sure you leave a gap of about 1″ along one straight edge of the basket *.
* Why I always tell you to leave a gap for turning on a STRAIGHT edge… it’s just much easier to fold under edges to make a neat seam than trying to sew along a curve!
To make the clouds, download the pattern and trace onto fabric. Again, as for the hot air balloon, if your fabric is lightweight, you might want to use an iron-on backing. Just as for step 4, turn over to the wrong side and mark 0.5cm from the edge of each cloud. Place right sides together onto your patterned fabric and sew along your marked line, leaving a gap along the straight edge.
Cut out the balloon and clouds and then turn them right side out through the gaps you left and give them a little iron flat. Lightly stuff with some polyester filler using a chopstick to push into all the gaps, then sew closed using a slipstitch.
Use your needle and white thread to make a tiny stitch in the centre top of each piece you’d like to hang, then simply tie to the branch wherever you’d like and add to the nursery. Your hot air balloon embroidery is transformed to a beautiful mobile!
Are you making something for your kids? Share it on Instagram with the #youmakingmore hashtag.