I searched the internet and Pinterest for hot air balloon party ideas and came across a lot of fun stuff. I found a site that made hot air balloons out of paper lanterns. Since we used quite a few paper lanterns for our backyard wedding that were sitting in the shed just waiting for another use I already had the basis for our hot air balloons. I found some fabric in the colors I was using for the party and got to work sewing the balloons together.
I found the idea of using paper lanterns for the balloons on the Fabric Paper Glue blog. I also used this cute hanging hot air balloon cut-out on Etsy for design inspiration:
I decided to make three hot air balloons with one larger balloon and two slightly smaller ones. I first measured the circumference and height of the paper lanterns to determine the number and length of fabric strips needed. I then measured and cut strips of fabric including enough extra for seams. For the larger balloon I decided to try to imitate the design above so I cut strips to cover half the height of the balloon in different colors. For the other two balloons I measured the strips to cover the length of the entire lantern.
I then sewed all the strips together so they formed a tube:
And sewed a hem along the top and bottom edges. Here you can see the inside and the hem pinned:
I meant to use the top and bottom hems as channels to pass a string through to be used to gather in the ends, but that proved difficult. The plastic needle I was using to shuttle the string through the channel would get caught at each seam where the fabric folded back on itself and snapped at one point when I was trying to work it through. So I ended up loosely handstitching a string through the hems for gathering.
Then I slipped the fabric over the paper lantern and pulled the gathering stitches tight at both poles.
And here Emma is showing off the balloon:
Next I hung a small basket removed of it's handle using twine. It took a little bit of work to get it level. I also added decorative ribbon along the center seam of the large balloon. Brian then helped me hang the finished balloons. Or more like he hung them while I called out directions, "a little to the left, no too far, back a little".
Here is a view of all of them: