Inflatable Drifblim - My Halloween Ghost Blimp

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Haunt your front yard with Drifblim this Halloween! The elusive ghost blimp appears and disappears randomly but can be persuaded to stay for a while by a determined textile DIYer.

Don’t be afraid of your sewing machine or the drawing board for this project. Below I will describe how to draft your own Drifblim pattern and then sew it together.

Since a beach ball is used to inflate this monster it is light enough to hang easily and sway ominously in the wind.

Happy Haunting!

Supplies:

Paper

Ruler

Large bowl

Small bowl

Scrap fabric for mock-up

½ yard Dark purple fabric

½ yard Light purple fabric

1/8 Yellow fabric

Red felt

Yellow felt

Four scrap pieces of interfacing

2 yards White tulle

Matching thread

Recycled plastic lid

Jewelry wire

Crimp beads

Key chain ring

Beach ball

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Step 1: Make the Pattern

1) Draft your master slice:

- Blow up your beach ball base use a soft measuring tape to mark the length of a slice in increments. Measure the width of the slice at those increments. Draw your master slice from these measurements. Add seam allowance

- Cut sample slices out of scrap material and sew together for a mock-up. Test fit on inflated beach ball for fit.

- Add a balloon skirt to the bottom of the slice pattern by extending the bottom of the slice into a rectangle.

- Segment the slice using a bowl placed over the lower half of the pattern matching the proportions of a Drifblim from a picture

- Transfer each top and bottom section of the pattern to a new sheet of paper and add desired seam allowances

- Make balloon fringe pattern by measuring the width of the bottom edge of the balloon skirt minus seam allowances, multiplying it by the number of slices and drawing out a triangular fringe to match that width plus a seam allowance on each end.

2) Make face pattern while referencing a Drifblim picture

- Make two elongated oval eyes and a right-angle X for the mouth

- Place pattern pieces on a mock-up for placement and then transfer placement to top slice pattern piece.

3) Make the arm pattern

- Start by drawing a long triangle with a truncated top, segment the bottom into three triangles.

- Segment the arm pattern arm using a small bowl with the curve going down like a smile.

- Copy each segment to new pattern and add seam allowances.

- Use mock-up to figure out arm placement and mark on bottom segment pattern piece

4) Make the horn pattern

- Draw a curved horn, add seam allowance. Tip: make it thicker then the desired sized because of shrinkage when stuffed.

5) Make a mock-up

- Use all the pieces you have drafted and some extra fabric to mock-up your design. Use this mock-up to decide on eye, mouth and arm placement. Transfer any pattern changes to your master pattern.

Step 2: Cut Everything Out

Note: Prevent fabric fray in the method of your choice. This project has not been tested with knit fabric.

- Cut six top slice pieces out of dark purple fabric.

- Cut six bottom slice pieces out of light purple fabric.

- Cut eight arm top pieces out of light purple.

- Cut eight arm bottom pieces out of yellow.

- Cut one fringe out of red fray proof fabric or felt.

Note: Felt or non-fraying fabric preferred. If not available, add seam allowances to the pattern, cut two pieces and sew right sides together, clip seams and turn to make one fringe piece.

- Cut four horn pieces out of tulle.

- Cut one large rectangle of tulle about 1 1/2 to 2 yards in length for cloud topper.

Step 3: Sew Together

1) Sew each segment top to bottom to create six slices, clip curved seams, iron seam towards bottom.

2) Make arms

- Sew top and bottom of each arm piece together, clip seams and iron seam towards bottom

- Sew each half of arm together leaving top open, clip corners close and turn, iron well

3) Prepare four slices for arms

- Mark slits on four bottom segments for arm pieces on the wrong side of the fabric.

- Iron on a piece of interfacing slightly longer then mark on the wrong side of the fabric.

- Sew a very skinny rectangle around the mark, cut open.

- Insert arms into slots from the right side and sew closed on the wrong side with a narrow seam.

- Carefully pin arms folded to middle of slice, keep away from sides

4) Appliqué eyes and mouth on slices

- Follow the placement from your mock-up and transferred to your pattern. The mouth goes on a slice without arms, eyes on two slices with arms, one on the left side, one on the right.

5) Sew slices together

Note: the arms are sewn next to each other in pairs with the non-arm slices in between, one in front (mouth) and one in back (blank).

- Clip seams and iron before sewing last slice together, then clip remaining seam and iron carefully after sewing.

6) Add fringe

- Sew fringe together at sides.

- Attach fringe to bottom opening right sides together, ease or gather if necessary, clip seam.

7) Turn balloon right side out

- Remove pins in arms

Step 4: Reinforce Top to Hang

1) Cut a circle out of some recycled plastic.

2) Poke holes in plastic circle with a pin or awl.

- Add four slightly larger holes for hanging.

3) Hand sew onto top of balloon where all seams meet.

4) Add jewelry wire with crimp beads to larger holes, make sure all wire are the same length.

5) Connect all wire together with a loop or key-chain hoop if desired.

Step 5: Cloud Topper

1) Cut a large rectangle out of white tulle and gather with large stitches or by tying it into bunches with thread

2) Tack to a circular piece of plastic.

3) Put sticky hook and loop tape on both plastic circles, one on the body and one on the topper

4) Arrange hanging wire through or around cloud as to not interfere with shape.

5) Stuff horn with tulle (makes it look cloud like)

- Hand sew to top front under main cloud puff or to cloud topper plastic circle.

6) Attach topper and arrange hanging wires around cloud poofs.

Step 6: Finish

1) Shove your beach ball through the bottom opening of the balloon and inflate.

2) Hang up in you yard or house for a cartoonishly spooky decoration.

3) Make an army of ghost blimps.

4) Modify sphere pattern for any number of round creepy creatures that you can deflate at the end of the season.

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