Overcast (not the stitch, the weather) 

Cloudy weather is usually depressing, but this fluffy pair seems to lift my spirits!  So I thought I would share a little tutorial for these ruched rain clouds.  I made them for a display at the best quilt shop in the world (A Stitch In Time... I am, admittedly, a little biased, as I work there).  As I was making them I thought they could be really cute in a nursery or kids’ room.

Supplies:

  • 1 1/2 yards of ombre stripe fabric (you will cut this in half on the fold, so you will be able to get two clouds from this yardage. Additional details below.)
  • 2/3 yard for back (again, this yardage will be enough for two)
  • high loft batting, 24″ x 22″,  (I used Soft Soft High Loft, we carry it at the shop)
  • thread
  • Frixion pen (or something to draw on your fabric)
  • KK 2000 (or your favorite temporary basting spray)
  • gathering foot (optional, but awesome)
  • walking foot (optional)

More on my fabric choice: I used this color blocked ombre stripe from V & Co.:

As you can see, it comes in a variety of colors.  I used gray because that’s what worked best for me, but it could be cute in any of the colors!  (The line, Color Me Happy from Moda, is a few years old, so if you can’t find it, you could recreate the look by sewing together four 5.5″ strips.  But we still have a few bolts at the shop. It isn’t on the website, but give us a call and we will ship it to you!) Let’s get started!

First, cut your backing fabric in half on the fold, so you have two pieces, 24″ x about 22″, depending on the width of fabric you used.  Draw your cloud shapes on your fabric.  I like to use a Frixion Pen because they iron off, so I’m not afraid to make a mistake.  Freedom!  Set that piece aside for a moment.

Next, you’ll cut your striped fabric along the fold (giving you two pieces, 1 1/2 yards by about 22″) and add gathers.  A gathering foot is perfect for doing this.  After adjusting your settings according to the directions, stitch along the line between colors.  If you don’t have a gathering foot, your best option is to buy one 😉 It really is an awesome tool, but since I’ve already written about it, I won’t elaborate.  If you can’t get your hands on one, you can gather using the traditional method of sewing two lines of basting stitches (at the longest stitch length), one on either side of each line, then pull on one of the threads to create gathers. You’ll end up with a piece like this.

Then, you will adjust the gathers so that your fabric fits neatly on your batting. I sprayed a little bit of Sulky KK 2000 on the batting before I placed my fabric on. It’s a temporary basting spray, so you can reposition if you need to, but it keeps everything together nicely when you’re at the sewing machine.

Next you will layer your backing fabric, drawn side up, on top of your gathered fabric.  Make sure your cloud fits on the ruched fabric with at least 1/4″ all the way around.  Pin around your drawn shape.

Sew on your drawn line, removing pins as necessary.  Be sure to leave a few inches open at the bottom to turn it right side out.  I used a walking foot for this step and the next step. A walking foot helps feed multiple layers through your sewing machine evenly. Trim about 1/4″ away from your stitches, leaving extra fabric (about 1/2″) where your opening is.  Clip corners. (Note: I didn’t stay exactly on my drawn line in a few places. I just used it as a guide.)

Turn it right side out through the opening.  Make sure you push out all of the little nooks and corners of your cloud.
Next you will stitch along your gathering line (with normal settings), securing it to the batting and backing, and locking your gathers in place.  I did pin the gathers down before sewing, and straightened out the line a little, where needed.  Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of each row of stitches. Pick out your gathering stitches.  Hand stitch your opening closed and you’re done!

I made little rainbow floofs to hang from my clouds.  I also downloaded this pattern from Craftsy.  I increased it by 200% before paper piecing it together.  I love that lady and her boots!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions! Where would you hang these clouds?

Thanks for visiting!

 

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