Happy Thanksgiving from Canada! Here is a craft to get you in an autumnal mood. These cheerful fabric pumpkins make me happy every time I look at them, and they were pretty simple to put together. I made the four shown here in one evening – and I got to use my new sewing machine for the first time! (Really, each pumpkin requires only one sewn seam, plus a bit of hand basting.)
The idea came from Pinterest; there are lots of examples and tutorials out there. I used this tutorial, but after trying it changed one step. I also finished the pumpkins using my own variation on the leaves. See the tutorial for step-by-step instructions with photos; I’ve included my version (without pictures) below.
This project is a great way to use up fabric scraps in your stash. (I found an orange polyester tablecloth and plaid cotton placemat, plus the wide green ribbon at the dollar store; the smallest multicoloured pumpkin is made from a fat quarter I already had.) I used typical autumnal colours, but you could go non-traditional to fit your décor, use cotton, muslin, flannel or burlap, and add any type of embellishment you like. A gathering of these pumpkins would make a great centerpiece, or would be wonderful to sell at a bazaar. Imagine a whole table covered with these bright beauties!
To make this project, you’ll need:
fabric for pumpkin • sewing machine (optional) • needle & thread • polyfil stuffing or batting • twine, string, yarn, embroidery floss or narrow ribbon for “veins” • glue gun • small stick or cinnamon stick • ribbon, felt or fabric for leaves, or artificial leaves • raffia, twine, wired twine or pipe cleaners for tendrils (optional, not shown)
The Pinterest tutorial gives directions for round or squat pumpkins. I like the squatty ones – plus, they sit better; to get this shape, the fabric length needs to be two and a half times the width. (For round pumpkins, the length is two times the width.) I cut the fabric for my pumpkins as follows:
6 inch dia. pumpkin (orange): 10” x 25”
5 inch dia. pumpkin (plaid): 8” x 20”
4 inch dia. pumpkin (orange): 6” x 15”
3 inch dia. pumpkin (multi): 5” x 12.5”
Now, start making!
• Cut pumpkin fabric and fold lengthwise with right sides together so that the short ends meet. Machine- or hand-stitch the short end closed using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. This is the pumpkin’s side seam.
• (This is the step I changed from the Pinterest tutorial) With right sides still together, hand-baste a loose running stitch around one open end of the pumpkin, using a 3/4 inch seam allowance. Pull the thread ends to gather the fabric evenly and tie off as tightly as possible with several knots. This is the bottom of the pumpkin.
• Turn fabric right side out. Check the gathered bottom to make sure no raw edges are showing to the outside; if they are, poke them back in and adjust the gathers as needed.
• As you did for the bottom, hand-baste a gathering stitch around the top of the pumpkin. Gather slightly but don’t tie any knots.
• Fill pumpkin with stuffing until fairly firm.
• Gather the top closed and tie off as tightly as possible with several knots.
• Cut three lengths of twine (etc.) that will encircle the pumpkin to create vertical “veins”, dividing it into 6 sections. Wrap each piece around the pumpkin, tying at the top. When adding the last piece, loop it around the first two underneath the pumpkin to help keep them centred and in place. Trim ends.
• Cut stick (I found a fallen branch with lichen on it) to desired length for the stem. Add a dab of hot glue to the centre top of pumpkin and push in the stick. A cinnamon stick would also make a lovely, fragrant stem!
• To hide the knots around the base of the stem, add leafy embellishments: cut leaves from fabric or felt (or use artificial leaves) and hot-glue them to the pumpkin. Instead of leaves, I used 1.5” sheer ribbon, looping and tying it loosely around the stem and tacking it down with hot glue.
• If you’ve added leaves, you might want to finish the pumpkin by tying raffia, twine or ribbon around the stem. “Tendrils” can be created by winding wired twine, ribbon or pipe cleaners around a pencil or marker and fastening the curlicues around the stem.
I think this method would be perfect for a pincushion, too. I’ll probably try to make a velvet pumpkin- or tomato-shaped pincushion. (See more about my passion for pincushions here.) Stay tuned!