Monday, September 21, 2015

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial...

A girl has to keep herself busy somehow, and last week while our house was being painted I had plenty of time on my hands. I got busy making some of these...

Years ago I helped plan a women's conference for our church. Along with workshops and classes, we hosted a lunch for about a million and three women. {A slight exaggeration, but that's what it felt like.} I can't remember how many of these types of pumpkins I made for table decorations, but after that event I swore I'd never make another. It's taken me approximately 15 years to decide I could have another go at it.

These fabric pumpkins are a cinch to make. 
You don't even need a sewing machine!


Pumpkin: Scraps of fabric, like: linen, corduroy, satin, velvet, muslin, faux suede, etc.
"Leaves" (optional):  Scraps of fabric
Sewing needle
Thread: heavy-duty quilting thread or DMC-type embroidery floss
Filler: white beans or rice
Filler: polyester stuffing
Jute or Twine
Stem: tree branch, cinnamon sticks, or brown felt


1.) Cut a circle out of fabric for the pumpkin. Look for objects in your kitchen for a quick circle -- pizza pans, round trays, etc.
  • Small pumpkin - Cut a 12" diameter circle, (for a 5" diameter pumpkin)
  • Medium pumpkin - Cut a 16" diameter circle (for a 7" diameter pumpkin)
  • Large pumpkin - Cut a 22" diameter circle (for a 9" diameter pumpkin)
2.) Hand baste 1/4" from outside edge of fabric with strong quilting thread or cotton ball thread found by the embroidery floss in craft/fabric stores. Use a double thread for both.

3.) Gather edges of pumpkin by pulling the basting threads till it is in the shape of a "ball." Stuff the inside of the pumpkins with 1 to 3 cups (depending on size of pumpkin) of beans or rice. To that add polyester stuffing to the pumpkin until full.

4.) For stem: A piece of a dead tree limb is ideal. Cut the limb in 3" - 5" length. A bundle of whole cinnamon sticks would also work, or cut a piece of brown felt about 10" long and 4" wide. Fold in half lengthwise. Roll felt lengthwise and stitch edge to make a stem.

5.) Finish gathering the top of the pumpkin, insert stem, gather and tie threads in a knot around the stem. If you made a felt stem,you may want to baste the stem to the pumpkin at the base of the stem.

6.) Use jute to divide the pumpkin into six or eight segments and tie at the bottom. I pull the jute tight so it doesn't show much but is in the creases of the pumpkin.

7.) For "leaves": Tear fabric about 10" long by 3" wide. Tear strips along the length of the fabric every 3/4" or so and baste the top of the fabric, like this:

Gather and tie the "leaves" around the base of the stem. See below...

You can also hot glue twine around the base of the stem to hide the jute that is used to divide the pumpkin into segments.

These pumpkins are pretty throughout the fall -- for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

I think they'd be beautiful in a centerpiece or a big basket on a hearth...

Later this week I'll publish a post about some artificial pumpkins that I painted with chalk paint. Here's a little teaser...