Tuesday 25 October 2011

Fabric Pumpkins

Oh my Gourd, I'm at it again!

I promise this is the last how-to-make-halloween-pumpkins-without-using-pumpkins-post!  But I thought these were so cute I had to share!

Browsing through my new Martha Stewart book, I came across her instructions for making 'Heirloom tomato pincushions'.  They are beautiful, but sorry Martha they do look more like pumpkins than tomatoes to me!  Or maybe I've just become a little obsessed?

From Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of  Sewing and Fabric Crafts

I decided to adapt the instructions slightly, so here's how to do it.

Use some orange coloured fabric, and cut out a rectangle.  It's completely up to you what size, but cut it so it's twice as long as it is wide. I started with a 12 x 6 inch piece.  I used a rather shocking 90's velour t-shirt that I bought in a charity shop for 50p!

You could try with cotton, felt or corduroy fabric, but as you only need small pieces try using what scraps you have.  This project is quite forgiving, so don't worry if your cutting isn't exactly straight, or your sewing is wonky.

Fold the fabric in half to a square shape, keeping the right sides together.  Stitch the ends together.

See how I've done mine all wonky just to prove a point *cough*

It's best to use a long needle and a very long piece of thread.  Also, it needs to be strong cotton or thread as it will need to withstand quite a bit of pulling.  Sorry, but your Pound shop cottons won't cut it on this one!

Keeping your fabric still inside out, and hopefully with the same continuous length of thread, sew a running stitch about 1/4 inch from the top.

When you have gone all the way around, pull the thread taught and gather the fabric into a pouch.  Do a couple of small backstitches to secure in place then turn the pouch right side out.

Stuff your pouch with polyester filling (you can buy this from craft shops and haberdashers). Ideally, leave your needle and thread attached so you can continue sewing with the same continous thread.

Once filled, as before stitch a running stitch around the open end and pull to cinch together.  A couple of small stitches will secure it.  Then, take your needle through the centre of the pumpkin and out through the bottom (this is where it helps to have a long needle!).  Do this a couple of times pulling hard each time to draw the pumpkin shape in.

Finally, if you still have enough thread left, double it up, and take the needle around the outside top to bottom to make the detailed segmented ridges.  If you don't have enough thread to do this, secure your end, and re-thread double thickness or use thicker embroidery thread.

Follow the natural lines that the gathering has made and continue all the way around.

Your pumpkin will now look like this:

Finally, make the stem.  You'll need a small rectangular scrap of green coloured fabric.  The size will depend on the size of your pumpkin, but I made my first one approximately 3 x 1 inch.

Roll up tightly into a long sausage, then secure some green thread at the end with a couple of stitches.

Wind the thread around the roll of fabric to bind it.  Do this randomly rather than uniformly, then pass the needle and thread through the fabric a couple of times to secure the binding.

Trim your stalk down to the desired length and stitch it onto the top of your pumpkin.

Et voila!

Happy Halloween!

Check out my other pumpkin and Halloween related posts:

Paper Pumpkin Lantern

Pompom Pumpkins

Fancy Dress

I also wanted to quickly show you some jam jar lanterns we made, totally inspired by the fabulous Domestic Goddesque and Red Ted Art . Sadly, we'd used all our orange tissue paper up on the giant lampshade lantern, but luckily, ever the hoarder, I'd stashed away these pretty paper wrappers from some Italian Amaretti biscuits I'd scoffed earlier.

If you can save some of these (ie not do the setting-fire-and-watching-them-float trick), I think they make rather classy lanterns in my recycled jam jars!

Inspire Me Beautiful

Thinly Spread

ShowOff Showcase


  1. Ooooh those pumpkins are fab!! How fun!! And aren't the lanterns simply fabulous. Thank you for crediting both of us.. but I think we have thank our crafty American friends again... :-)


  2. SO ADORABLE! love them, will definitely give these a try :)
    Never Plain Jane

  3. They're fab!! I really like the way you've done them in velour, the texture makes them shout out to be picked up! (or is that just me?!) Thanks for the clear instructions, I may have to give them a go!

  4. They look great Liz! I was just looking at them last night in the Martha Stewart book. Your velour ones look much better! Love the lanterns too x x

  5. These are gorgeous! You are so talented. x

  6. You take my breath away. What a great idea to use fabric from an old velour top as well.

  7. Oh love this Liz, look much easier to make as well as some of the Molly makes fruit and veg that I've seen. love the velour, so retro;)

  8. I love these pumpkins, they look lovely and a very good use of an old top too. The lanterns are also very cool, we did cut out lanterns last year, 'sleepy hollow' style but haven't done any this year :)

  9. Oh you are so clever! Those are beautiful! I wish I had half your talent!

    Thank you for linking up!

  10. OMGness! These are totally brilliant! SO easy and I can use up some of my overflowing stash of fabrics. Thanks so much for posting this craft! xx

  11. Ahh thanks for your lovely comments. I wish I'd started making these earlier - I'd have had a HUGE pumpkin patch by now!

    They really are dead simple - give them a go in front of XFactor this weekend!

  12. (PS Thank you for taking part in Kids Get Crafty!)

  13. Ooh I love them! Burnt orange velour - but of course, what else could you possibly do with that fabric? Perfect! Are they your hands in the shots Liz or a hand model? *Beautifully shaped nails*

  14. I *love* those pumpkins, they are amazing! And so simple, but effective.

    Thanks for linking up to ShowOff ShowCase.

  15. You are just a far to clever pants, lol - No, I like them and if I wasn't such an unco-ordinated octopus with this sort of thing - I'd not get the help of my 12 year old. She's a crafty smarty pants too!

    Thanks for sharing :o

  16. Love these. I am inspired for a harvest make now ... not pumpkins I hasten to say!

  17. I love this idea! They look like a great stash buster too #CraftyOctober

  18. They also look like pumpkins to me! I love these, another thing to try my hand at :D Thanks for sharing on #CraftyOctober xx

  19. My girlfriends and I are doing a craft night tomorrow night and are attempting a version of this -- Love the idea of adding pumpkin spice to them :) Thanks for sharing!! I love pumpkin crafts.

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