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How to Make Fabric Pumpkins

Do you like to decorate for special occasions, or different seasons? I like to look at decorations, but I don't like to actually do the decorating. So, this fall, I found a quick and easy method to effectively make it look like fall is in our house. Easy fabric pumpkins, without three-dimensional sewing!

Click on the images to enlarge

But enough with the chit-chat, you're not here to listen to stories, but to learn the tips and tricks on how to make a fabric pumpkin.

Start by selecting your fabrics, in your favorite colors and prints. I used quilting cotton, but you can create amazing pumpkins with textured fabrics, such as velvet, minky, jersey, etc. You will notice everything in these instructions is aproximate, because no two pumpkins are identical. This project allows for errors, perfect for beginners, or like me, people who are always in a rush!

You will need:

  • Fabric, cut into rectangles, where the length is approximately twice the height, and sewn right sides together, on the short side (height), forming a tube. You can sew by machine or by hand.

  • Scissors

  • Needle

  • Cotton or polyester all purpose sewing thread

  • Metallic embroidery thread (I used DMC thread)

  • Crochet hook, size K, 6,5mm

  • Tulle, 6" wide

  • PolyfFill

  • Thimble

  • Large eye sewing needle, about 2" long.

1. You previously sewed the short sides of the rectangle, right sides together, but now you need to make a sphere. Easiest method: baste the open sides closed.

2. Using needle and thread, baste using large stitches, all around the open sides, at both ends.

3. Pull the thread and close one of the open ends.

4. Leave the other end open, but sew a stay stitch that you will be able to undo later, which will help the basting stitch not coming out while you fill the pumpkin.

5. Slowly and carefully turn the pumpkin right side out.

6. Fill the pumpkin with PolyFill, about 70-80% full. Do not overfill, or it might be difficult for you to manipulate the pumpkin during the next steps.

7. Slowly pull the thread at the open end, closing the pumpkin. The raw edges will tend to close towards the exterior; with your finger gently push them back in while you tighten the thread. Secure the thread once it is tight and pumpkin is closed.

You will notice that as you are tightening the thread, as soon as you release, the pumpkin will tend to open again. This may be slightly frustrating, but if you follow the next steps, you will find it easy. This is why you do not overfill your pumpkin.

8. Holding the end of the thread tightened (you can see it as the vertical thread in the first image), insert the needle through the fabric, pull, and tighten the thread as tight as you can.

9. Keep tightening as you are releasing the tension on the thread from the other end. The pumpkin will tend to open again, but stitch in place a few times using this method, and eventually it will remain tight.

10. Knot your thread sewing a lock stitch, but do not cut the thread tail.

11. As a backup, sew a few stitches across, and a few stay stitches. Sew a knot by wrapping the thread around the needle and pulling it tight.

12. Without cutting the tail, squish the pumpkin vertically, bringing together the two gathered sides.

13. Insert the needle through the middle of one side, and pull it out through the other side. Do not let go of the squished pumpkin, keep it tight with your hand. If you let go, and the pumpkin gets back to the original shape, you might end up losing your needle inside it.

14. Stitch a knot on the other side of the pumpkin, while you are holding it squished.

15. Insert the needle through the middle of the pumpkin and take it out in a random spot. Cut the thread. This way, the thread tail will be hidden inside the pumpkin.

16. Using a different strand of thread, start with a knot in the middle of the pumpkin. Notice how all the threads begin and end in the center of the pumpkin, because this area will be hidden by the decorative stem and leaves.

17. Run the thread on the outside of the pumpkin, to the bottom side.

18. Sew a stay stitch on the other side, squishing the pumpkin. Smooth out the fabric under the thread. This will be the first crease.

19. Repeat until you have 6-8 creases, going from the top to the bottom centers, until you like how your pumpkin looks. Keep smoothing out the fabric under the thread.

It's time for the leaves!

20. Roll out the green tulle, and fold about 3 layers, approximately 2-3 inches long.

21. Temporarily tie the middle with a piece of thread.

22. Repeat with the brown tulle, and temporarily tie it to the green piece.

23. Place the tulle on the top of the pumpkin, covering the threads and knots from the previous steps.

24. Stitch through the pieces of tulle, and around the tulle, through the pumpkin, as if you were sewing a button.

25. In the end, cut the tulle loops at the folds.

Crochet the stem

This is an optional step, but a little bit of metallic gold, silver, or brown makes a nice impact. I found the metallic thread to be slightly slippery, but it was worth for the final result.

26. Using three strands of metallic thread, leave a long tail, and chain 3-4 stitches.

27. Turn the row, and crochet a second row into the chain. This will make the stem thicker.

28. To close it up, pull the thread through the final and first crochet stitch (slip stitch).

29. From the long tail, split the threads in half, and place the stem in the middle of the tulle on the pumpkin.

30. Using your crochet hook, gently pull half of the tail under the tulle, and the other half of the tail in opposite direction.

31. Tie the tails in a knot under the tulle.

32. Trim the top of the tulle to the same length, without cutting the stem.

33. Cut the metallic tails to the desired length, and spread them out. Your pumpkin is done!

Don't forget to share your completed pumpkins on Instagram, using the hashtag #otterandthyme and tag @otter.and.thyme on social media.


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