Plumpkin: The Fabric Pumpkin

October 14, 2020

It’s time to decorate for the fall (or at least I probably should have started, I’m a little behind) and I love using ‘evergreen’ decor! What does ‘evergreen’ mean? It means you can use it from year to year, it’s not disposable. I like that concept for a few reasons. 1) I don’t have to spend money on new decor 2) I don’t even have to leave my house to decorate for holiday (except of course going out to decorate the outside of the house 3) I know what I have from year to year 4) I get to create something fun! 5) It is easy to do! So today I am going to show you a little, stuffed, fabric pumpkin that I affectionately call, “Plumpkin”. It is easy, quick, doesn’t require a ton of supplies and can be done by hand or by sewing machine.

Materials:

● Fabric – approximately 9″ x 22″ for a standard size, you can do whatever you want to make many sizes, just make sure it is a rectangle
● Thread
● Sewing Needle or Sewing Machine
● Stuffing – Polyester fiber fill is good, you can fill it with whatever you want…
● Yarn or Embroidery Floss
● Yarn Needle – prefer metal with a large eye
● Scissors
● Item to Use for Stem – Tree branch, Cinnamon Stick, Paper Covered Floral Wire, etc.
● Optional – something to look like vines or whatever you want to make it look great! (raffia, ribbon, paper covered wire all work well)

Start with a fun fabric

With the right sides of the fabric together (the less pretty side should be out), line up the fabric with the short ends together.

Sewing fabric to make fabric pumpkin
Making small, even stitches by hand (or by machine if you prefer).

Thread a needle with the thread doubled. See here if you are not familiar with that technique. Sew in about a half inch from the cut edge, with stitches running parallel to the edge. This is called the Running Stitch. If you need some help, use this video.

Trimming thread off a sewn piece of fabric
Trim your threads, no worries if your sewing isn’t perfect, it is just going to be hidden later

When you get to the end of the seam, use some securing stitches so the thread stays in place. (Securing Stitch – Take a tiny stitch right over where you ended but don’t pull the thread all the way taut, have the needle go through the loop that is made. Repeat this twice.)

Sewing around the top of the pumpkin
Start sewing parallel to the edge, moving down about 1/2 inch.

Take a new knotted thread and use a running stitch about 1/2 down on one end of the fabric cylinder’s edges, parallel to the edge. This will become the bottom of the pumpkin.

Gathering fabric to make a sewn pumpkin
Keeping the stitches close, continue around top of fabric cylinder.

Finish sewing around top of fabric cylinder. Keep stitching until you reach the point you started at.

 finished sewing bottom of fabric pumpkin, all the fabric bunched together.
After cinching the entire bottom of the cylinder, use some securing stitches so it will stay closed.
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After you’ve pulled the thread to gather up and close the hole, repeat those securing stitches. Since you have been sewing on the wrong side, flip the piece so that the right side is facing out.

Empty fabric Pumpkin, ready to be stuffed
Deflated pumpkin, waiting to be filled!
Stuffing being put into fabric shell of a pumpkin
Get stuffed 😉 Fill it with more stuffing than you think you’ll need, it tends to squish down.
fabric pumpkin with a stick for a stem
At this point, you will want to decide on your stem. I like branches because they are free and easy.

When chosing your stem, place it all the way down to the bottom of the pumpkin. Then put the edges down in towards the stem so you can see if you like the stem. I always look at things before they are secured or glued down or stitched down to make sure I like it!

Pumpkin with stem inserted and ready to be sewn
Placing the stem all the way down helps it to stay in the pumpkin securely, other wise the stem would fall off and no one want a stemless pumpkin! (well, maybe a squirrel would…)
Sewing around the top edge of the pumpkin
We are going to repeat what we did for the bottom.

When you have the ‘stem’ inserted, we are going to stitch around the top edge again to secure the stem and the stuffing inside the pumpkin. Using the same method, sew a running stitch around the fabric, about 1/2 inch down from the top edge.

Securing the top of the pumpkin around the stem
Pull the thread so that the fabric is snug around the stem.

Use some securing stitches here, as many as you feel you need. It will not be super tight, just make sure you are comfortable with how tightly it is secured.

Cute fabric pumpkin almost complete
Now we are almost done! It looks cute, but it doesn’t look like a pumpkin quite yet.
Yarn picked out for finishing the fabric pumpkin
I picked this earthy, dark tone to make the ribbed sections in the pumpkin, to give it that puffed up look.

Here is where we need the yarn needle. Cut off a long length of yarn or embroidery floss imagine going around a pumpkin a few times and that’s how much you want. It will end up using less than you probably cut, but we need it to be longer so it can go in and out of the pumpkin.

We are going to give the pumpkin its segmentmented or ‘ribbed’ look. Starting at the top, take your threaded yarn needle and push it down through the pumpkin following the path of the stem to the bottom center of the pumpkin. Bring the yarn needle through the hole you created when you sewed up the bottom earlier. This is a pain in the butt. You just have to keep going. Just Keep Sewing, Just Keep Sewing…

Inserting a yarn needle threaded with yarn into the center of the pumpkin
Slide the needle down the stem, it makes it easier to tell where the center of the pumpkin is.
Shoving the yarn down into the middle of the pumpkin
We are really just shoving the yarn in somewhat blindly, all I can say is to follow the stem.
Pulling the yarn and yarn needle out the bottom of the pumpkin
When you actually find the bottom, pull the yarn out a little ways.

When pulling the yarn through the bottom of the pumpkin, make sure you leave a few inches of a tail sticking out the top, we will need it for later. (Alternatively, you can make a massive knot to get stuck in the polyester fiber fill so it stays hidden, but that method isn’t as predictable)

Bringing the yarn to the top of the pumpkin to make another section.
Let’s repeat that whole thing!

I like to cover the fabric seam with a strand of yarn, makes it disappear! Keep repeating that process for as many segments as you would like. It certainly gives the pumpkins a different look if there are 4 segments vs 8 segments.

Finished with the segments and just lining up the yarn so it looks good
As you go, you will figure out how many segments look good for your size pumpkin.
Tying off the yarn on the bottom of the pumpkin
When you have your segments done, we need to secure the yarn by tying it.
Knotted yarn on the bottom of the pumpkin
Up close of the knot to secure the bottom. See the stick sticking out?

Here is where you can get creative or just messy. The yarn needs to be secured, the bottom of the pumpkin is not going to be seen, so do what you have to do to make it secure. I have at times had to wrap the yarn around the stem to secure it more. Do whatever you think is necessary!

Finished stuffed fabric pumpkin
All Done! You can dress it up with a little raffia, ribbon, paper covered wire and so on.
Fabric and Real Pumpkin sitting on a porch
My Inspiration. I love little pumpkins with long, straight stems!

Here are a few pumpkins from previous years. I think I like my green stripey fabric the best It just looks so realistic!

Stack of fabric pumpkins

They can be as simple or as fancy as you like!

awwww, so cute!
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4 Comments

  • Reply Karen October 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Marissa
    I just saw the plumpkin and love it. Can’t wait to go down stairs and make some.
    Thanks for a great idea.
    Karen

    • Reply Marissa October 23, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Karen! Glad you like it! I would love to see how it turns out! Say hi to the fam for me! – Marissa

  • Reply Priscilla October 15, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Love the name plumpkin! They look so festive when grouped together.
    Thank you for posting this!

    • Reply Marissa October 15, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      Hi again Priscilla! Thanks for checking it out. Yes, they are super cute and festive. I make a new one almost every year! Happy Halloween!

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