Have I mentioned that I love pumpkins? I loooove pumpkins. Come on, pumpkins are arguably the poster vegetable of Autumn, right? They can easily decorate your home from September all the way through Thanksgiving. Since they can hang around so long, I like a variety of styles and colors to decorate with. I continue to discover new and interesting pumpkins.
Have you seen the velvet pumpkins that some retailers have? They are absolutely gorgeous! But they are also pretty expensive. But they are sooo pretty and I had to have some. Without the high price, of course. I had to find a way to get what I wanted without spending a ton of money.
Off to Goodwill I went! What?!?!? That’s right, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Family Thrift or any thrift store is my go-to place for crafting items. For a few dollars, I find all kinds of unique items that make my projects one of a kind. On this trip I purchased a few velour jogging pants and an ugly but over-stuffed pillow (I will be using the batting from inside). I spent less than $10 and got enough to make several pumpkins.
Here is what you will need:
Velour jogging pants, the larger the better if you want bigger pumpkins
Pillow or purchased batting
Dried beans or rice
Dried pumpkin stem or tree branch or cinnamon sticks(three tied together)
Needle and heavy duty thread
Various bowls from your kitchen
Pencil or marker to mark your circles
Hot glue gun
To get started, I always launder any clothes or fabric I purchase. Lay the pants out flat on a cutting surface. With a large bowl, place it upside down on the largest part of the pants, taking care to keep the bowl within the side and center seams. You may need to test with different sized bowls to get the size you need. With your marker, trace around the bowl. Since your pants have a font and back, you will get two pumpkins from each side of the pants. Cut out the circles.
With smaller bowls, cut out additional circles down the leg of the pants. You can get a couple different sized circles from a pair of pants.
With needle and thread, stitch around the circle about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from edge leaving both ends of thread untied. There is no need for the stiches to be perfect or small as this is just for gathering the fabric. Pull each end of the thread until you have a shallow bowl shape to your circle with the right side of fabric on the outside. Put a half to one cup of dried beans or rice in the bottom of the circle depending on the size. If your pumpkin is larger, one cup may be needed but on smaller ones, perhaps even 1/4 cup may be enough. This is a judgement call. It is to help give weight to the pumpkin and give it a flexible base.
Then add batting from your pillow to the inside of the pumpkin, pulling the thread tighter as you go. Fill it pretty full of batting so it takes a good shape. At the end, you may need to just poke small tufts of batting into the hole with your finger or end of a pencil. Once the pumpkin is full, pull the thread as tight as you can and tie off. I also add another round of stitching just to secure it closed and to make the top a bit more textured. If you want a flatter pumpkin, run a stitch down from the top through the middle of the pumpkin to the center of the bottom and then back up. As you pull it tighter, it will draw the top and bottom closer to make the pumpkin more flat and squat.
After the pumpkin is stuffed, glue on the dried pumpkin stem on. You can leave it like this or decorate it with a bow or fake leaves or whatever you like. I have different colors of velour in Fall jewel tones and some with patterns to make it interesting. But, don’t stop with the velour. While you are at the thrift store, you might as well grab a couple of plaid flannel shirts or sleep pants and make a few more pumpkins!
Now you have a beautiful, elegant decoration for your home. Or a nice gift for someone!