I've received many emails asking how to make the velvet pumpkins I featured on my blog last year. They truly are very simple to construct and I'd be happy to share the information here.
The best fabric to work with is a silk/rayon velvet (avoid 100% cotton). Silk blends will give you the soft folds you're looking for when constructing your pumpkins. Many different colors are available online. If you happen to be in the NYC area, New York Elegant Fabrics (on West 40th St.) has an extensive collection with gorgeous colors. (I visited this store for the first time on my recent buying trip to NYC and fell instantly in love.)
I fill my pumpkins with dried lentil beans or plastic pellets (like those found in Beanie Babies). The plastic pellets are available at Michaels and are a great item to purchase with your Michaels coupons. Although some people fill their pumpkins with polyester fiberfill, I prefer the look of the beans or pellets. However, if you are constructing a very large pumpkin, a mixture of beans and fiberfill works nicely. Otherwise, I would pass on the fiberfill.
Onto the construction of your velvet pumpkins!
- Cut circles out of your velvet. You can use a compass to measure your circles, but I usually just grab a plate in the size I'm looking for and trace that. A 9" circle will create a filled pumpkin with a circumference of about 13". Experiment with different sizes and colors to create an interesting display.
- Working on the wrong side of the fabric and using a heavy duty sewing thread (I double mine to ensure it won't break), run a basting stitch around the entire circle, about 1/2" in from the edge. I keep my stitches about 1/4" apart to achieve the small folds in the pumpkin once it is cinched. Start out with a very long piece of thread as you will continue to use the same thread to cinch up your pumpkin.
- Gather up your circle, leaving enough room to insert your filling. A funnel works great for adding the beans or plastic pellets.
- After filling your pumpkin, pull your basting stitches to close the opening. Pull the thread through opposite sides of the opening, continuing to do this from all angles, until the opening is secure. As you pull the opening closed, you can use your fingers to push the raw edges of the velvet into the opening. Once secure, tie a double knot with your needle and thread.
- I use a hot glue gun to attach the stem. Apply glue to the bottom of the stem and then secure it to the pumpkin, applying pressure and holding it firmly in place until secure. Be careful not to apply too much hot glue to avoid it seeping out onto the velvet.
- I don't do anything special to preserve the pumpkin stems. I just let them dry naturally, while still attached to the pumpkin, cut them off and let them sit for a couple days until the bottom of the stems dry out as well.
Have fun creating your velvet pumpkin patch!