I love fall. Perhaps it’s the New Englander in me—I love
running in the cool crisp weather, watching the changing leaves, and even returning
to a sense of routine after the hectic summer months. There are so many little
details that herald the arrival of this season and I relish each and every one,
from apple crisp ice cream and maple lattés at my favorite local shop to the sudden
need for warm woolly sweaters. And when I saw this first batch of pumpkins outside a
grocery store the other day, my heart nearly skipped a beat.
Few objects signify the beginning of fall more than these
glorious gourds. I always buy one at the beginning of the season and can’t bear
to part with it until it literally begins to rot. However, this year it occurred
to me that I could make a more permanent version of this beloved fall object out
of one of my other favorite things: bright and colorful fabrics. So I spent a
few hours of my Sunday afternoon making this Patch of Patchwork Pumpkins (try saying that three times fast!)
The other wonderful thing about pumpkins is that, like
people, they come in all shapes and sizes, so I decided to mix it up and create
four different versions, each with its own felt stem and leaf. Of course, I’m
still going to buy a traditional orange pumpkin this year, but I’m also quite
fond of my fabric versions—they’ll certainly last longer, and even amidst
tradition, it’s always more fun to have something uniquely yours.
Are you as crazy about fall as I? Well then why not make a
pumpkin patch of your own. They’re quick and simple enough to stitch up in an
afternoon, you can personalize them with fabrics of your own color and pattern
choice, and all of the directions are below!
First, download the pattern pieces here: 4152.Patchwork Pumpkins.pdf
- 8 fat quarters of fabrics of your choice (I used
bright hand-dyes but you could mix in some patterns or opt for more earthy
tones. And there’s no reason to stick to only two colors per pumpkin—you can
use as many as you like!)
- Sewing machine and matching thread
- Hand-embroidery needle and embroidery floss or
perle cotton in contrasting colors
- ¼ yard of felt for your stems and leaves (I used
dark brown bamboo felt.)
- Hand-sewing needle and thread to match your felt
- Optional: sand, rice, or other material to place
in the bottom of your pumpkins
out the pattern pieces as indicated. Note that each of the pumpkins is composed
of 6 ovals except for one which only requires 4. In addition, you can make
leaves and stems of varying sizes by enlarging the pattern pieces provided. The
leaf and steam on my large round pumpkin are a bit larger than the others; the
other 3 leaves and stems are the same size as the pattern pieces provided.
helps to think of each pumpkin as having a beach ball-like construction. To
make one pumpkin, sew 3 of the ovals together, using a ¼" seam allowance,
and starting and stopping a ¼" from each tip. Repeat for the other 3
ovals. Sew the 2 sets of 3 ovals together by stitching along the long curved
sides of 2 of the ovals. Sew together the remaining oval seam, starting ¼"
from the bottom tip as before, but stopping 2-3" from the top to allow for
stuffing. (Do your best to iron your seam
allowances as you go, but don’t worry if you can’t get to all of them (though a
mini iron does help). Just do your best, and finger press when necessary.)
this construction process using the ovals for your remaining 3 pumpkins. For
the pumpkin that only requires 4 ovals, you can simply stitch the ovals
together 1 at a time until all 34 are attached; there’s no need to make 2
separate sets of 2 ovals first.
your pumpkins so they are nearly full. If you like, you can place rice or sand
in the bottom of your pumpkins to give them a little added weight.
embroidery floss in contrasting colors, add decorative stitches along some of
your pumpkin seams. I added long running stitches, Xs, and blanket stitches to
3-4 of the seams on each pumpkin. Stitch veins onto each of the felt leaves,
knotting your thread at the base of the leaf which will be concealed under the
stuffing the pumpkins and slip stitch the remaining seam closed.
together 2 of the felt stems with right sides facing, leaving the stem bottom
open for turning. Repeat for the remaining 3 stems. Turn the stems inside out
and stuff them, leaving about ½" unstuffed at the bottom.
your leaf as desired on the top of the pumpkin, then place the stem on top so
that it is covering the end of the leaf (and therefore your knots). Slip stitch
the stem to the pumpkin, stitching through the leaf as well to secure it in
Enjoy your pumpkin patch!