A Patch of Patchwork Pumpkins

12 Sep 2010

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

Materials

  • 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
  • Fiberfill
  • Optional: sand, rice, or other material to place in the bottom of your pumpkins

Directions

      1.  Cut 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.


2.  It 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.)

 

      3.  Repeat 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.

     

      4.  Stuff 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.


      5.  Using 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 stem.


      6.  Finish stuffing the pumpkins and slip stitch the remaining seam closed.


      7.  Stitch 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.


      8.  Place 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 place.

Enjoy your pumpkin patch!

 

 



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Comments

Carol DK wrote
on 14 Sep 2010 4:13 AM

Very cute...I think I may make a few very large and very small ones...what a great idea...