Velvet Pumpkins

So it’s October now and I recently discovered that VELVET PUMPKINS exist. Of course upon this realization, my immediate response was – I NEED TO MAKE THESE. I approve of fall décor in the home from late August through November and I usually purchase 4-10 pumpkins for my yard and around the house. Pumpkins are such great décor but they don’t last long before they start to cave in or get real funky. Letting a bunch of food go bad always makes me sad so this year, my goal is to use the sugar pumpkins I have purchased for food – pies, cupcakes and some savory options too – and use the stems for this project! I also love the weird looking bumpy pumpkins with a mix of colors but those are even pricier and also eventually rot! Spending money on reusable pumpkins is a great option and making your own VELVET ones is a fraction of the cost of a store bought version!

This is such a simple project with AMAZING results! You only need a few items and no sewing machine necessary! A glue gun is a plus, but not required, and you can do whatever colors match your décor!

Actual dried pumpkin stems look the best of course, the longer and curlier the better.

Materials List

  1. velvet – I picked up mine from the local JoAnn’s but any velvet would do. 3/4 yard can make 5-8 small or 2-5 medium or 2 large pumpkins – there are a few different types of velvet, so ask the store to show you the varieties!
  2. a needle and thread (you wont really see the thread so the color doesn’t really matter) you can double up the thread for a stronger stitch
  3. uncooked rice or dried beans – for weight, you will need at least a 1/2 cup to a few cups of either or both
  4. poly fill – for stuffing, this works best, or you can use old socks or scraps too!
  5. pumpkin stems optional – you may or may not have saved these from last year! more on that but you can also use butternut squash stems, a thick branch, or a rock geode! also, you can stack pumpkins easier when they are stemless so you may not want one at all hence – optional!
  6. glue gun optional – if you aren’t gluing a stem, no worries on this one!
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When I started looking into HOW these were made, I came across this video and got the general gist of it. You basically cut a circle and sew large even stitches from about 1/4 inch from the edge around the entire diameter. Knowing this, you will want your thread to be about at least the length of diameter of your circle. Cutting the circle can get tricky as you go larger, so you can always create a square and cut from folded edge to folded edge, making a cone. A pumpkin about 14 inches wide will be made from a circle about 24 inches long. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect by any means, so don’t worry if you have jagged cuts or slightly imperfect circles.

After you have sewn the circle, you will see the thread can be pulled and the circular pumpkin shape can start to be formed! Before you pull it tight, you want to get your weight in there! Smaller pumpkins need less rice or weight, and for a 6 inch wide pumpkin, I used about a cup of rice then stuffed it until I liked the look. The larger the pumpkin, the more you will want to add, adding enough to have about 1/4 or 1/2 inch layer of weight at the bottom of the pumpkin should give it enough stability.

Once the rice is added, you can start stuffing the pumpkin with poly fill. The more you add, the shape will start to look more “pumpkin-y” and depending on how slouchy you want it, when its just right you can pull the thread tight until all the edges of the circle come together! You can push more stuffing in to make the pumpkin appear more smooth and taller or you can give it a more uneven look by leaving some out and letting the velvet folds appear more prominent. When it’s done you should tie off the thread and then sew a stitch through to the bottom and back up to the top to be tied off again, this will give the pumpkin the natural indentation of a stem.

Here I have used a butternut squash stem.

Now for the stem – go back in time to all the pumpkins you bought last year and save the stems! Ha! Since that is not possible, you can use a bunch of other things – for smaller pumpkins, you can use a stem off of a butternut or spaghetti squash, which will be cute like the above. For larger pumpkins a thick branch or stick can be broken off and used until a stem becomes available! I also just dropped a geode on this little green pumpkin and at a glance, it works! For next years pumpkins or as you come across various stems, let them dry and then hot glue them to the top of the pumpkin, keeping all the loose ends and stuffing under the stem itself.

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I also did a medium and large pumpkin – I chose to use the large one as a “stacker” so no stem on it, if you just follow the rule of thread to pumpkin circle diameter (match it) you should be fine going larger!

Fall has hit us outside and now inside too! Last year, I had a stack of pumpkins on my table that started to rot and before I knew it, I had a hot mess to clean up! This year I won’t have this problem since all of my live pumpkins are outside and I have a nice big velvet pumpkin for the base that I can use year after year! I love the texture and I look forward to finding more unique velvet colors too! Thanks for reading and I hope you have all the velvety gourd success I enjoyed!

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