(they must have been tasty, there are only a couple left!)
I can't throw anything away. So, I saved the stem and decided to try to make a velvet pumpkin. It's not like I didn't have anything else to do. I'm pretty far behind on a lot of things that need doing.... but sometimes, I just can't resist a side track into a new (for me) idea.
And I've seriously needed a creating binge. These pumpkins were just the ticket for pulling me up from the doldrums I'd fallen into.
Of course, since I didn't have 20 pumpkins to steal stems from, I had to get creative. I re-purposed some of the vines the pumpkins grow on, by drying and cutting those at angles to make them look like stems. I found lots of viney, twirly, curlicues growing there too, and cut those out to glue to the end of the stems. For most of the curlycues, I was able to cut a small slit into the stem, add glue and then stick the end of the curly bit down in.
I found out that they are super simple to make. I free handed a circle shape, a little larger than a dinner plate. I figured that most pumpkins are a bit crook-edy anyway, so didn't try for perfection in my shape.
Some were made smaller, because I was using fabric remnants. But the "larger than a dinner plate" size was ideal for me.
Here are some tips I learned while working on them:
- A heavy thread is much better than regular weight thread.
- Gather up a length of fabric and bunch onto the thread till you get a gathering of a few inches, then put a stitch in it to hold in place before gathering more. This is better than trying to gather the entire circumference of the circle at once, it stays tighter.
- Softer, thin fabrics with some stretch work best. I like the stretchy velveteen to work with more than the vintage cotton velvet I made some from too.
- You can use about any kind of material, but the ones that ravel are tricky. And heavier fabrics don't pull into as tight of a center as lighter ones do.
For stuffing, I used some poly pellets I had on hand for making a weighted "sensory pad" for Sugarwings. About a cup or so of these gave the gourd some heft and made it sit up straight, but I think you could also use beans or rice.
On top of the pellets, I slipped in pieces of polyfil, and worked it into a nice shape. Small bits at a time worked best for me.
After pulling the circle to its tightest possible closure, there was always a gap that needed stitched up.
After I had it all gathered and stuffed, I decided the shape was too round. To fix that, I sewed a button on the bottom by pulling the thread from the top of the pumpkin to the base, adding the button, then pulling it back through, so that it forced the orb into a more gourdy shape. (A long needle works best)
Kind of like tufting. This is where it is really important that your thread is strong. When I used plain thread, it broke when I pulled hard on it to make a gentle dent in the bottom of the pumpkin with the button.
(I made sure to use pretty, vintage buttons. Because, something worth your time is worth using the Good Stuff, right?)
After gluing on stems, I inked the fabric at the top of the pumpkin. Different colors for different fabrics. This is a carmel tone on the green velvet. This is fabric that I'd saved from the back of a throw that fell apart years ago.
The pink is a white velvet that I'd dyed to reupholster a rocker for Sugarwings when she was born. And the white is remnants from repairing that some throw that the green had come off of. (brand new velveteen from Hancock fabrics) I try to save as many leftovers from other projects as I can, I just never know what I'll need someday.
(what I really need is a good studio clean out!)
On the pink and the white, I used an olive green ink.
And over the ink, I rubbed some Stickles or store brand glitter glue. The finer the glitter, the better, which is why Stickles is so pretty. But Michaels carries this brand for a dollar a bottle, and that is hard to beat. I used bronze on the green, pink on the pink, silver on the white, and red on some rose patterned Waverly fabric that I tried.
But then again, is glitter natural on a pumpkin? It is at my house.
This material is from an embellished rayon/satin doll dress that was ripped. At a flea market recently, someone was giving away a box of vintage doll clothes, most in bad shape. But there were some very pretty bits in there that I picked through to reuse.
This was the hardest fabric I worked with. It was stiff and heavy, and left a big, thick blob at the stem when I sewed it together. So, I hid that with velvet leaves cut up to look like the stem base. Well, at least that is my story. If you look at a real pumpkin, there are no leaves around the stem. Still, this little arty tid bit is prettier with the leaves, so I didn't care too much for accuracy.
The shiny, elegant satin, looked too fancy for the rustic stem, so I painted the stick with white pearl paint. That looked so nice, that I added some pearl paint to a few of the other stems too.
And on one of the pink guys, I used some more velvet millinery leaves, just because it is sweet, even if it isn't accurate.
Around here, there wasn't a lot of bright colored fabric to chose from. Our Hippy Chick admired the ones I'd already done, so I wanted to make one in her colors. She likes rainbow shades, and this is as close as I could come in my stack of saved bits and pieces. I think I had it from covering a set of dining chairs for the antique mall ten years ago.
It's a pretty rose and fruit pattern from Waverly, and turned out cute. But the edges were a bit ravel-ly, so I sealed them really good with a blop of glue around the stem, and sprinkled extra glitter over that to hide it, instead of using the Stickles glitter.
But of all of the ones I made, I think I like this one the best. I'd bought a black velvet dress, with lots of embellishments on the bodice, at an antique store last year. It was too small for me, but the fabric was so gorgeous, I had to have it. The dress was a bit of a splurge, about $35. But after making a couple of pumpkins from it, I still have a ton of velvet left, so I think I'll get my money's worth from it.
This looks more lush in person, the photo doesn't do it justice. Even though black isn't usually one of my colors, I think I'll keep this little guy for my Halloween decor.
But then again, the dark green ones look good with my haunted birdcages, don't they?
Nope, I can't keep them all! I've made some as gifts for friends at a get away I'm attending, and some for guests coming to visit here. Actually, a lot of the fabric selections were with certain people in mind, so that makes selecting my own pretty from the pumpkin patch a little easier.
Some are embellished with tags, some have 3D collaged charms (How to in this post).