Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Velvet pumpkins

I thought this project would make a perfect fall-inspired Pinterest project for the Pinterest Challenge on Young House Love this week!

Check out these really cute velvet pumpkins with real pumpkin stems. Are they cute or what? I was inspired by similar pumpkins I saw at Terrain last weekend and decided that instead of blowing $40+ on one small one, I could probably make myself an entire velvet pumpkin patch for less than $20.

These are the ones that caught my eye at Terrain. They're beautiful. And expensive. They only sell the small one online. The large ones in the store were running about twice that price.

So, I did a little exploring online when I got home. Check out the gorgeous color combos I found on Pinterest!

Hot Skwash
Hot Skwash

Hot Skwash

Plush Pumpkin
I found this tutorial via a search on Pinterest.  This tutorial is very close to the steps I followed (although read it AFTER I made my pumpkins). My only changes, to either tutorial (because the cutting and sewing steps are the same), is that I filled my pumpkins about half full with rice (I wanted them to be very stable) and then added polyfill, and that I glued the pumpkin stem onto the pumpkin. I didn't stick it inside the opening in the top, like the first tutorial. Instead, I glued it straight onto the fabric as described in the second tutorial. I went to Joann's Fabric & Crafts at lunch one day. They didn't have silk velvet, like used to make the ones in the photos above. They did have TONS of colors in crushed velvet (which I'm not a fan of, but since I had no other option I just went with it). I chose a black and light grey because they'd go well with my Halloween decorations and I wanted to do something other than an orange pumpkin. Also, I knew I wanted to make some in non-traditional colors to use in my dining room, but I thought I'd give a black and grey one a try to see how they look out of the crushed velvet.

I just got a half a yard of the crushed velvet in each color ($3.00 in fabric total). A bag of rice (about $1.50). I had polyfill already at home in craft supplies.

Getting the stems (if you want more than one) seems to be the most difficult part of this entire project. Look what happened to my Kate Spade purse when I went to the pumpkin patch!

I am probably the only woman in history to fill her Kate Spade bag with pumpkin stems. I just walked around the pumpkin patch and picked them up off the ground. Yay free stuff!
If you can't find ones laying around your local garden or pumpkin patch, then you're going to have to buy pumpkins and murder them for their stems. Luckily I've been able to find very inexpensive victims at the local farmers market for only $1. I bought a few and removed the stems and left the pumpkins in the backyard for the squirrels.
I bought a cheap pumpkin and hacked off the stem. Grey stems are best because they look better and they're much easier to get off the pumpkin. I just cut out a square around the stem, popped it out of the pumpkin and then trimmed away the orange. This is much easier on a grey, or dried stem, than it was with this "green" one, but I had to work with what I could acquire on my lunch break!
At home, I just cut a piece of the black fabric into a 20" x 20" square (to make about a 10" pumpkin), and then folded it into quarters to cut a rough circle. 
I gathered and stitched up the circle, as described in the tutorials I mentioned above. Be sure to leave the needle and thread still attached. Then I filled the pumpkin half way with rice. Like I mentioned, I wanted it to be stable and not like a cotton filled fabric ball. 
After the rice, I added polyfill and then pulled the opening closed (with the the needle and thread that were still attached from gathering the edges) and tied it off. Because of the thickness of the bunched fabric, it didn't close all the way, so I ran stitches across the opening until it was pulled close. I chose to go this route because I noticed that some of the Plush Pumpkin and Hot Skwash pumpkins seem to have a "tufted" shape about them and I wanted that same look. I also suggest using button thread to make the gathers and then to pull it closed. Using regular thin thread may not be the best idea when you have thick fabric and you're pulling against it.
Closed but a little polyfill was sticking through.
The finished product! I made one large black 10" pumpkin and two small 4" pumpkins. I just hot glued the stems onto the fabric. They seem to be holding just fine. I'm just careful not to pick them up by the stem.

The orange pumpkin is actually store bought. A friend who knew I was making these saw it at a local store and bought it for me. It's amazing how much the stem on that thing looks real (it's resin)! And it was definitely cheaper than the ones at Terrain too.

I think I'll make a bunch in various neutrals for the dining room.
I started with six. I still need a few more. I'll get to those later this week.


Candy said...

They look great! I love the color combos and I'm not crazy about velvet.

duchessofginger said...

Thanks for my phallic one!

Erin said...

Thanks for featuring my tutorial at The Lemonista :-) Your pumpkins turned out cute. I love the stems in your purse. LOL...
Erin ~The Lemonista

Amy Trexler Mantay said...

Anytime, Erin! Thanks for posting a detailed tutorial so I didn't have to! :)

jrae said...

Every since I saw these adorable pumpkins I have wanted to make some. Thank you for the tutorial!!

Amy Trexler Mantay said...

Glad you found the tutorial helpful!

michelle@decorandthedog said...

I love your purse full of stems. Too funny!

Amy Trexler Mantay said...

I never updated the post to add that I also found a bug in my purse later that week. Perhaps I should talk the designers at Kate Spade into creating a craft tote. :)

Barbara Jean said...

thanks so much for the instructions.
Love that black and gray for a fun and soft change.


I have tried to type the verification word 3 times now. I'm really starting to that those things.
are they a must???

Unknown said...

How long until the stems rot though? And how will you get it out once it rots if it's glued on? They're beautiful!

Unknown said...

But won't the stems rot? Then what do you do?

Sadie Priss said...

I actually just pulled my box of velvet pumpkins from last year out of the basement. They're all perfectly fine. No rotting so far. I use dried stems. If one rotted I could probably manage to pry it off, but I haven't had that issue yet. I just kept them in a cardboard box in our basement. Also, I don't really have any issues with dampness in my basement. It's cold down there in the winter months and there are vents down there for the AC when it's warm out.