It's almost fall!
After this hot rainless, summer I couldn't be happier about it.
I'm excited about his fall, because I accomplished something last week that I've been meaning to do for years.
I made velvet pumpkins!
Ok, so they aren't all velvet.
I did a fabric raid.
I found black and dark purple cotton velvet; bright blue, purple, and turquoise vintage velvet; several fabrics I didn't end up using, and a whole bunch of fall prints that I should have never kept to begin with.
I mean, why did I keep these fabrics? What on earth did I think I was going to do with these?
Well, now I know.
Approximately 22 small pumpkins and 8 teeny tiny pumpkins.
Then I sewed them to some straw(?) wreaths that I had packed away because my cat eats the straw.
Then vomits it up.
Before you get all weird and think that I've gone and done another complicated project, hear this.
I got all the pumpkins you will see in this post made - start to finish - in one day.
The wreaths were an afterthought. I made them the next night.
They are cute in an old lady, crafty way.
I like the little stems. They are made from cut up sticks.
I think they're kinda cute.
Now let's talk velvet pumpkins.
I've always loved velvet pumpkins.
They are pretty.
In a non-old lady, non-crafty way.
I mean, they're velvet.
The brights were made using this method.
We'll call that method the tube method. She calls it the 'regular fabric method'.
If you don't have enough material to cut full circles to make your pumpkins you can use the other method so that you can still use the smaller pieces of fabric.
It was just a matter of the shape and amount of fabric I had available.
I like pumpkins that are made from circles the best. They just look better, TO ME.
Feel free to make your pumpkins however you like.
Here's how to make a circle pumpkin.
Draw out a circle on your fabric. You can use anything to make a circle. Like a plate. Experiment with your fabric to see how approximately big your pumpkin will be You might be surprised at how big the circle needs to be even to make the small pumpkins.
The pumpkins on the wreath are 4 inches across. The circle was 9 inches across.
Since I had fabric scraps, I just made my circles whatever size(s) fit best on the available fabric.
Cut out the circle. They do not have to be perfect. They can even be oval.
Sew a running stitch all around the edges of your circle. I used a thread of white burlap for this so you could see what it looks like to do a running stitch. Once again, it does not have to be perfect.
Gently pull both threads so that the fabric starts to gather up like an empty balloon.
Make sure you have a nice long piece of thread or string to pull through the fabric. Regular thread is probably not thick enough. Try using button hole twist or a couple of strands of embroidery floss. The thread can break while you are gathering and if that happens you have to start all over again. That sucks.
Stuff the pumpkin with fiberfill or micro bead filler (see below).
Pull the gathers as tight as possible and sew the gathers together - any old way - whatever it takes to get the hole closed without the stuffing falling out.
If you used regular fiberfill you are done - except for the stem.
Let's talk stuffing.
Some people stuff with beans, rice, or whatever they stuff bean bags with. I didn't try that. YET.
All of the pumpkins I made, except for the three in the first picture, were stuffed with regular polyfill. Because that's what I have.
When I was reading around to see what stuff people stuff these things with, I found a suggestion on Stone Gable blog to use micro bead filler. She said that it was the best thing to stuff with because it held it's shape well, yet was easy to shape.
I ordered some of the micro bead filler from JoAnn. It was available online for 50% off. The website said that it was not available in stores.
I saved my two largest pumpkins to stuff with the micro beads when they arrived.
They arrived last Saturday. I had company, but I was so excited I opened up the box and got busy.
The minute I opened the bag mayhem ensued.
This stuff is so electrically charged it moves without you even touching it.
I started trying to fill the pumpkins. First I just had a small opening in the bag and tried pouring them in the whole made by the gathered sides of the pumpkin. It was hard. Beads went everywhere. I kept putting in beads until the pumpkin was full.
These micro beads are weird. The pumpkin didn't feel full, yet the beads poured out when I tried make the final gathers on the pumpkin.
Beads, beads, everywhere.
I had to do super, duper, extra sewing to pull this hole together. I didn't want any spots where the beads would leak out. Also the beads were stuck to everything, the needle, the thread, my hands, the velvet, the table, the chair, my clothes, the table runner. Everywhere.
I had to vacuum every inch of that pumpkin to make sure the beads were gone. You have to pull the beads out of every one of the little bitty crevices.
I filled the next pumpkin by making a cone out of paper and pouring the beads through that. That helped. There were only half as many beads stuck to the needle, the thread, my hands, the velvet, the table, the chair, my clothes, the table runner. Everywhere.
I made a third pumpkin today so that I could do the pictures for the tutorial and this time I put the pumpkin inside the box that the micro beads were shipped in - in hopes that I could control some of the mess. It helped. It probably reduced the second mess by half. So now I'm down to 25% mess.
So, I'm writing a note to Miss Stone Gable to ask her if there is an easier way to use these micro beads. Because she is right. They do make a better pumpkin. But, as of right now, they are way harder, so if you want easy stick to regular microfiber stuffing.
*NOTE* I just checked Stone Gable's tutorial once more. Her micro beads look bigger than my micro beads. I checked my bag, and my micro beads are "mini". So I checked JoAnn's website. Interesting. I couldn't even find the beads I bought. I went to Amazon and found these- which I imagine is what she used. They also have these - these are what I will probably try the next time I buy filler. These links are affiliate links
If using sticks:
To attach my sticks, I put a blob of Aleen's Tacky Glue (affiliate link) in the middle of the pumpkin and then stick the stick through the center of the gathers. Just wiggle it through until it goes into the center of the pumpkin and extends the length that you prefer.
If using pumpkin stems:
I used real dried pumpkin stems for the velvet pumpkins. I've been cutting them out of pumpkins for several years to get a collection. Sometimes you can just break them off, sometimes you cut out the area around them and let it dry. Then the dried pumpkin will break off the dried stem.
To glue them on I used Aleen's Tacky Glue.(affiliate link) Spread the glue over the base of the stem and generously to the area on the pumpkin that will be covered with the stem.
Let the glue sit for at least 10 minutes, then press stem into pumpkin. Press it firmly into the pumpkin for a couple of minutes. Once you can lift the pumpkin by the stem without the pumpkin falling off, set the pumpkin aside to dry completely.
Other stuff for stems -
I've seen people use all kinds of things for stems. Spools of thread, drawer knobs, door knobs, plastic stems you buy on the internet, buttons, beads, . . . that's all I can think of. You can use whatever you want. If you like it, it's perfect. If you don't like it, try something else.
I tried a glass drawer pull. I didn't like it. I used a metal castor. That's it. Done.
I kind of bombed out on this fabric. It's polka-dot but not very polka dot so it just looks like it has random circles on it. Maybe I'll unstuff it and make one that doesn't have odd random circles.
I think I've got some real polka-dot material somewhere.
So remember that vintage velvet?
They are pretty bright. But they're kinda cool.
The toile ones are rockin!
And guess what?
I'm selling them all.
Well maybe not all.
But they are for sale at Mimi LaRou.
They don't weigh very much so they could be shipped reasonably($) and easily.
And don't worry about me.
Not one little bit.
I'm just here. . .
cleaning up microbeads.
Happy Fall Y'all!