How to Turn Old Sweaters Into DIY Fabric Pumpkins
A few weeks ago I took you around my home for my Fall Home Tour. If you looked closely, you picked up on fabric pumpkins EVERYWHERE! In total, I think I made 17 of these cute little fabric pumpkins and I’m so glad I did! These are decorations that the girls can play with and they add texture and variation when mixed with faux and real pumpkins! They are simply beautiful additions to any Fall décor. I love that I was able to repurpose old sweaters I hadn’t worn in forever into DIY fabric pumpkins.
I made a few different sizes based on the size of the sleeves and neck of my sweaters. The necks and sleeves of these sweaters were very loose. They made perfect templates for larger pumpkins and didn’t require the use of a sewing machine. But for my smaller pumpkins, I did need to use a sewing machine.
Dental Floss/Heavy thread
Hot Glue Gun
Sewing Machine (for the custom sizes)
The first thing I did was cut the sleeves and neck off the sweaters.
After the neck and sleeves were removed, I turned them inside-out
Then, I used dental floss to sew one end closed. This end will be the bottom of the pumpkin. I sewed the bottom closed about 1 inch from the edge. I did this because after I sewed all the way around the edges and cinched it tight, I wrapped the floss around the tide a few knots for extra strength.
(HINT: I’m sure they make a stronger thread, but the thread I had was thin and weak. I broke it multiple times with these thick sweaters. So I grabbed some dental floss and it was magic! I didn’t break it once! I did make some fabric pumpkins with much thinner material, and my regular thread worked fine for those. It completely depends on the thickness of the material you’re working with.)
After the hole was cinched as tight as I could possibly get it, I turned it right-side-out. By doing this it puts the 1-inch edge on the inside of the pumpkin.
Next, I filled the sack with polyfill. I filled my pumpkins as much as I possibly could. I wanted these pumpkins to look full and not floppy. But this often meant I was pulling polyfill out of the pumpkin, in the end, because I had overloaded it haha.
After the sack was full, I began sewing the top closed with the dental floss. For this opening I got much closer to the edge. By getting closer to the edge, I was able to create a better shape for applying the stem later.
Now that I had sewed all around the edge, I cinched it closed as tight as possible. In most cases, I was able to get this opening to be completely closed. I struggled with it initially, but I learned if I tied the first knot into a bow and then pulled the bow tight before pulling the ends of the thread through and I had more control over the tightness of the knot.
Now that the pumpkin is a ball filled with stuffing, it’s time to add the creases. To do this, I took the needle loaded with the dental floss and stuck it up from the bottom of the pumpkin to the top through right the middle. After I had the needle through, I pulled that end back to the bottom of the pumpkin and tied a knot. For this step, sometimes I left the floss a little looser, and sometimes I made it tighter. I like the way a real pumpkin doesn’t necessarily have a perfect rhythm to the creases on the outside and I wanted these fabric pumpkins to emulate that.
After repeating step 8 multiple times, I pulled out the hot glue gun to attach the stems. First I picked the sticks that would be the right size for my pumpkin, then I broke it and brought it in the house. Next, I took the hot glue gun and glued the stick in the middle of the top of the pumpkin.
Now that the neck and sleeves were turned into fabric pumpkins, I took the torso and began making custom-sized pumpkins.
First I cut the torso into multiple custom sizes. The sleeves and necks created pretty large pumpkins, so I cut the torso into smaller sections for some variety.
After the fabric was cut to size (6inx13in), I folded the piece of fabric in half and began sewing the open side (opposite the fold) closed with a sewing machine. By doing this I was creating the same template as the necks and sleeves.
Step 3Now that you have a piece of fabric that looks like the neck and sleeves you can go ahead and jump to Step 3 in the original instruction set and follow the remaining steps to create a custom fabric pumpkin.
In total, I turned three sweaters and one pair of unworn pants into fabric pumpkins. I love them! It’s like when I made the DIY Pot and Pan Rack. Not only did I create something that I’d been wanting, but I also made the pile of things lying around just taking up space a little smaller!
Before I go, I wanted to take some time to thank you all for all your support as I’ve embarked on this journey! It’s been such a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t want to do it without you. All of you are immensely valuable to me. All your kind words have helped encourage me to keep going! Not to mention all the help I’ve received from people letting me cut flowers, grasses, and the beautiful gifts of old heirloom pieces. You are wonderful! Yes, I’m talking about YOU!
Thanks again for stopping by! Don’t forget to follow along on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram! Have a great week! XoXoOpen Your Doors,Aliya
Resources for this project:See all materials
Jacx on Oct 24, 2020
Great info. I buy real pumpkins for the stems, then cut them off after the holiday. I let them dry, then I have a real stem to use.
Your method is much easier than the way I did it. Thanks.
By the way, I use dental TAPE when I make sheers that need gathering. I've also used it to make ruffles for petticoats! Just zig zag over the top, secure one end, pull away! Make sure NOT to catch the tape in the needle.