Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 Easy Pumpkins for Fabric Lovers (There's still time!)

It's the night before Halloween, and OMG, you completely forgot to decorate! Me too! That's okay, if you're a quilter and have ten minutes, it's just enough time and more than enough materials to make these. Numbers 1-3 have to be the fastest fabric craft ever invented (not by me). 

Along with the supplies of which you have plenty (fabric scraps), you will need some kind of stuffing (bits of fabric/batting work in a pinch), plus string, ribbon, yarn, rick-rack, rattan, wire, etc - anything much longer than it is wide. 

# 1. Hippie Pumpkin Find something that you/your mother/your grandmother wore when orange and brown were trendy (such as, in this case, my mother's 1960s-era orange-and-brown psychedelic halter top outfit:)
Can you imagine wearing this fabric? Fortunately, my mom looked good in everything. So do pumpkins.

To make: Cut the rectangle to 15" x 6". Fold the strip in half wrong side out (if it has a wrong side), and stitch the two short ends together. Then hand stitch a loose running stitch all the way around the bottom, in a circle, with strong thread, and pull tight, gathering it. Knot and cut off the thread. Turn right side out, insert stuffing. Locate vintage rick-rack and wind wedges into the pumpkin and around the stem. Tie off, and done.  

2. Finished Stem Pumpkin. Same idea, but with a one-sided print fabric . Because the back is different than the front, cut this piece wider: 15" x 10" high.  Fold down the long top edge, to the back, by about 3". Stitch the short ends together, gather at the bottom as for pumpkin 1, and find something to wrap to create wedges and the stem. Note that at the top of the stem, the wrong side doesn't show! I'm easily impressed. 

3. Treat Pumpkin: Use a woven homespun plaid (both sides are the same and it may have a  fuzzy selvage at the top edge.) Fill the pumpkin with small treats (ideally chocolate) and/or containers of dental floss, wrapped with tissue paper to fluff them out. Tie off with a ridiculous amount of shiny rat tail. Give it to someone who will appreciate it (such as another quilter who loves woven plaid scraps almost as much as chocolate). 

It's fun to experiment with different windings, such as 'Compulsive' 
And 'Uninhibited': 
4. Flattened Pumpkin Coaster Now we're moving into quiltier territory of 2-D:
Obtain a 4" x 6" piece of stiff interfacing with fusible on one or both sides, such as Peltex (any thick interfacing is fine); and scraps of an orange batik with lots of variations in it. (Felt works if you have nothing else.)

Cut the Peltex into a pumpkin shape. Cut the fabric into smallish pieces and press them to one side of the interfacing. (Do it on top of a nonstick press sheet to protect your ironing board on bottom, if you're using two-sided interfacing.)

Where the fusible doesn't show, or if there's no fusible, use a plain glue stick to adhere the pieces.

On the reverse side, adhere a single, different pumpkin-ish piece of fabric. When both sides are fused or glued in place, free-motion quilt vertical arcs from the pieced side. Finish the edges with a tight zig-zag (cord the edging if you have time).

Find a stem-colored streaky batik (I used green, you could use brown, or your imagination; grosgrain ribbon would be nice too) and rough-cut a 1.5" x 6" strip. Fold it into a loop, gather it underneath a button. Stitch down the button. Nice coaster, wall hanging, or bookmark. Kids can make a face on it, cutting shapes from black fabric backed with fusible web. Or, they can cut holes to make the facial features. You can also adhere it to a postcard. And speaking of postcards:

5. Freeform Modern Liberated Pump Kin (sic) Postcard (Shown at the top of the page).  Start as in project 4, with a piece of  sturdy interfacing (ideally with fusible on one or both sides) cut to 4" by 6".  Cut a square of orange fabric to 3" x 3". Polka dots are always the perfect choice. Center it on the postcard and press in position. Cut four 1.5" grey squares. Set them, one by one, on top of each corner of the pumpkin fabric and stitch along their diagonals. Fold the inner corners of the grey fabric outward along the stitching line, and press down.  Now the pumpkin has 8 sides and softer angles. Cut two squares of grey fabric that are approximately 2 1/4" x 2 1/4". Using a quarter-inch seam allowances, stitch one, face down, along the right edge of the pumpkin-and-triangles. Stitch the other one, face down, to the left edge. Open them outward, and press flat in position. 

Now cut a strip of grey fabric that's 2" x 6.5", and stitch it horizontally along the bottom of the pumpkin unit. Fold it open and down, and press. 

Finally, cut another grey strip to 2" x 6", cut it in half, and insert a piece of brown (or other stem colored fabric) that's about 1.5" wide by 2" high. Stitch the three pieces together with the stem in the middle. Align it along the top edge of the pumpkin unit, face down, and stitch along the top edge. Press up and open. 

Trim all the top fabrics back to the size of the interfacing underneath, i.e. 4" x 6". 

Free-motion quilt a message. I wrote "Pump Kin Post Card." It's for sending to kin? To pump them for homemade pie? For Thanksgiving? Or Thanksgivvukah? OK, it's yet another wallhanging/bookmark/mug rug! 

Extra credit (and a few extra minutes): If you won't be putting the postcard in the mail as is (but might send it in a padded envelope) add a row of orange-ish buttons to the bottom. 

Adhere a light colored plain fabric on the back (for messages). Use fusible web if the back doesn't already have fusible. When both sides are covered with fabric, and all edges are cut even, zig zag around the edges to finish. 

You're done! Strew these things about! Your home is now adequately and creatively decorated! Happy Halloween! 

Update: #6. Pumpkin fabric decoupage. People do it. Really - just Google it. If you use a fake pumpkin as the base, you never have to throw the pumpkin (and, more importantly, its fabric) away. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Cathy! I know what I will be doing funny. What great tutorials!


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