Home Decor: Pennie’s Pumpkins

Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to remind everyone that today and tomorrow are the last days you have to enter for a chance to win this incredible Noel Mignon Blue Moon Daily Diary kit! All you need to do is create a scrapbook page inspired by one of my pages and post it to social media with the hashtag #liveinspiredchallenge. Details can be found on THIS GIVEAWAY POST. The winner will be announced on Friday! Good luck!


I serve with the most amazing gal in my congregation named Pennie Guinn. She is a crafting genius! She is the kind of gal who can see something made on the internet and break it down into steps that our 8 to 12 year old girls can recreate.


This month she prepared the most adorable craft project for our girls to work on … Fabric Pumpkins! She saw these pumpkins presented on a local lifestyle show called Studio 5 last year and decided to make them into a class, complete with instructions, to share and teach to others. She has been so kind to share those instructions and her pumpkins with me so that I could share them with all of YOU here on my blog! Thank you, Pennie!!!

I had a BLAST creating my little pumpkin! It’s something that is easy enough to knock out in an hour or so. You could even create a whole patch of them in different sizes, if you’d like. So fun!


As the girls worked, Pennie took the time to explain to them the value of learning a skill. We discussed how you could take a skill you have learned, the running stitch with a needle and thread, and use it in new ways. Here she is showing them doll clothes that she had made using fabric scraps when she was their age.The girls were FASCINATED! It was so cute!


Let’s put one together, shall we?! 😀


Pennie was so organized! She put together a kit for each of the girls with all of the supplies they would need.

Inside the kit was:

  • An 8×18″ rectangle of fabric, with the short sides stitched together to form a tube (also, with pencil lines across the top and bottom for the girls to use as a guide later)
  • a needle and two lengths of heavy thread
  • a baggie of walnut shell kitty litter
  • a bag of batting
  • 3 lengths of embroidery floss, approximately 30″ long each
  • a 3×3″ square of hand-dyed wool fabric for the stem
  • a hand-dyed wool leaf (I’m guessing she cut these with a manual die cutting machine, but you could also find a leaf shape online and handcut one if you would like.

Let’s get started!


  1. Cut a rectangle of fabric. Size: decide width, double this measurement for length of rectangle. If the width is 8″, then the length will be 16″. Approximate measuring is good enough. Adjust the measurements and proportions to make any size or shape. Remember, the “width” will result in the height of your pumpkin. (NOTE: The fabric in our kit was 8×18″. She changed the proportions for ours a little bit because she liked the way it looked.)


2. With right sides of the fabric together, fold the rectangle in half (two 8″ edges together); sew 1/4″ seam, backstitching at the beginning and end. This will make a tube (7-1/2″ x 8″).

3. Start with wrong side of fabric out. With strong thread, hand sew a running stitch (big 1/4″ stitches are okay) all around the edge of one side of the tube 1/4″ from the edge. (Note: you are not sewing the fabric together, you are just stitching all along the top edge of the tube.) Pennie drew a pencil line as a guide for the girls to follow.


Pull to gather tight and knot well to secure. When finished, turn fabric right side out, with the seam on the inside. The gather will form the bottom of the pumpkin.


4. Put 1 cup ground walnut shells kitty litter in a baggie. Place in bottom of the pumpkin for weight.


Fill the rest of the pumpkin with batting. Don’t pack too tightly. It will need a little bit of “give” to tie the spines on later.


4. Gather the top of the pumpkin in the same way you did the bottom, stitching all along the edge…


… and then pulling together and tying knots to secure. There will be a small hole at the top of the pumpkin. This is where we will tuck in the stem.


But first, we are going to create the spines of the pumpkin!

5. Spines of Pumpkin: Cut 3 lengths of embroidery floss to about 30″ long. Using all 6 strands of the floss together, start at the top of the pumpkin, wrap all around and back to the top. Pull and knot. Do this two more times, spacing the floss around the pumpkin in equal wedges, creating 6 “spines.” Don’t cut the ends!


6. Stem: Use a short piece of a stick and poke into the hole at the top of the pumpkin. OR you can roll up quilt fabric or wool (3×3″ square), and poke in the top hole for the stem. Use a pencil or something similar to help you work the stem down into the hole.


Add a wool leaf, by tucking the end in the same hole with the stem. If desired, you can make a stitch or two to secure the leaf in place. We just tucked them in.


7. Tendrils: Dampen the embroidery floss with starch (I actually used hairspray on mine, hehe!), and wrap around a pen or pencil. Tape the ends, if needed, to hold the threads in place while they dry. (We placed a folded paper towel underneath the pencil to protect the fabric of the pumpkin.)


When dry, gently unwrap the tendrils; trim and separate as desired.


Camryn LOOOOOVED this activity! Can you tell?! She enjoyed learning how to do a running stitch and being able to create something that she will keep and use forever! I told the girls to put their pumpkins safely in their “hope chests” so that they can enjoy them year-after-year. Infact, they could even teach their own children how to create a pumpkin someday!


Pennie shared with me more of her adorable pumpkins … I love all of the different fabrics she used, and the way she adorned some of them with beaded tendrils, and even charms! So CUTE!


MORE IDEAS (from Pennie):

These cute pumpkins are great for using up your fabric stash. Consider a variety of colors, not just typical “fall” ones. I have tried different sizes; have found big ones (size of a real pumpkin) take a ton of batting and aren’t as charming as the small ones, in my opinion.

These are simple enough for a family craft. If the cutting and machine sewing is done in advance, children old enough to sew with a needle can do it with some adult help.

A small one, packed with more walnut shells and batting makes a cute pincushion.

They make nice hostess gifts, are light-weight to mail, and easy to store. Make a bunch and enjoy.


(Credits: Design: Kris Thurgood, My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shop, guest on Studio 5)


I KNOW! You are itching to go make yourself an entire patch of pumpkins now, aren’t you?! And guess what?! They are so easy to do … you could even create several of them to decorate your Thanksgiving table if you’d like. I hope you’ll share your pics with us! We both would love to see them!

Have fun!


3 thoughts on “Home Decor: Pennie’s Pumpkins

  1. Absolutely adorable! Thanks for the instructions/sharing. Any material you choose will produce a gorgeous pumpkin. So good to again see you posting frequently.


  2. Wow! What a great tutorial and such a fun project! I think I would like to try this with my girls next fall. Hopefully I can remember. 😉


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