How to make an English Paper Pieced EPP Patchwork Pumpkin

Wow!  It's October already!!

I was just about to make a start on my Christmas quilting projects when I realised that my desktop scrap bins were overflowing!

pile of fabric scraps and offcuts

I save every last scrap of fabric - I don't like to waste anything.  After all, the fabric costs the same whether it is a yard, fat quarter or tiny snippet left from trimming down fabric squares for hexies...right?

I put all these little trimmings into a small plant pot on my desk and when that pot gets full, I use the contents to make a stuffed pincushion or decorative doo-dad!  You can never have too many decorative doo-dads can you?

collection of handmade pincushions made with hexagons or hexagonal in shape

 

I've even used them to stuff a patchwork teddy bear!

 

patchwork teddy bear made with various different scraps for each limb

This teddy bear will forever be a UFO as I can't bring myself to stitch his eyes on!  Am I the only one who has this problem??

 


Seeing as the seasons are turning and there has been a very autumnal chill in the air for the past few mornings, I decided that this time, I would make a patchwork pumpkin (or 3) and use the contents of the scrap bins to fill them up.

These pumpkins are super simple to make and only use 14 paper pieces so can be whipped up in no time at all.  Vary the size of your paper pieces and you can make a collection of super cute pumpkins in a range of sizes - each one totally unique.

Read on to find out how you can make you very own Patchwork pumpkin.


You will need:

  • 12 Pentagon Paper Templates
  • 2 Hexagon Paper Templates

You can get a set of Print at Home templates in 3 sizes here

(The size of template you use is up to you, but make sure that the pentagons and hexagons have a side length that is the same).

 

 

For this tutorial, I am using 1" pentagons and hexagons.

  • Assorted fabric scraps big enough to baste your papers with
  • Fabric and battings scraps and offcuts
Optional Supplies
  • Scraps of brown and green felt
  • Perle Thread (I used Wonderfil Perle Cotton #8 in shade 224)
  • Fabric Glue

 Let's get started!

1.  Baste your hexagon and pentagon templates using a variety of fabric scraps.

    hexagon and pentagon paper shapes basted with a variety of orange fabrics

    2. Surround each hexagon with six (6) pentagons.

      orange hexagon shapes surrounded by orange pentagons on all sides
      3.  Stitch your pentagons to each side of your hexagon shapes.
       orange hexagons with orange pentagons stitched to all sides

       

      4.  Remove the paper from each of the hexagon templates.

      using a small crochet hook to remove centre hexagon paper template
      I always punch a hole in my paper templates so they are easier to remove later on

       centre hexagon template has been removed from piece

      5.  Stitch the pentagon sides together to form a bowl shape.

      pentagon sides stitched together to form bowl shape
      6.  Repeat for both pieces/ halves.

      7. With right sides together, stitch both halves of your pumpkin together along the top edges of the pentagon shapes.

      two halves of pumpkin on top of each other with right sides facing in

      Remove the pentagon papers once you have stitched around all its sides.

      8. Leave 3 sides unsewn to allow for turning and stuffing.

      two halves of fabric pumpkin stitched together.  3 sides left unsewn

      9. Remove all the remaining pentagon papers from the unstitched sides and turn your pumpkin right side out.

      fabric pumpkin with all paper templates removed and turned right sides out ready for stuffing

      orange fabric pumpkin turned right sides out ready for stuffing

      10. Stuff your pumpkin with your fabric scraps and batting offcuts.  Cut your batting offcuts down to smaller pieces ~ 2" in size to make the stuffing easier and more even.

      orange fabric pumpkin with fabric scraps and batting offcuts placed inside

      Keep stuffing the scraps in (it takes a lot of scraps to produce a firm, ripe pumpkin!

      orange fabric pumpkin with even fabric scraps and batting offcuts placed inside

      Just when you think you've enough scraps in your pumpkin, add another handful!

      orange fabric pumpkin fully stuffed with fabric scraps and batting offcuts placed inside

      My pumpkin kind of looks like some strange orange clam now...

      11. Stitch your pumpkin closed using a ladder stitch.

      Insert your needle along the folded edge and take a small stitch ~ 1/8" long.

      Repeat on the opposite side.

      ...and again on the first side.

      Continue adding small stitches on both sides until you reach the end of the pentagon edge.  As the name of the stitch suggests, you create a "ladder" of stitches with the "rungs" bridging the gap between your pieces.

      Begin pulling on the end of your thread to draw the stitches tight and pull your two pieces closer together.  Be gentle and take your time - you don't want to snap your thread!

      Here's one of my open edges completely closed with a ladder stitch.  I knot the thread here before starting stitching on the next open side.

      By now, you should have a cute little squishy ball of fabric!  Isn't it cute? 

      I thought mine looked a little too much like a satsuma orange though and decided not to stop there.

      To add some definition and shape, I used Wonderfil #8 Perle thread to draw in the sides of the pumpkin:

      1. Thread a long darner or doll needle with a double length of thread and knot the ends together.  Cut a small circle of felt (~3/4") from your orange and brown felt scraps

      2. Place a scrap of orange felt in the centre of one of your fabric hexagons.  This will be the bottom of your pumpkin.  The felt scrap is to prevent damage to your pumpkin and stop your threads pulling through the fabric.

      Doh! My orange felt completely blends in to the fabric on camera...

      3. Insert the needle threaded with perle thread through the centre of this felt scrap and push it all the way through the pumpkin.  Try to come up in the centre (ish) of the opposing hexagon. (sorry I forgot to photograph this step)

      4. Thread the brown scrap onto the needle and push it down until it rests on top of the fabric hexagon.

      5. Take your needle around the pumpkin and re-insert it in the centre of the BOTTOM hexagon - through the orange felt.

      6. Bring the needle through the pumpkin and out of the TOP of the pumpkin as close to the centre of the brown scrap as you can.  Pull the thread tight and the side will draw in.

      7. Keeping the thread pulled tight, repeat until you have created 6 divisions on your pumpkin.

      8. Keep drawing on the thread tightly and secure the thread with a few knots, bury thread ends through the pumpkin and cut off any excess threads.

      9. Cut a leaf shape from your green felt scraps and attach to the top of the pumpkin.  There will be a little "dimple" in the top caused by your stitching and gathering of the perle thread.  I used a "little" bit of fabric glue to do this.  

      oops, a bit too much glue there, Alison!

      10. Roll a short length of brown felt into a tube and secure it with fabric glue or stitch.  I used glue as a) I used way too much in the last step and had it all over my fingers still and b) I was too excited to see the finished result and didn't want to stop to wash my hands, find a needle and some brown thread!

      11. Glue the stalk onto the top of your pumpkin.

      Stand back and bathe in the cuteness of your scrappy happy pumpkin!

      Or do like I did and grab a load of glittery leaf buttons and mess around trying to take stylish photos! Ha!

      Glamour shot - Work it pumpkin! Who's a tiger! Ha Ha Ha

      Yeah! - gotta love a glittery butterfly button!

      All joking and messing about aside, I do hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and that you feel confident enough to have a go at making your own English paper pieced patchwork pumpkins!  You can get a set of Print at Home templates in 3 sizes here if you can't wait to get stitching.

      I ended up making a whole family of pumpkins in 3 different sizes!  They are so adorable...and addictive!

      If there is anything that is unclear, please don't hesitate to contact me or leave a comment.  I'm here to encourage and inspire you to make your own amazing fabric creations!

      Until next time, 

      Happy Stitching!

      Alison xx

      p.s. If you've enjoyed reading this post, please consider taking a moment to share it in your favourite Facebook groups or leave me a comment (so I know I'm not just talking to myself).  I'd be very grateful if you did. xx

       

      2 comments

      • Many thanks easy to understand great pictures. Lyn B

        Lynette Brumby
      • Really clear concise instructions thank you Alison! So much so I’m going to have a go at making your lovely pumpkin!

        Teresa Evans

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