How to Make a Fabric Pumpkin Using Worn Flannel

hand sew how to make a pumpkin from cotton

Is there a pair of cozy flannel pyjamas, nightgown or shirt in your home, that's ready to hit the ragbag? If you're having trouble getting rid of the item due to sentimental attachment -- your child outgrew last year's holiday pjs, you remember wearing the shirt while visiting a friend who lives too far away, your beloved Aunt gave you that nightgown -- than, all the better. Here's an idea that will : (1) give you a way to hold onto the fond memory, (2) make a charming seasonal decoration for your home, and (3) provide the fun of easy-to-do hand-crafting, all rolled into one!

how to make a pumkin from old fabric cotton flannel reuse autumn crafting

To make our Poofy PJ Pumpkin, I used an old pair of my husband Nick's pyjama pants, that I'd bought him years ago so he'd have something fresh to wear when he traveled to the west-coast to visit his parents. His dad was so taken by Nick's natty nightwear, that he requested a pair of his own. So, I went out and found a second pair to mail to my dear father-in-law.

Since this technique calls for a section (a tube) cut from the sleeve or leg, the size of the original garment will determine the size of your finished pumpkin. You can make several from one pair of pyjamas, if you want.

how to make a pumpkin from old flannel reuse pajamas

What you need to make one yourself :

supplies to make a stuffed flannel pumpkin

- A piece of worn flannel, specifically a section of a sleeve or leg. Of course, new flannel fabric can be used as well, but that will involve an extra step.
- Some fiber-fill or a bag of cotton balls, depending on the size of your flannel.
- Some regular thread in a colour that matches the flannel, and a sewing needle.
- Some yarn or embroidery floss that matches the flannel, and a yarn/tapestry needle.
- A thin branch or a cinnamon stick.

How to make it :

making it piece of old pajama leg and needle threaded with two lengths of thread

↑ (1) Cut your fabric tube, from either the sleeve or leg, that's about an inch longer than it is wide, not including any hem part, so cut that part off first. It doesn't matter if the tube is tapered. Iron the fabric if it's overly wrinkled. (Thinking ahead : I'll be showing you another craft idea closer to the holidays -- how to make reusable fabric gift bags -- that will make use of a fabric tube that does include a hem, consider this when cutting your piece for the pumpkin, and leave yourself a piece measuring about 5 to 10 inches, with the hem left intact.)

(2) Thread your sewing needle with TWO pieces of thread that are at least twice as long as the width or your fabric tube, plus an inch or two. (you want a strong double thread so it doesn't break when you pull on it later).

hand stitching bottom running stitch

↑ (3) Turn your fabric tube inside out and do a running stitch about 1/3 of an inch from the bottom edge. If your tube is tapered, choose the wider end to be the bottom. Made sure the end of the thread doesn't get pulled along, through the fabric, as you'll be using the tail to tie in the next step.

top after running stitch finished

making it pull thread to gather

↑ (4) Pull to gather the fabric, and close the end as tightly as you can. Tie a good knot using both ends of the thread.

making it turn right side out bottom gather looks like this

↑ (5) Turn right-side out.

making it running stitch around top

↑ (6) Do the same along the top edge of the tube, but don't pull tight yet.

making it add stuffing

↑ (7) Stuff the tube with fiberfill or cotton balls.

top gathering will leave room for stick

↑ Image demonstrates that the stick will go through there, but pull it out before pulling gathering tight.

gather top leaving enough room for stick

↑ (8) pull tight, to form a poofy ball, making sure that the top gathering hole will be big enough to accommodate your branch or cinnamon stick. Push the ends of the thread down through the gathering hole.

making a fabric pumpkin round ball

(9) Measure your ball from bottom gathering to top gathering -- mine was 11 inches. Cut a piece of yarn that is double that measurement plus an inch or two. Thread onto tapestry needle, so the needle ends up in the centre of the piece, so the yarn is folded in half and therefore doubled in thickness.

making ribs indents in pumpkin with yarn

↑ (10) From the top gathering, push the needle right through the ball, coming out through the bottom gathering. Cut the end to free your needle. Pull the yarn (double thickness) tight to form a "rib" in your pumpkin, and then tie the two ends of yarn together with a good (triple) knot.


(11) Repeat to create as many ribs as you'd like (I made six in mine).

repeat tying all around

pull yarn to hide all the knots inside

↑ (12) Pull the yarn to turn the knots to the inside of the pumpkin, by going through the top gathering hole, and therefore pulling the raw edges of the top gathering down into the pumpkin. Repeat with all ribs.

cut branch fiskars clippers handmade diy

↑ (13) Cut your branch to a length equaling the height of your pumpkin, plus a few inches, so it will look like the stem of your pumpkin. Pass the branch piece or cinnamon stick throught the top gathering hole (that you previously left big enough to accommodate it).

finished handmade pumpkin using old pajamas flannel reuse

Note, I found a stick that I preferred after I took the photos above, so switched it out for the photos of the finished creation.

how to make a pumpkin from fabric recycling reusing upcycling flannel

handmade pumpkin made with recycled flannel pajamas how to diy

autumn crafting how to make a fabric pumpkin

squirrel in toronto

↑ This cutie was very curious to know what I was doing out there, and if, maybe I had some peanuts. ↑

a handmade pumpkin from reused upcycled cotton flannel pyjamas

And there you have it!

I love my poofy flannel pumpkin, and hope you'll feel the same way about the one(s) you make!

Wishing you a great weekend,
xo loulou
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