I don’t normally do crafty items as a blog article, but this year so many we know are on tight budgets. I thought I would share some of my ideas to help you decorate for autumn and Sukkot.
For years I have been making fabric stuffed pumpkins to set around for decoration. Normally I run out to the store and buy fabric, bring it home to wash, dry, cut and sew. This year, I have been trying to do all that I can as inexpensively as possible.
I went through all of my old fabric scraps and found several pieces that are large enough to use to make pumpkins from. So many colours and patterns! And so very simple to make. For stems and tendrils I used an old brown paper bag and pipe cleaners. So far I have 18 pumpkins, with at least 3 more to finish before Sukkot! I may make more, depending on how much time I have to complete them AND how much stuffing I have to fill them all. To think, I just discovered an old curtain panel in autumn shades hidden in a box that would make two nice pumpkins if I cut it just right!
I thought I would share this idea with everyone along with a photograph of our “pumpkin patch,” to help encourage you to use items you may have laying around. You can easily create some great decorations that can be packed away and reused year after year.
A quick note about ours, though: although there may be ways that these can be created to be safe for outdoor use, ours are not. I will be watching the weather during Sukkot to make sure they are not damaged should bad weather creep in. I will need to bring them indoors at night, as well, because the dew has started collecting as the nighttime temperatures have gone down a bit.
It is nice to know that, with these little additions and our new grapevine wreaths and woodland sprays, the Sukkah will be all set for the feast. Yahweh has shown us once again that there is no need to spend a lot of money, and in fact, you may not have to spend ANY money to create a festive atmosphere for the Fall Feast days.
We would love to hear what fabulous ideas YOU came up with to decorate YOUR Tabernacle for the Feast?
Directions for The Stuffed Fabric Pumpkins
Skill level: Easy
First you need fabric that will compliment your decor or your other decorations. Which ever you prefer. Then you will cut the fabric a little over twice as long as it is tall.
The three common sizes that I use are:
16 inches by 21 for tall pumpkin
8 inches by 16 inches
13 inches by 32 inches
For Tiny Pumpkins, I found small scraps that were about 5 inches by 12 inches. They make cute little pumpkins to stick in nooks and crannies, or arrange in bowls and baskets.
For the big, green pumpkin in my photo I went a little larger. The fabric was about 25 inches by 14 inches.
After cutting the fabric to size, you will want to stitch the seam. Matching the shorter sides, in this case the 14 inch sides, stitch them together with a 1/2 inch seam. Now you will have a 24" circumference tube. I use the machine for this part, and stitch several tubes at one time. Once I have a stack of these tubes ready to go, I hand gather the bottom edge with needle and thread, then tie it off tightly. I also hand gather the top before stuffing, but do NOT pull it tight.
Next stuff it, making sure that it is well stuffed and yet not over stuffed. Pull the threads tight and hand gather the top, then tie it shut.
To create the pumpkin sections like a real pumpkin, you just take thicker thread (I usually use an upholstery thread). You CAN use yarn, but I don't usually like that look as much. Embroidery thread also works. Regular sewing thread breaks easily, and is not a good substitute. I also have a large, LONG needle. With a somewhat long piece of thread, thread the needle, tie knot in thread end. Run your needle through a little bit of fabric in the center of the bottom of the pumpkin, setting the knot. Wrap the thread all the way around the pumpkin, dividing it in half. Pull a little tight so that you have an impression at the thread. Tie a quick knot around the thread at the bottom. Do this three more times, tieing at the bottom for each section.
For the stem, I love to use old brown paper bags. They crumple nicely and look rustic. Grabbing just a small piece of brown paper, I roll it up to look like a stem, then glue it to the top at the center. I use a hot glue gun for this. Sometimes I use pipe cleaners for spirals or leaves left over from old silk flowers.
NOTE: Don’t have money to buy fabric? How about old men’s shirts? Old jeans? Your old Capris? Or pants? Got an old sheet or pillow case? Even an old tablecloth or curtain will work! So many different fabrics you might find laying around the house. Any of those old things can be turned into a stuffed pumpkin for around the house or Sukkah.
What about stuffing? Don’t have the extra money for a big bag or box of polyester fiber fill? How about a couple of old pillows that you were thinking of throwing out? Is the filling still good enough to use? OR - have you checked your paper shredder lately? I ran out of stuffing and needed to finish filling some pumpkins and found that the shredder was packed full. I used this to fill them! It wasn’t as easy to shape as the polyester fiber fill but it worked!
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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