I’ve seen sweater pumpkins for a few years now around the internet and I thought they were cute and a great way to repurpose old sweaters, but it wasn’t until I saw a version at Hobby Lobby that I wanted to make some myself. I thought the ‘stem’ made by wrapping the sweater in jute twine was such a great idea. (Sorry I don’t have a link to show you – apparently these aren’t available on the web, only in-store and I didn’t snap a picture!)
To make your own adorable sweater pumpkins, simply hit thrift stores, tag sales or even your closets to gather some sweaters in colors you like. Since I love to transform thrift store items, this was just up my alley. I used two old wool sweaters – one from the thrift store and one of my son’s that he no longer wanted. The smaller cream pumpkins are made from the front and back of a shrunken women’s size and the larger brown version was made from probably an XL man’s size.
After that your next step is to wash with hot water and dry the sweaters to felt them. Although you don’t have to used wool sweaters that you’ve washed and felted, I think the tighter weave makes a nicer finished product.
These cute ‘pumpkins’ are SO easy to make and you really need only two things: sweaters and jute twine, plus scissors to cut.
Here’s how to make sweater pumpkins:
- Cut the sweater apart. Depending on the size pumpkin you want, you can use both front and back in one piece for one larger pumpkin or make two smaller ones from the front and the back separately. It doesn’t have to be square, as we will be trimming later.
- Place stuffing on the center of one of the sweater pieces, right side down. If you want to use the sleeves for something else and have stuffing material lying around use that to stuff, but I wanted to use the whole sweater, so I cut the sleeves apart and rolled them up to use as the stuffing. I used both sleeves in the bigger pumpkin and one sleeve each in the smaller, throwing the neckline in there too.
- Shape pumpkin and hold with a rubber band. Pull the sides of the sweater up, shaping and forming the stuffing into a ball as you do. When it looks right, use a rubber band to hold it together.
- Wrap with twine. Tie the twine around the bottom of the stem, over the rubber band, knot it, and then start wrapping tightly up the ‘stem’ for 1-2 inches, more solid at the bottom to cover the rubber band and then loosely up top. Then make your way back down with just a couple angled wraps and knot the twine a the starting point.
- Trim the stem top. Use scissors to trim the top closely to the twine to create the stem.
- Make optional twine sections. If you want sections on your pumpkin, simply use the twine to wrap tightly (pulling tight is key – it creates the shaping) around opposite sides, wrapping around the stem as needed and knotting at the existing knot. Pull the sweater a bit through the sections to shape.
I used the optional twine shaping on two of the pumpkins I made – the small one on the right doesn’t have the twine sections – and I like them both, so it really is up to you.
You can trim the twine a bit, leaving some to be like vine tendrils, or add leaves cut from felt, fabric or even book pages. I’m thinking of adding some leaves made with cream felt I have, but I’m not sure, as real pumpkins never have the leaves still attached (which I just realized, isn’t that funny? Almost all the faux pumpkins have leaves!).
I think they turned out pretty cute and coordinate nicely with the white and gray-green pumpkins I grow to decorate with. And you know me, I love that I was able to make this from stuff we already had!
Have you made sweater pumpkins? I’d love to know if you make these (or others) – you can share a picture on AOC’s Facebook page or use the hashtag #anoregoncottage on Instagram or Twitter and we’ll all be able to see!!
Catch more fall ideas from our seasonal decorating gallery and from all the good stuff I’m pinning to our Fall Decorating Pinterest board!
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