Title page showing pink and ivory fabric pumpkins made out of recycled sweaters on a dinning table. Printed on the image is the title, “How to Make Sweater Pumpkins DIY”.

How to Make Sweater Pumpkins DIY

Hey y’all, who’s ready for fall?   Yeah, me either…. Truth be told I am never ready for fall.  Sure, I’m ready for cooler weather, but shorter days and more things on the schedule, no thank you.  Not to mention that I always seem to struggle with the fall decor at my house…I just don’t have a lot of stuff that goes with orange.  

Well, I have finally found a fix for that! And a way to put that old sweater to use.  You know the one…it always hangs in the far back corner of your closet and hasn’t fit since college…just me? Okay then, I’ll literally air out my laundry for y’all and you can just go thrift some sweaters. Regardless of where your starting sweater comes from, this is by far the simplest fall DIY. Its such a quick and easy way to create fall decor pieces that go with the rest of your house!!  Win win, right?!  

Everyone, say hello to sweater pumpkins, your new fall best friend!   

Start with a sweater and end up with 3-6 adorable and color coordinated pumpkins!   Sweaters really do make the best pumpkins.

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. MEANING, I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU GO THROUGH THEM AND CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE. PLEASE NOTE, THAT I ONLY INCLUDE LINKS TO PRODUCTS THAT I BELIEVE WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOU, NOT BECAUSE OF THE COMMISSION I RECEIVE. REST ASSURED THAT THERE WILL BE NO ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED TO YOU IF YOU CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH ONE OF MY LINKS.

I’m also teaming up today with some amazingly talented bloggers and friends, so stick around at the end to check out what they’re all up to this week! My dear friend, Kippi, of Kippi at Home got all of us like-minded-crazy-crafting-folk together for your DIYing pleasure today.

Y’all know that I just live for giving used fabric a second life. And this project is the best for that! And, bonus, you use nearly every part of the starting garment! 

There are also several ways to do this, so you can chose which way you go, based on what you have on hand.   Projects with a short shopping list are my favorite!

No Sew Sweater Pumpkins

Sweater Pumpkins DIY (minimal sew)

Alright then, first things first

Where to get your upcycle sweaters

Your closet!

I know, I know, we all want to believe that we have the most organized closet that only contains clothes we actually wear, but I know my truth. And I could almost guarantee that the majority of you, are, like me, holding on to some items that haven’t been worn in years! So, before you head to the store, give it a good once over. This project would be the perfect way to showcase that sweater you hold on to for sentimental reasons (like your pre kids body) and not for actual wear, lol. I forgot to do this first and actually purchased some sweaters as well. Once I checked my closet I found that the store trip wasn’t even necessary! Oops…lesson learned. You could also upcycle sweatshirts into pumpkins with these same steps.

Goodwill or other Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are my favorite place, by far, to buy fabric for any craft. You can read all of my best tips and tricks to thrift fabric shopping here. Goodwill is my personal favorite and for a project like this, you’re going to want to go on SUNDAY. Yes, ONLY on Sunday for this craft. Do not tempt yourself to spend more than $1.00 per sweater. Once you get there, check the sign up front, for the color of the week, and then scan the sweaters for that color tag.

I’ll give you a hint as to what color it was when I went, lol.

On Sundays, all items marked with the color of the week are only $1.00! Earlier in the week they are half price which is still good but usually still more than $2.00 ea.

Garage sales or other

Most of the time this is your cheapest option (assuming you don’t have any suitable sweaters already in your closet). At most garage sales, people will sell adult clothing for $0.50 or $1, per item and will usually discount it further if you get many items. So, I would get in the habit of scanning that clothing rack at every garage sale in the future!

No matter where you get your sweater, don’t forget to give it a trip through your laundry before crafting with it.

Now, on to our pumpkin making:

My No Sew Sweater Pumpkin Tutorial

You will need:

  • 1 sweater or other knit top
  • twine
  • hot glue and hot gluegun
  • rubber bands
  • fabric scissors
  • fiberfil or a cheap (and new) bed pillow
  • optional, leafs or other decor (I went with a diy macrame pumpkin leaf and a diy leather pumpkin leaf for each)

First things first, lay out your garment. Cut off sleeves with a cut parallel to the cuff of the sleeve and just below where the sleeve attaches to the body at the underarm area. Then cut horizontal from underarm area to underarm area like this:

You now have 3 tubes of fabric to work with. You also have the option to cut halfway down the sleeve as well. This will give you two shorter tubes of fabric per garment arm. I choose to do this and ended up with 5 pumpkins from this garment.

Now, take one of your tubes of fabric and turn it inside out. If its wider at one end, place the wider opening closer to you and the narrower opening away from you as shown.

Take one of your rubber bands, I am using a tiny hair tie, because, in a house with two toddler girls, I have a lot of these on hand. But, you can use any rubber band or elastic band that you have on hand. Next, I gather the fabric together and rubber band it about 1/3 of the way up from the widest opening. I then take a 12″ piece of twine, or any string, and tie it around my rubber band. This way if the rubber band ages poorly overtime and breaks, the string will keep the pumpkin from falling apart. You could definitely skip the rubber band step if you wanted, I just found it easier to work with using them both, in combination, like this.

Now, turn your garment right side out, working from the top down, so your top 2/3rds is right side out and your bottom 1/3rd is inside it, We’ll refer to the bottom 1/3rd, that is now inside, as the core.

Proceed to fill it with fiberfil or other stuffing. Put a little bit of fill on all sides of the core until it looks something like this.

NOTE: I found a long time ago that I could get cheap bed pillows much cheaper than fiberfill so I always keep an extra new $3.00 bed pillow on hand for occasions such as these.

Next, gather the top outside edge of fabric together around the core and place another rubber band to hold it in place. Don’t worry about tying this one with string, since were about to wrap it and it will soon be secured with both the twine and hot glue.

Now, plug in your hot glue gun and take a minute while its heating up to finesse your pumpkin. If you pull on the core, you will end up with a shorter and wider pumpkin. I personally love a pattypan squash look to my fabric pumpkins and do this every time. I’ve found it to be especially attractive in the larger pumpkin made out of the body of the sweater. You can also easily remove the rubber band at this point and move fiberfill or add more if you need to.

Once you like the look of it add any leaves or other decorations. Anything that you would want to anchor under the twine stem. I added a macrame pumpkin leaf and a natural leather leaf. If you forget, you can always add it later and then cover it in more twine. That’s what I had to do on this first pumpkin and the only one where I photographed my steps….whoops.

Now, place some hot glue around the base of the stem and begin to wrap with the twine. Add more hot glue as needed as you continue to wrap up the stem.

Once you like the height of it, take your good fabric shears and cut the fabric to give it that flat top.

Continue to add more glue and cover the top with a coil of twine.

Voila, your upcycled sweater is now a pumkin! Repeat these steps for the other tubes of fabric and you will have a cute little family of pumpkins for your home!

Now, on to our next sweater pumpkin tutorial, the one with VERY MINIMAL sewing.

DIY Sweater Pumpkins

This one is my personal favorite, I just love the indents created with the string and the wood beads I used for the top. I’ll definitely be making more of these to gift to others soon, because this project is too cute to keep to myself.

You will need:

  • 1 sweater or other knit top
  • cotton string, twine, or embroidery floss
  • wood beads
  • rubber bands
  • fabric scissors
  • fiberfil or a cheap (and new) bed pillow
  • optional, leaves or other decor (I went with 1 DIY macrame pumpkin leaf and 1 DIY leather pumpkin leaf for each)

Again, start by laying out your garment and mapping our your cuts. I made two large pumpkins out of the body of the sweater and one medium and one small pumpkin out of each sleeve by making the cuts shown below.

Now that you have your fabric tubes turn them inside out.

Next, I chose to gather the bottom of my pumpkin using the no sew method I showed you above. I again used a rubber band and then string, but you could also do a running stitch along all of it and cinch it up if you so choose. You’ll see an example of how to do this below, since that’s how I had to cinch up the top of this one.

Then again, I turned it right side out and placed it open side up, like a bowl.

Fill it on up with fiberfill or other pillow stuffing until you like the size and shape of it.

Then use a running stitch and thick thread or cord. I chose to use a very long doll making needle and cotton cord but you can really use anything you have on hand.

Just make sure that whatever string you use, it’s super durable. It will need to be when you use it to pull the top of your pumpkin together. When in doubt, double and triple it up, just to be safe.

Now, give it a real good tug and tie it off. I chose to tie it off close to the end of my thread so I could use the rest of it to string up my beads for the stem.

Now it’s time to add the beads! I used natural wooden beads and changed the number based on the pumpkins size. For the little ones, I used 2 beads, for the medium pumpkins, I used 7, and for the large pumpkins I used 14. Feel free to change up the number based on your personal style or the shape and size of your pumpkins.

Use the remaining thread on your needle to string on your beads. Or tie it off and anchor it again if you don’t have a lot left.

For the large and medium sized pumpkins, I started by creating a ring of beads at the base of the stem and then anchoring that in place. For the large pumpkin, I then added another bead in the center. Next, for the large pumpkin, I created a second smaller ring of beads on top of that and again anchored it in place. Finally I added three more beads for the top. In order to do this I went up through all three and back down through only the bottom two.

Time to add those cute indents along the side. For this you use the same string and needle you’ve been using. drive the needle straight down through the middle and out the middle of the bottom. Then bring it back up and around the side of the pumpkin and repeat. Each time you do this turn your pumpkin a little bit so you get cute little sections. Repeat as many times as you feel is esthetically pleasing.

Once you have all of your sections anchor the string around one of the base of the pumpkin stem and attach your leaves or other decor.

Then tie it off and you are DONE!!! It sounds like a lot but I promise it actually goes really fast! 

Now that I’ve gotten y’all in the fall spirit, its time to check out these other great fall projects by some of my favorite bloggers and friends. And if you start now, you can try them all before fall even begins! I especially love how Renae of Peacock Ridge Farm repurposed her faux pumpkins, isn’t the plaid just adorable? I can’t wait to try some of these DIYs myself soon.

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST CONTAINED AFFILIATE LINKS (*). MEANING, I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU GO THROUGH THEM AND CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE. PLEASE NOTE, THAT I ONLY INCLUDE LINKS TO PRODUCTS THAT I BELIEVE WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOU AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE COMMISSION I RECEIVE. REST ASSURED THAT THERE WILL BE NO ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED TO YOU IF YOU CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH ONE OF MY LINKS. 

22 thoughts on “How to Make Sweater Pumpkins DIY”

  1. I love these. What a great way to repurpose sweaters and you end up with a variety of sizes because of using the different parts of the sweater. You’re right, the extra time to do the stitching makes a big difference!

    1. Right?! figuring out how to use all of the sweater made my frugal and responsible side so happy, but I didn’t expect to love the variety of sizes it offered, nearly as much. But I do! They’re more like real pumpkins, since they’re all a little bit different! Thanks for checking it out today, I’m so glad you stopped by 🤗

  2. Allison, I just love the unique way you’ve embellished your pumpkins…the macrame tassels, leather leaves and wooden bead stems look so chic! Your step by step tutorial is very well done. I’m drawn to both styles of your sweater pumpkins. Pinned!

  3. Allison, your sweater pumpkins are absolutely adorable! I have a few sweaters saved from last year that I can use for this project. Your directions are so clear and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing! It is always fun to hop with you!

    1. Aww, thanks Lynne, you are too sweet. I can’t wait to see how yours come out. I love how they become completely different depending on the starting garment. It makes it so versatile! Thanks for stopping by to check them out today, such a treat hopping with you 🙂

  4. The pink pumpkins are so darling. The stems and leaves are super creative. Thanks for sharing your great process. Happy to hop with you!

    1. Thanks Kippi, they were so much fun to make. I have a feeling it’ll be the first of many pumpkin themed posts this fall. I can see why you said that you’re always making pumpkins, lol! Thanks for stopping by to check them out today 🙂

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