Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kid craft: fleece jack-o-lantern pillow tutorial

our fancy-shmancy jack-o-lanterns!

The kids and I had a blast whipping up these hand-drawn jack-o-lantern pillows!  It was fun, easy, and something we use again and again, year after year.  All it takes is some orange fleece, some felt, fabric glue, and some polyfil.  You can use a sewing machine if you like, or you can go completely no-sew!  Here we go!

What we used:
  • paper and pencil or crayons
  • orange fleece or felt; we used 1.25 yards of 60" wide fleece (for 8 pillows)
  • black craft felt for the face
  • green craft felt for the stem
  • Aleene's Fabric Fusion glue
  • polyfil
  • thread
  • needle
  • sewing machine
  • embellishments -- sequins, glitter, slick paint, beads, buttons, etc.
  • for vines: green grosgrain ribbon, 1/4" dowel rod, clothes pins
**First, trace some round or oval shapes for your pillow onto the orange fabric. You'll need 2 shapes for each pillow. Be sure to leave yourself a 1/2" seam allowance.

**Cut out the pumpkin shapes. Kids can do the cutting with adult help/supervision, since felt/fleece is easy for kids to handle. Set the pumpkin pieces aside.
The pumpkin's face. . .
**Next, draw your pumpkin's face.

**Cut out the pumpkin's face from your drawings. This is the pattern you'll use to cut your pumpkin's face from the black felt.

With little one's imaginative drawings, the cutting can be a bit tricky. Here, I picked a couple of scribble lines, and cut along those lines. I let Monkey 7 decide which face feature each piece would be.

**Using the paper pattern, cut out the face features from the black craft felt.

Again, you may have to get a bit creative with cutting out the designs. I couldn't cut out each and every line Monkey 6 drew, so we decided to add more details later with glitter paint.

**Using the Fabric Fusion, glue the black felt face to the orange pillow pieces. At this point, you can also embellish the pillow with paints or glitters. Set aside and allow to dry according to directions. (We let ours dry for 24 hours, just to be on the safe side.)

**If you want to further embellish the pumpkin's face (with buttons, sequins, etc.) you need to do this after the glue has dried, but before assembling the pillow. Allow all glues or paints used to dry completely before assembling the pillow.
The stem. . .
**I don't have any photos of making the pumpkin's stem, but the felt pieces for the stems can be seen in a couple of the above photos. Cut a rounded rectangle from the green felt, making it twice as wide as you want the stem to be when finished. Fold the rectangle in half, and either stitch or glue the two of the rectangle's edges closed, leaving one short side (the bottom of the stem) open. Stuff the stem a bit with a little polyfil, if desired. Set aside.
The vines. . .
**Now, if you would like curly vines for your pillow, you can follow the instructions here to make them. Basically, you'll wrap the green grosgrain ribbon around a dowel rod. . .

. . . securing the ends of the ribbon to the rod with clothes pins. Set them on a foil-covered cookie sheet, and bake, yes bake, them in a 275-degree oven for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool, and remove from the rod.

Assembling your pillow:
Once the glue (and paints/glitters) have dried, you can assemble your pillow in one of two ways, the Sew, or No-Sew option.
Place your 2 pumpkin pieces together, with right sides facing each other. Position the stem and vines where you want them on your pillow, laying them inside your pillow, and pin everything in place. Either by hand, or with your sewing machine, stitch the pumpkin face and pumpkin back pieces together, leaving a 3" hole at the bottom for turning. Turn the pumpkin right side out, and stuff with polyfil. With a needle and thread, hand-stitch the opening closed using a whip or slip stitch.

So easy, even disgruntled teens can do it.
Place the 2 pumpkin pieces together, with the right sides facing out. Position the stem and vines where you want them, with the ends of the stems and vines placed just inside the pillow. Using the Fabric Fusion, glue the front and back pieces together, gluing near the fabric's edges, leaving a 3" hole at the bottom for stuffing. Pay extra attention to the vine and stem, and make sure to glue this area well. Pin the stem and vine in place, to hold them in place until dry. Allow the glue to dry according to the glue's directions. Stuff with polyfil, and glue the opening closed. Use straight pins or clothes pins to pinch the opening closed until the glue dries.

And that's it! I hope this was clear and easy to understand. (I tend to get too wordy sometimes.... sorry!) Please feel free to ask any questions or leave comments below. Have fun making your own pillow pumpkin patch!


  1. This was fun- mainly to see you and the monkeys having such a great time being creative together! Bravo!

  2. You are such a wonderful mother, these photos are great.


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