Free Quilt Pattern: A Whimsical Pumpkin Centerpiece
By Terry White ©2012
This bright modern pumpkin patch centerpiece can stay on your table all season long. It can be also be used as a wall hanging. The design also works well as a quilt pattern. Add a few borders and it will be large enough for a throw….I think plaid in fall colors would be lovely.
I used linen as the base fabric for this quilt applique project. Linen can be found in the drapery section of your fabric store (sometimes on the bargain tables) and it is usually at least 50 inches wide. Good substitutes for linen are osnaburg and heavy weight muslin or homespun.
Wool felt is so easy to work with; it has so much body, comes in great colors and is easy to cut. You can simply fuse the wool to the linen and be done (as seen in the photo) or stitch it down….which I intend to do when I finish writing this quilt pattern for the Havel’s blog!
When you look at this design, you are looking down at the top of a large pumpkin. The pumpkin leaves and vines are surrounding the central pumpkin with little orange, purple and red pumpkins growing in the corners. This pattern was so much fun to design!
- Linen square cut 36”
- Linen or cotton fabric 36” square for back
- 18” squares of wool felt in the following colors:
- Gold, deep gold, orange, rose, purple, green
- Medium weight fusible interfacing 36” square
- Fusible web for backing 36” square
- 1 yard fusible web for appliqué pieces
- 30 weight cotton thread in orange
- 30 weight cotton thread in linen color
- 30 weight cotton thread to match wool felt (if you choose to stitch
the pieces down)
- Spray sizing or starch
- Fabric marker
- Mechanical pencil
- Optional colored fabric markers
- 90/14 machine embroidery needle
- Havel’s 5 ½” curved scissors
Start by preparing the linen or other even weave fabric. Cut it to 36” square. To do that, make a little cut at the 36” mark and pull threads. Cut along the line that the pulled threads make. When cut, pull a few more threads so that you have a fringe. Square up the fabric and press with sizing (I use a lot of sizing).
Next, fuse the iron-on interfacing to the back of the linen.
Fold the linen square in half and finger press a few inches in the center. Fold the square in half the other way and finger press the same way. Mark the intersection with a fabric marker. You will center the pumpkin stem on this mark.
Trace the pattern pieces onto the fusible web. I like to use a mechanical pencil. Trace all the pieces together that will be cut from the same color wool.
Iron the fusible web to the wool according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Carefully cut out the pieces. I like to use Havel’s small curved embroidery scissors because they give me better control. The curved blade helps me to cut lovely curved shapes.
Here is a tip for using fusible web: Pull away part of the paper backing before cutting out the shape. That way it is very easy to pull the paper away from the appliqué….it gives you a starting point.
As you cut out the shapes, lay them out on your ironing board or other fabric covered surface. This way, you can see if you like your color choices. Pull away the backing paper before you lay out your appliqués onto the linen. Arrange the shapes according to the photo. You can use a yardstick to help with placement. The central pumpkin is divided into eight equal parts, so you can line up the pieces along the yardstick top to bottom and side to side.
(Use your colored fabric markers to draw details on the small pumpkins if you are not going to stitch the appliqué down.)
To stitch details on the small pumpkins, turn each upside down and use a long straight stitch following the drawn lines on fusible web paper backing. Stitch each line three times. Use the colored thread in the bobbin. I used Star cotton orange variegated thread. I used the same color for the gold, purple and red pumpkins.
Trim the threads and pull the paper backing away.
Gather the threads to the back of the appliqué. When you iron the shape to the linen capture the threads underneath.
Lay out your pieces onto the linen and fuse. Set your iron to wool. The wool is thick and it takes a while to heat through the wool enough for the fusible to melt. Patience is required at this step. Heat a section at a time and go back over it several times. Once the fusible is melted and the felt is secure….it is really secure.
Here are the pretty threads I’ve chosen to stitch my appliqués.
The photo shows an open appliqué foot. I am using a buttonhole or blanket stitch and you can see that I can get right at the edge of the appliqué because I can see it. I lowered the top tension (thread tension) so that the thread can move freely and make a full beautiful stitch. I suggest you test your threads, settings and materials before stitching.
After all the stitching, the next step is to fuse your backing fabric to the back of the panel.
Make the backing about an inch smaller than your finished panel.
Fold and press the top of the panel to the back.
When starched linen is folded and pressed like this, it is very stable and doesn’t move around too much. However, if you want, you can use fabric glue or fusible hem tape to glue it in place.
Stitching from the top, use the linen colored thread and a large blanket or buttonhole stitch to sew along the edge. I use the same thread in the bobbin as the top, and lower the top thread tension for a full stitch. I used a variegated linen color thread.