Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stuffed Halloween Pumpkin Toy

This pumpkin/jack-o-lantern toy will help young children learn the names of face parts and increase fine motor and cognitive development by learning to place the parts on the pumpkin. However, the parts are small and since tots are prone to putting things in their mouths, they should not be left unsupervised with the toy.

These are the basic supplies you will need to make this toy.

Orange fleece for the pumpkin, green felt for the stem and black felt for the face. Black, green and orange embroidery thread, freezer paper, velcro, pliers and tweezers are useful. You will also need some polyfill for stuffing (which is not pictured).

 First cut a rectangle any size you would like just make it twice as long as wide. I cut mine 16.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches high. Fold the fleece in half matching the 8.5 inch ends and stitch a 1/4 inch seam. Next thread a needle doubling the thread and with basting stitches sew one edge of your rectangle. Pull the stitches tightly to gather and close the opening. Knot the thread ends tightly to secure. Do the same at the other end and gather it to close the opening.

Next thread a needle with the black embroidery thread (I used 6 could also use perl cotton for this) and take a stitch at one end. Pull the thread down the side and take a stitch at the other end. Continue to pull the thread up and down the sides at various points to create the pumpkin segments. 

The pliers come in handy to help grasp and pull the needle. Pull the thread tightly after each stitch. When you have created as many segments as you want, knot the thread and cut. Don't worry about how the gathered ends look because they will be covered.

Next take your freezer paper and draw a star-like shape and a circle that is about 2 inches in diameter.

Cut your drawn patterns out and press the freezer paper star to green felt and the circle pattern to orange fleece. Cut out your shapes from the material. Next take the green star and using 3 strands of the green embroidery thread sew it to the top of the pumpkin using a back stitch or whatever embroidery stitch you desire.

Do the same thing with the orange circle and orange embroidery thread at the other end of the pumpkin.

Next make the stem by cutting a piece of green felt that is 2 inches x 2.5 inches. Fold the short ends in 1/4 inch (the top and bottom of the stem) and press. 

Fold the stem in half lengthwise and sew a 1/4 inch seam.

Turn the stem right side out (this is a little difficult as acrylic felt is not that stretchy) and stitch one end closed using a whipstitch or ladder stitch. Double your thread for extra strength. This is a toy after all and we don't want it falling apart when those little hands start squeezing and pulling.

Next stuff the stem with the polyfill. Use the tweezers to get the fill into the stem.

Stitch the opening closed. Cut two small dots of to fit on the end of the stem; sew it on. I used sticky velcro so it would stay in place while I was sewing, but the adhesive on the velcro makes it very hard to pull the needle and thread through. Beeswax is helpful in keeping the needle and thread clean and the pliers come in handy for grabbing and pulling that needle.

Sew the other dot of velcro onto the top of your pumpkin. Now the stem can be put on and pulled off of the pumpkin.

You are almost done! Now cut out whatever the eyes, nose and mouth shapes from the black felt. They can be whatever shapes you would like. Cut out small pieces of velcro to sew onto the face shapes and onto the pumpkin. Again the pliers come in handy and doubling the thread makes the sewing more secure.

Put the shapes in place on the pumpkin and you now have a jack-o-lantern....

or two!

Feel free to make as many jack-o-lanterns as you want, but please just make them for your personal use. Happy Halloween!

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