At age three, my daughter is old enough to have a clear opinion about her Halloween costume. The first time (and almost every time thereafter) I asked her what she wanted to be, she said she wanted to be a pumpkin. It surprised me. She constantly pretends to be a baby dog, a baby koala or a baby wallaby, so I expected she’d want to be an animal, like she has been for the past three years. But I guess she’s a traditionalist! I was happy to make her great pumpkin dreams come true.
After scouring Pinterest for ideas, a comically plump pumpkin design from the now dormant blog, Dahlhart Lane by Melinda Sieg (link here), inspired me. I loved the roundness of her pumpkin costume and the simplicity of the details. I knew that I wanted my little pumpkin to be as roly-poly as the boy in the pictures.
For the hat, I drew inspiration from another inactive blog, Staying Steyn (link here). The author, Chelsea, accessorized her baby’s adorable pumpkin costume with a gathered beanie featuring a stem and leaves. It was the perfect method to use for my own pumpkin top.
Creating the Pattern
To create my design, I started with a couple of basic tee shirt and leggings patterns. Underneath the pumpkin, my daughter wore black pants from the (free!) Movie Night Pajamas by Sew a Little Seam. The Reagan Raglan I made a few weeks ago (link here) with vine-green sleeves worked great on top. I also used the bodice from the Movie Night Pajamas as the pumpkin’s lining.
To create the rest of the pumpkin, I used the measurements from the bodice to inform my calculations for a modified sphere pattern. This pin helped me get through the math without having to think too hard.
I used the overall length of the bodice (from shoulder to hem) as the diameter (d). I chose to make six segments because that’s what it looked like Melinda had used. Instead of tapering the ends to a point, however, I made the top and bottom edges flat. The top edge equals the length of the neckline divided by the number of segments (six), and the bottom edge equals the length of the hemline divided by six. Having the bottom and top edges different lengths means that my pumpkin isn’t a perfect sphere, but that seemed more realistic and made attaching the sphere to the bodice really easy.
Choosing the Fabric
The entire pumpkin body and hat are made from 100% cotton interlock. I chose knit fabric because I wanted the costume to pull on and off like a tee shirt and I thought it would be more forgiving when I stuffed it.
I had originally selected cotton lycra jersey because I wanted the fabric to have good recovery. Unfortunately, I had a fabric order fiasco and ultimately resorted to using the only orange knit I could find. Luckily for me (and my daughter) it worked out!
To create the pumpkin ribs, I stitched ¼” swimsuit elastic along the vertical seam lines. The elastic measures 60% of the length of the seams, so I had to stretch it a lot while I sewed. Swimsuit elastic is ideal because it is lightweight and really stretchy. Different lengths of elastic would produce either deeper or shallower ribs. I felt like the 60% length ratio gave the ribs just the right amount of definition.
My daughter is a petite three-year-old, so I wanted to make sure that the costume wasn’t too heavy. I don’t want to carry her around on Halloween because she’s tired of hefting her costume. I opted for bean bag filling over poly fill stuffing because it weighs much less. There is a small zipper in the lining so I can remove the filler later. But after spending over an hour filling the costume with Styrofoam beads, I don’t think I ever will! If I made another one, I’d lengthen the zipper to make the filling process easier.
Perfectly Plump Pumpkin
I adore the look of my little pumpkin. It’s probably the costume I’m most proud of (so far!). And my daughter loves it too! I can’t wait to see her run from house to house this Halloween in all of her chubby glory.
Monster Mash Blog Tour
This post is part of the Monster Mash Blog Tour hosted by Tibeca Yao of Sewing by Ti (blog) and Simply by Ti (fabric shop). Check out the other Halloween inspired posts (links for dates in the future will become live on the day listed):
1st Sewing By Ti Intro | 2nd Sewing Blue | 3rd That’s Sew Lily | 4th Hazelnut Handmade | 5th Seams Sew Lo | 6th Sewing By Ti | 9th That’s Sew Amy | 10th Stitched By Jennie | 11th Hazelnut Handmade | 12th Seams Sew Lo | 13th Crafty Like a Rox | 15th Mermaids Den | 16th Very Blissful | 17th Robynne and the Bobbin | 18th Sewing By Ti | 19th Octaves of Color | 20th Tenille’s Thread | 24th Adventures with Bubba and Bug | 25th My Heart Will Sew On | 26th Ma Moose Handmade | 27th EYMM | 28th Mermaid Mama Designs | 29th The Fairy Dust Bin | 30th Doctora Botones | 31st Sew Like a Sloth
Happy sewing and happy Halloween!