Halloween may be over, but pumpkin season is still in full swing. Pumpkins make perfect Thanksgiving decor, but I wanted a way to dress mine up to make it centerpiece-worthy. Since the pumpkins I found at the store were stripped of their vines and leaves when they were harvested, I decided to make some leaves to give my pumpkin a fresh-from-the-field look. The front of the leaves are embroidered with veins stitched with DMC floss; the backs hide the ugly side of the embroidery and make the leaves extra sturdy. I used a length of chain-stitched green yarn to make the vine that connects the leaves, but you could also use ribbon or twine.
To make a pair of pumpkin leaves, you'll need felt (I used WoolFelt from National Nonwovens in Blue Spruce and Sandstone), gold embroidery floss, green yarn, a sewing needle, a crochet hook, and scissors of course. Print the pattern below to the size you like. The leaves shown in the photos are 4 1/2 inches high and 5 inches wide. Cut two from green felt for the leaf fronts, and two from beige for the leaf backs.
Use the vein lines on the pattern as a guide for your embroidery. Here's the method I use: trace the lines onto tissue paper, pin the tissue paper pattern onto your leaf, and then embroider on the lines, sewing through the tissue paper and the felt. When your embroidery is finished, pull the paper away gently to reveal the stitches. You may need to use tweezers to remove any stray pieces of paper. I embroidered my leaves in two different ways. On one, I embroidered a single line of split stitch, which creates a delicate look. On the other, I began with a single line of split stitch, and then added lines of chain stitch around it for a more textured look. If you want to keep things simple, you could use backstitch or running stitch.
To assemble the leaves, pin the leaf fronts to the leaf backs. Tuck each end of your "vine" between the felt layers at the base of each leaf and pin them in place. Next, sew the pairs of leaves together with running stitch, sewing about 1/8 inch from the edge. Be sure to stitch the vine ends in place securely.
When it's time to dress your pumpkin up for Thanksgiving, wrap the vine around the stem like a scarf and let the leaves hang naturally to the sides.