Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins with Cabinet Knob Stems

Wait, don't throw out that old sweater, even if it's stained. They can be recycled into things like pillow covers and other Fall and Winter decor. I turned one of my stained and stretched out of shape ones into pretty cotton terry knit sweater pumpkins with repurposed vintage kitchen cabinet knobs for the stems.

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins For Fall

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins with Cabinet Knob Stems

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. At no cost to you, we receive a small commission if you make a purchase.

These sweater pumpkins are not difficult to make and I share a detailed step-by-step tutorial further down in this post. Using looped cotton terry knit for my pumpkin patch gives the sweater pumpkins such lovely texture.

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins

Everything about these sweater pumpkins has been repurposed, including the salvaged upholstery fabric for the pumpkin leaves.

Sweater Pumpkins Salvaged Upholstery Fabric Leaves

Don't fret if you don't have cabinet knobs to use for pumpkin stems. Think outside the box by using things like tree branches, chair spindles, large Fall bows, or dried pumpkin stems.

Sweater Pumpkins With Kitchen Cabinet Knob Stems

The neutral white of my sweater pumpkins works well with any decorating style.

White Sweater Pumpkins

You may have everything you need to make a sweater pumpkin by shopping your closets. Look for sweaters with interesting textures like cable knit, ribbed knit, or multi-stitch patterns. Use sweaters in beautiful fall colors or patterns, like argyll sweaters for example.

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkin Patch

The inexpensive sweater I'm using lost its shape after the first wash. Instead of throwing it out, the looped knit makes for an interesting texture for sweater pumpkins.

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Recycled Shirt

Supply List

Instructions for looped knit sweater pumpkins

These sweater pumpkins are made much the same as my Farmhouse Red Ticking Fabric Pumpkins. In that post, I include a step-by-step tutorial as well as a short video tutorial.

Step 1 - Take apart the sweater

Cutaway the seams with sharp scissors like pinking shears to eliminate fraying. Remove the sleeves and cut along the side seams.

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Shirt Taken Apart

Step 2 - Measurements for cutting sweater pumpkins

The trick to measuring your sweater fabric is to divide the width in half to get the height. I recommend making the pumpkins in multiple sizes.

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Cut Shirt

Large Fabric Pumpkin: 20-inches wide x 10-inches tall
Medium Fabric Pumpkin: 16-inches wide x 8-inches tall
Small Fabric Pumpkin: 12-inches wide by 6-inches tall

  1. Starting at the bottom of both the front and back of the sweater, measure the width.
  2. Divide that measurement in half to get the height. Eg; if your sweater is 20-inches wide then the height of this piece will be 10-inches.
  3. Repeat that same formula moving your way up to the neckline.
  4. I got four pumpkins out of the front and back of my sweater.

Step 3 - Sew sweater pumpkin side seams

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Cut Seams

  1. Fold each piece with the short sides together inside out.
  2. Sew the short sides together. If you don't have a sewing machine you could hand stitch the side seams or use fabric glue for a no-sew option. 
  3. Leave one end open with a raw edge.
  4. Sew the other end using a tacking or basting stitch (largest stitch setting), leaving long strands of thread on either end (pictured above).

Step 4 - Stitch the sweater pumpkin bottom seam

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Gathered Bottom Seam

  1. Gently pull on one strand of thread and gather the fabric.
  2. Repeat by pulling the top strand of thread on the opposite side. 
  3. Tie each end to secure the gathers.
  4. Turn the pumpkins right side out.

No-Sew Option

Gather the fabric in your hand and tie it off tightly with an elastic band.

Step 5 - Fill the sweater pumpkins

Fill each pumpkin with batting (I used what I had on hand).

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Stuffed

Step 6 - Sew the sweater pumpkins closed

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Top Seam

  1. With a needle and white all-purpose thread, draw the fabric together at two opposite points and sew together.
  2. Repeat by gathering the other two opposite points.
  3. Continue around the pumpkin until all the points are drawn to the center and sewn together (pictured above).

Step 7 - Make pumpkin ribs

Take caution during this step or like me, you'll be sporting a bandage.

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Twine Ribs

  1. With a long upholstery needle, thread a long strand of twine through the eye of the needle.
  2. You will want something to help push the needle through the bulk of the pumpkin as you work, like a plastic cutting board.  
  3. Starting from the top, pull the twine through the pumpkin and out the center of the base, leaving a long strand at the top (the first tendril).
  4. Holding the tendril in place with your thumb, pull the thread over the pumpkin and insert the needle into the center and back through the base.
  5. Wrap it over the opposite side of the pumpkin and pull taut to form the first two ribs and tie in a knot to hold in place.
  6. Repeat 3-5 until you have eight ribs like pictured above and tie in a knot to secure.
  7. There should be two long strands of twine hanging from the center of the pumpkin.

Step 8 - Add cabinet knob stems

  1. Poke a hole through the top and down to the bottom of the pumpkin with an Awl.
  2. Squish the pumpkin as tight as you can and pull the stem of the cabinet knob through the hole and out the bottom of the pumpkin.
  3. Place the nut onto the stem and tighten.

Step 9 - Curl the sweater pumpkin tendrils

Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins Curled Twine Tendrils

  1. Pour some Mod Podge into a small bowl.
  2. Tip the pumpkin upside down and dip the twine strands into the Mod Podge and remove the excess by running your fingers along the twine.
  3. Wrap the twine around wooden skewers or pencils.
  4. Before they are completely dry and attach themselves permanently, gently slide the tendrils off and let them completely dry while curled.

Step 10 - Add the fabric leaves

The leaves are leftover fabric from our Queen Anne Armchair makeover.

  1. Using a fabric leaf as a template, trace the leaf pattern onto the back of a fabric remnant.
  2. Cut two leaves per pumpkin.
  3. To make the leaves pliable, I brushed the back of each one with Mod Podge and let it dry overnight. You can skip this step if you prefer floppy leaves.
  4. Glue the leaves under the knob stem with a hot glue gun. 
  5. Loosen the twine tendril curls to your liking.

That's it, we're done. There may appear to be a lot of steps for making these sweater pumpkins but they don't take that long to make. Once you've mastered one set, I promise you'll be looking for other sweaters to make more. Much like these,  I made burlap pumpkins for my DIY Pumpkin Patch post.

Cotton Terry Knit Fall Sweater Pumpkins

A great idea for a Fall vignette is mixing the sweater pumpkins with painted dollar store pumpkins on a large tray.

I hope I've inspired you to go through your closet and look for some old sweaters. If you can't find any, head over to your local thrift store where they are abundant this time of year.

If you have any questions about this project, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

Easy Cotton Terry Knit Sweater Pumpkins

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.


  1. Boy, what a great idea---if you are lucky enough to find a high content cotton ---the urge to whip up a batch of walnut juice/salt, or onion skins/salt---to make some natural stained pumpkins is so great. I will just have to try that....Fun and easy post!

    1. Glad you like the sweater pumpkins, Sandi! Walnut juice & salt or onion skins & salt to stain fabric? Never heard of it but now I'm intrigued. LOL

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Anita, I'm glad you like my sweater pumpkins and thanks for the pin!

  3. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too!

  4. Marie, the cabinet knobs put through the fabric and secured with nuts on the other side of each pumpkin is BRILLIANT!!! Sooo glad you shared this week to Share Your Style #220. Happy to share your post for next week's features at SYS #221!

    Happy getting-closer-to-fall!
    Barb :)

    1. I'm so glad you like the cabinet knob stem idea for the pumpkins. Thank you so much for featuring them this week, Barb, much appreciated! xo

    2. You're welcome, Marie! Happy to!!! <3


I always enjoy hearing from you so please don't be shy! I read and reply to every single comment.