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Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial – 90’s Grunge Shirt

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I had so much fun making fabric pumpkins last week that I knew I wanted to make more. Lots more. Halfway through making the traditional orange fabric pumpkins, I knew exactly what I wanted to make next – 90’s grunge-inspired pumpkins. And I knew that I wanted to use upcycled fabric from a flannel shirt in my recycled clothing stash. Although I’m pretty sure that any self-respecting, authentic grunge fan would not care about pumpkin decorations, it amuses me to have made these grunge-inspired pumpkins (amuses me in an ironic, disaffected way, of course). Nothing says autumn like a fabric pumpkin tutorial using plaid flannel fabric from a 90’s grunge shirt. Ah, irony.

wood guitar, red and black fabric pumpkins and record album on white table

You can follow my  fabric pumpkin tutorial that is so easy to do. Really. I made four pumpkins in under an hour. While the pumpkins are adorable in an orange fabric (that is from an upcycled fabric bag), I wanted to make some plaid pumpkins that are da bomb. Maybe I was inspired by the 90’s music alternative music my my teen son has been listening lately. How in the world did cool alternative music become retro? Wha-aat?! Where did the decades time go?

3 orange and green fabric pumpkins on wood table

I’m so charmed (in a super cool, retro way) by these plaid flannel fabric pumpkins. You know how much I adore using repurposed clothing for craft projects and using a repurposed flannel shirt is perfect for this project. 

4 red and black plaid fabric pumpkins on black and white record album

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial – Grunge Shirt

2 red and black plaid flannel sleeves on white table

It all started with sleeves from a plaid flannel shirt. It was fortunate that each sleeve had a different plaid pattern. 


Plaid Fabric 

Embroidery Floss

Polyester Fiber Stuffing


Sewing Thread

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red and black plaid fabric rectangles on white table

Following the fabric pumpkin tutorial I shared last week, you want to cut rectangles that are twice as long as they are wide. I like to add a couple inches to the length of the rectangle so that the pumpkin is even more wide than it is tall. I was able to get four different size rectangles of fabric from the two sleeves. 

overhead view of 2 red and black fabric pumpkins with blue leaves and head of guitar

I’d say these plaid pumpkins are adorable, but instead I’ll say they’re rad!

wood guitar, black and white album, and 3 red and black fabric pumpkins

Tell me these 90’s inspired fabric pumpkins aren’t all that and a bag of chips!

overhead view of  3 red and black plaid pumpkins, neck of guitar and black and white record album cover

I know you want to run to your closet and look for an old flannel shirt to upcycle. Thrift stores are a great place to find inexpensive flannel shirts that are perfect for upcycling. Before you head to the thrift store, read my tips for How to Go Thrift Store Shopping and Not Feel Guilty. Since you’ll be upcycling the flannel shirt, stained or torn shirts are perfect for this project. And when you’re raiding your closet, be sure to also look for old socks that would be perfect for this pumpkin tutorial using old socks!  Have fun with this fabric pumpkin tutorial with a grunge shirt. Rock on, dude!

More upcycled fabric projects:

Upcycled Skirt Throw Pillow

DIY Rice Heat Pack from Recycled Clothes

12 Repurposed Clothing Projects – Skirts, Pants & Jeans

Repurposed Clothing Projects – T-shirts, Sweaters & More

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  1. Susan, you are so creative! I love the way you switched it up. I can see so many ways to have fun and personalize these fabric pumpkins!

  2. What a perfect time of the year to share a tutorial for pumpkins. I love the look of these pumpkins. Checks are one of my favorite fabrics. You have inspired me!

  3. Hi Susan – First of all… I always love seeing that skirt!!! But those grunge apples… so last weekend we went to see my little niecelet play in a rock band and we dressed all moto rock and roll style thinking we were old and hip. Yeah, well the kids were all in their flannel shirts and ripped jeans. When did grunge come back and become so hip? Ahhh… kids these days! Hugs, Holly

    1. Too funny, Holly. I feel old when I see styles I wore back in the day on the young kids now. My favorite is my daughter’s raiding my husband’s and my old 90210 styles that we some how still have in our closets.

  4. You are so talented. I’m always in awe of your crafts. These cute enough that I might give them a try. I’m all thumbs when it comes to crafts….

    1. I’m all about easy crafts (I don’t have the time for complicated!). This is an easy craft. Really. Have fun with it, Monica.

  5. As a member of Gen X I LOVE these funnel pumpkins! I had that same shirt in college. It was my favorite shirt. I clicked over and read the instructions and I’m going to have to give this a try. I’ll have to hit up the thrift store for a flannel shirt first. (Even though I’ve read they are back in style. YAY!)

  6. Love your grunge pumpkins! Even more, I love repurposing old things into something new, cute, decorative, useful, etc. You’ve got my number. Love the denim leaves, too!

    1. Thanks, Barbara. I’m with you, I hate to see old “useless” items go to waste. Have fun making your own “grungekins”!

    1. It can take awhile to get settled in, especially when downsizing, Jane. Feel free to email me if you have any questions I might be able to help with.

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