1. Use a good quality thread when basting, I used some old thread and it broke when I was gathering/pulling the thread up to gather the sides of the material.
2. Do not baste close to the edge of the material, baste a good 1/4" in or even more, that way if you run into any problems the material will not ravel into your stitches. Nothing ever is quite as easy as it sounds or looks the first time I make things.
3. There are many things to use for the stems, such as sticks, actual stems that have dried from real pumpkins or made with material. I actually had made pumpkin topiaries from faux pumpkins (see here) so I saved the faux stems and used them for these velvet pumpkins. Worked beautifully! I think I will probably buy some pumpkins on sale at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, if I can find them cheap enough and use the stems for velvet pumpkins next year.
4. I did stitch under the stem from side to side to make the stem fit better, this was after I had put glue on the stem. The glue will get on your needle after doing this so the needle will be ruined. Time to get new ones anyway.