Monday, August 15, 2011

pincushion tutorial

This post has been re-worked, again, to perfection, and now including a new walnut shell stuffing option. 

I finally found a great place for my grandmother's spools of thread from the 50's.



1. FABRIC - Pick 2 fabrics that look good together.

2.  BIAS TAPE - Joann fabrics is the best place to get your bias tape.  Their online site has more colors available than at the store.  When choosing bias tape, you have 2 options:

DOUBLE FOLD 1/4", shown here in red.  This product is "ready to go", but the options of colors are limited.  If you don't find a color you like, go to the next option.

SINGLE FOLD 1/2", shown in blue and has lots more color options available.  You will have to fold this in 1/2 lengthwise and press to get the Double Fold 1/4".  When you iron it, DO NOT USE STARCH OR STEAM, getting it wet, will quickly undo the pressing that is already there.

You will need 2 YARDS OF BIAS TAPE.

3.  TEMPLATES - Make 2 circle templates from card stock.  The larger for cutting, the smaller for sewing.
cutting circle - 8"
sewing circle - 5 1/2"

4.  SPOOLS - You will need 10 to 13 small spools.  If you use the vintage type, shown above, you will need 11.  If you purchase your spools from Walmart or Joann Fabrics, you will need 13.

(Adjustments.  If your spools of thread are the small ones from Joanns or Walmart, which come 10 or 12 to a pack, you will want the space between the 2 circles to be 1/4 inch less.  The spools I used,  my grandmother's, were a little larger.)

5.  WALNUT SHELLS - Walnut shells puts some weight to your pin cushion, and the shells sharpen your needles (so I've heard, correct me if I'm wrong).  You can purchase a bag at Petco, 7 lbs for $10.  They have several options, make sure you get pure walnut shells, with nothing else added.

5.  ELASTIC - This elastic, can be up to 1/4".


Sew bias tape around both circles, using thread the same color as your bias tape.  Sew close to the edge of the bias tape.  When you take your bias tape out of the package, if you look at it, one side is a tiny bit wider than the other.  When sewing your bias tape on, put that WIDER side on the BOTTOM, this will insure that you catch the bottom piece as you sew along the top.

On the right side of one of your circles you just cut out, mark the smaller circle with chalk or erasable ink as shown below.  Stitch seam, back stitching at beginning and end, leaving an opening for stuffing.  Do not stuff yet.

Mark perpendicular 1/2" lines along outer edge, every 2 1/4" for vintage spools, and 1 3/4" for smaller spools.  Align the opening you left for stuffing as shown above with your stitching lines along the outside.  This will make stuffing easier.  You may need to make several attempts to make your markings equal in length.

Back stitch on both ends. 

Stuff inner circle and hand stitch closed.  Thread thin elastic through each spool and in between sewing lines as shown below.

Pull elastic together, and tie a knot.  Work the knot in to hide it.

These darling pincushions make great gifts.  


  1. Those are super cute! And way easier than they look at first. Thanks for sharing how to make one.

    Oh, and my word verification was henspoo. :)

  2. Where did u get your idea for the pincushion? I have been making these for over 33 years for gifts for my sewing friends and relatives!

  3. A friend gave me one years ago. When I came across my grandmother's spools and was ready to make some pincushions, I dissected it.


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