So I’ve spent today listening to a suddenly surprisingly exciting bit of Test Match cricket), and writing up this tutorial, whilst my boys have run wild doing excellent impressions of Pepe Le Pew and Diddy Kong, and poor old Sandy has been trying to earn us some money… What else are rainy bank holiday Mondays for?
I really hope you enjoy the pattern – and as ever, I would really be pleased to see photos of pincushions you make using it (here’s the Very Berry Makes Flickr group). Also, as ever, I am very happy for you to use the pattern to make things to sell, although I would appreciate a credit, and preferably drop me an email to let me know.
- 3 coordinating fabrics measuring 8 1/2″ x 1″ for the pincushion top
- 1 piece of fabric measuring 3 1/2″x3 1/2″ for pincushion back
- 2 pieces of medium iron-on interfacing measuring 3 1/2″x3 1/2″
- coordinating thread
- your chosen stuffing
- 2 buttons and strong thread (optional)
Before you start:
Seam allowances are 1/4″ at all times.
A word of warning! Don’t choose fabrics for the 2 outer strips which are too close in colour or tone. The way the pattern works means that you run the risk of an unfortunate symbol on the top of your pincushion (think Prince Harry in fancy dress…). My advice is to use a nice bright strip to create a nice bright central motif, in the way that I’ve used yellow in both my versions.
So, here we go:
Take your 3 coordinating 81/2″ x 1″ strips:
Sew them together along the longest edges. Press, folding the seam allowances to one side, like this:
Take the fabric strip that you have created and cut it into four 2″ pieces, then rotate a couple of pieces through 90 degrees and lay them out like this to create your design:
See the blue box? That’s where you’re going to make your next seam. Sew these 2 squares, right sides together. Press the seam to one side like this:
Repeat this process for the other 2 squares:
Make sure that you press the seam in the opposite direction on the reverse, like this:
You should now have 2 halves that look like this:
Sew these 2 together where indicated by the big blue box, making sure that you match the centre seams together as accurately as you can. The best way to do this is to put a pin through the centre seam on both pieces of fabric, like this (the dotted blue line indicates where you are going to be sewing):
If you have done your pressing correctly, the seam allowances will be pressed in opposite directions so things wont get too bulky to sew. If the seam allowances have ended up folded in the same direction then just re-press the seam on one side.
Trim your completed block to a 3.5″ square , making sure that you have the centre point in your pincushion in the centre of the trimmed square. You don’t want to make things all wobbly at this late stage! You should have something that looks like this:
Now you need your interfacing and pincushion backing fabric:
Iron one piece of interfacing on to the wrong side of the completed pincushion top and the other piece onto the wrong side of the backing fabric.
Put the pincushion top & your backing fabric right sides together and pin together. Sew together round the edge, keeping an accurate eye on your 1/4″ seam allowance. If you aren’t feeling very confident about this, you could always draw the square on your fabric to guide you.
There’s that blue box again… You need to leave a turning gap of around 1″ and make sure you do some reverse stitches at the start and finish to make it secure – you don’t want your stitching to unravel when you are turning your pincushion through.
Trim the corners across like this:
Now you are ready to see the result of all that hard work! Turn through – you should have something that looks like this:
Give it a press to iron out the seams, and to turn the edges of the turning gap a bit. Stuff firmly with your chosen stuffing. Bear in mind you always need more stuffing than you think – don’t be skimpy! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to undo stitching and put some more stuffing in…
The trick with this is to keep the stitches small & even, be patient, and try and keep the sewn edge in line with the existing seam. I find it helps to keep a close eye on the weave of the fabric – keep your stitches parallel with it and you can’t go wrong. Here’s a You Tube video to help you out if you aren’t familiar with this stitch (although I’d suggest making your stitches much smaller than the ones in the video).
You should end up with something that looks like this:
Now you can leave it like there if you like, or you can go for the full effect and titivate your pincushion with a couple of buttons.
Thread a long, sharp, sturdy needle with a double piece of strong thread (I use a linen thread) & tie the ends together in a knot. Take the needle down through the centre of the pincushion, from the top, to the bottom. Do NOT pull the thread tight – leave a tail of about 2 inches of thread like this:
Make a small stitch in the back of the pincushion like this (don’t pull the thread tight at this stage – you need to keep that tail on the top of the pincushion):
Now take the needle back through to the top of the pincushion, threading the needle through the loop created by the tail:
Now you can pull the thread tight so that the knot cinches up against the top of the pincushion, and you create that lovely indented shape:
Now thread on the top button, taking your needle through to the bottom of the pincushion, where you thread the other button on to the pincushion back. Take the needle back up through the cushion & through the top button, then back through to the button on the underside, & back through to the top again, pulling gently, but very firmly, every time.
This is tricky, but be patient, keep wiggling your needle, and you will get there… I confess to resorting to pliers now and then when I want to get the needle through! Finally, take your needle through to the underside once more, but instead of going through the button, direct it so it comes out past the side of the button, like this:
Again, this is tricky – but persevere, you’ll get there…
Now, wrap the thread around & underneath the button, leaving a loop like this:
Take your needle through the loop and pull it tight, to create a knot. Repeat this process to secure the button, then cut your thread as close to the button as you can, and you are all done.
I hope you are pleased with your cute little pincushion. Can you bear to stab it with pins?!