Stickin’ it to the pincushion

by craftapalooza on 01/03/2006

in Green Crafting, Whip Up Tutorials

You ready for this? Easy, quick and very satisfying pincushion.

Cut 2 circles from your chosen fabric. One side a woolen fabric like felt (at least 70% wool) or wool blanketing (the side you stick pins in) and a cotton fabric for the other side. You can make the diametre of this as large or small as you wish for your pincushion, up to you. The circles pictured here are 5 inches (approximately 130mm) in diametre (1/4 inch / 5mm seam allowance included).

cut 2 cirlces of fabric

Depending on the type of cotton fabric you use, you may need to iron on interfacing to prevent fraying of the edges.

Put the two pieces together right sides facing and sew on the sewing machine a hem around the edges. Oversew the start and finish of your sewing. Don’t forget to leave a gap between 1-2inches to turn out.

sew a 1/4 inch/5mm hem

Turn the pincushion right side out through the gap you’ve left.

Stuff the pincushion, stuff it well if you want a nice plump, firm finish. You can use polyfill (craft fill) or wool roving. Make sure to stuff using little tufts, don’t stuff in chunks of filling you’ll end up with a bumpy finish.

stuff it!

Once you’re satisfied with the firmness of your pincushion, slip stitch the opening closed.

Now comes the fun bit. Grab yourself the longest sewing needle you have and some embroidery thread (use all 6 strands), you’ll need quite a long piece, don’t cut it too short.

Tie a knot in one end of your thread (make it a decent knot, you don’t want it to slip/pull through the fabric) and starting from the felt side stick the needle and thread through the centre of your cushion through to the cotton side. Pull it tight and then loop it around the cushion over to the felt side and come up through the centre in the same place you started. You’ve done one petal.

From there continue doing the same thing, working in a figure 8 around the pincushion. So after the first petal wrap the thread around the opposite side of the first petal and come back up through the centre again. Continue until you have 8 plump petals, making sure you pull the thread tight each time so you get nice definition. You could also try a 3, 4, 5 or 6 petal version.

makin' petals

more petals


felt side

Then once you’re satisfied with your petals knot the thread whilst it’s still attached to the centre and then add your decoration to the centre of your cushion, or leave it bare. The one pictured here has a vintage button on one side and a self covered button in the same cotton fabric used on the other side.

vintage button

self-covered button

After I’d finished writing this :) I came across this tutorial which will also assist! via Redwork in Germany.

No pincushion would be complete without shrinky pins, here’s Hilary’s tutorial
There’s Bella Dia’s stunning work
Flickr: pincushion tag and group

Next week a tutorial, how to make your own customised tape measure cover. A simple, fun project.

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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Little Snoring March 1, 2006 at 1:01 pm

These are so cute!

They remind me of something, but I can’t quite pinpoint what it is!


2 Leslie March 1, 2006 at 1:14 pm

Beautiful work! I love this! :)


3 Kate March 1, 2006 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve looked at yours and thought how cute they were and thought they looked a bit tricky! Off to give it a go.


4 Joleen March 1, 2006 at 2:09 pm

Love these! Thanks for the tut! :)


5 admin March 1, 2006 at 2:30 pm

excellent – looking forward to next weeks and more!


6 Belinda Andresson March 1, 2006 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for the tutorial, I’ve always loved your cushions. Thanks for sharing. Does any know where to get the material needed for shrinky pins in Australia?? I would love to give these a go as well.


7 Grace March 1, 2006 at 5:22 pm

I’ve always wanted to know how these were made.
Butn now looking at them I’m sure I once used to know and may have even made one at school.
Isn’t it funny how something so small and simple can get you excited to make one:)


8 jes March 1, 2006 at 7:09 pm

How cool that you posted the directions for these little buggers!

Your site is too much fun!


9 mimi k March 1, 2006 at 8:20 pm

great tutorial! I can’t wait to see the next one!


10 sofia March 1, 2006 at 8:58 pm

this is great I need one and this one is beautiful and it sounds easy thanks !


11 beki March 1, 2006 at 9:17 pm

I can’t wait to try this!


12 Dixie March 1, 2006 at 9:46 pm

Can’t wait for the tape measure tutorial.


13 stevie March 1, 2006 at 11:24 pm

Hey thank you for this, I actually don’t own a pin cushion, but this makes me want to go home and make one.


14 Kelli March 2, 2006 at 12:16 am

Such a great project idea. Thanks for taking the time to share all the details Nicole!


15 boogaj March 2, 2006 at 1:06 am

Great tutorial! Can’t wait to try one of these!


16 Carol March 2, 2006 at 2:02 am

Thank you so much for sharing this – I can’t wait to try one for myself.


17 makewrite March 2, 2006 at 3:43 am

Yay! I expect there will be an EXPLOSION of pincushions on the Flickr group in the next couple of weeks.


18 Nicole March 2, 2006 at 9:18 am

Enjoy and get crackin’ want to see all your pincushions.


19 soulemama March 3, 2006 at 6:09 am

Um, You ROCK! Thanks for sharing this!!!


20 ellia March 3, 2006 at 7:58 am

ohhhhhh this looks fairly simple and wonderful to do! thank you!!!!


21 jen March 3, 2006 at 8:01 am

i picked up a 1930s feedsack version of this guy at a flea market this summer (but mini-styles and attached to a round flat backing with bias tape around the edge) and i totally love it. the mini-ness is great cos it’s so portable, and the backing anchors it nicely because it’s really light. i actually made my friend one for a present, and she thought it was a brooch, which was inspiring for future projects – and i’ve seen clusters of these guys as brooches at H&M. it’s a fun form to play with (hairpins, earrings, etc.)


22 joy March 3, 2006 at 9:29 am

i love this! thanks for the demo…great idea…looking forward to the next one!


23 Angie March 4, 2006 at 12:06 pm

Adorable & so easy! Thanks for sharing!


24 Shannon March 6, 2006 at 7:54 am

I was thinking yesterday that I needed a pincushion. Checked out whipup for the first time and made 2 of your little guys last night. I love them, thanks.


25 susan March 21, 2006 at 10:11 am

Thank you so much for posting this tutorial!


26 Carol April 15, 2006 at 3:30 am

So cute! Thank you for this great tutorial. I made a few this week, and I think you are right, making the petals is the fun part!


27 Rissa July 4, 2006 at 7:22 am

I have seen these a lot of places, but this makes it so simple and irristible I just had to make some! Thanks.


28 Jan Van Gundy July 25, 2006 at 3:16 am

Just stumbled on these. They are darling. Going to make for my Xmas exchange for my bridge group grab bag


29 jessica July 26, 2006 at 12:04 am

Thank you for the pattern. I am attempting to make one now with some felted wool that I made.


30 michelle August 5, 2006 at 11:26 pm

ooh, thanks for the tute – finally got around to making one last night. here it is on flickr if anyone wants to see: Really easy, you’re right but I handstitched mine – will machine it next time around…


31 june August 8, 2006 at 11:04 am

just love the little pumpkin pincushion,


32 Michele September 29, 2006 at 9:26 pm

Cute and simple. Great project.


33 uguetta October 3, 2006 at 12:41 am

superbe, tank you I ‘m understand all !!!
j’ai tout compris merci


34 Georgia October 12, 2006 at 9:50 pm

May I use your pincushion directions in a tatting class? I would need to make several copies or link back to your site.


35 Randi October 14, 2006 at 11:10 pm

Easy and cute, – good ida…


36 Maureen October 23, 2006 at 5:40 pm

I made a pile of these for a school fete,and was pretty p*** off that they thought they were only “woth” asking $2 for!
Not worth me wasting my time!


37 Gerry November 6, 2006 at 1:24 am

I just wanted to say thank you for posting this pattern/tutorial. I posted it on my blog but couldn’t remember where I saw it. Thankfully, someone else knew and made a comment. Anyway, I have had lots of compliments on the one that I made and I wanted to make sure that you knew you were getting credit for ‘the original’ thought. :-)


38 abby November 12, 2006 at 1:04 pm

Thank you so much for this tutorial. This was fun and easy to make, and I fear that now my house might be overrun! I linked to my picture in the website text box. :)


39 alejandra November 18, 2006 at 8:09 pm

it’s easy to make
thank for this tutorial.


40 Iris789 November 24, 2006 at 12:27 am

Very many thanks


41 leenah December 10, 2006 at 1:07 am

wondering, is there any substitution for the wool fabric? i’m apparently allergic to the stuff – it’s ALWAYS itchy, doesn’t matter how nice it is.

so, i don’t work with it anymore. but i’d like to make up some cute pincushions!

marvelous tutorial – even i can follow it. :)


42 Peg Botham December 18, 2006 at 6:47 am

Fantastic thank you, I’ve been looking for a ‘loveable’ pincushion for ages. Am going to have a go at this one asap.


43 babz January 7, 2007 at 2:10 am

What a wonderful site. So refreshing and it contributes to so many peoples creativity. THANKS Babz


44 Sim January 25, 2007 at 12:51 am

I made a pin cushion last night based on your instructions. I’m sooo happy with it! I love it! Thanks for such an awesome site and wonderful tutorials!


45 tinna February 12, 2007 at 3:52 am

Oh my, it’s soooo cute! I have to do one to myself also :)


46 Kelly February 12, 2007 at 11:19 am

I had so much fun with this…a quick and easy project!


47 Geisa Lentini February 21, 2007 at 11:52 pm

What a wonderful site. Thanks.


48 Feral Femme March 2, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Thanks for the easy to understand instructions. Mine turned out very cute!


49 Zelia March 3, 2007 at 6:06 am

They are so great! i will try:)

Zelia, Portugal


50 isabel f. March 23, 2007 at 7:19 pm

I made one for myself, it`s great, i love it!
thanks for the idea.
Isabel F.


51 amanda April 27, 2007 at 6:00 am

these are sooo cute!!i wish someone would make them for me!!


52 april May 22, 2007 at 7:44 am

soooo cute , i”d like to try to work it out…
luv it….gud tutotial….
thank u…..


53 Loni June 18, 2007 at 11:39 am

After seeing this website MANY MANY months ago . . . and after a long difficult pregnancy with my 12th baby, I finally dug in and have been sewing away making these! I LOVE THEM! My daughters have been helping me and we are having tons of fun! I wrote about it on my blog today as well . . . along with pictures! I am joining the pincushion club! I am now offically addicted! :)


54 Hazel July 6, 2007 at 11:25 am

Went looking for directions to make a pincushion and found this tutorial! Great fun and really cute: better than the store-bought tomatoes! I will be making a number of them for gifts: all the women I know hand-sew and could use another pincushion!



55 Weez July 11, 2007 at 4:03 am

Oh what fun, my friend told me about this, just this morning and here I go.
I’ll let you know in a week how many I’ve made.


56 Gail December 1, 2007 at 7:56 am

This is a great pincushion, lovely and easy.


57 Gail December 1, 2007 at 7:57 am

This is a great pincushion, lovely and easy


58 Nicole January 9, 2008 at 8:38 pm

What an awesome tutorial! Thank you so much!


59 Kate January 14, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Great tut! A few times I pulled the emb. thread too hard & it broke so I had to restart that step. Here is a pic of my finished pincushion.


60 "torrance" January 22, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I’ve always liked pincushions like these, but figured they we’re too difficult to make. They’re not :)
I just posted a pic of the pincushions I made using your tutorial.
Thank you again


61 caroline January 23, 2008 at 3:56 am

they remind me of patty pan squash


62 Angie March 15, 2008 at 2:03 am

What a great tutorial! I’ve always wanted to make my own fun and funky pin cusion, and not use one of those little tomato thingys anymore!


63 Jodie April 4, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Great!! Thanks so much. I stumbled across your site and love it! Just made this cute little cushion while my toddler was napping. So quick, so easy and so satisfying. I will be ditching my little tomato thingy too!


64 Darcy April 23, 2008 at 10:12 pm

I just came across your tutorial and I love it! Thank you so much for posting your instructions, they are so adorable!


65 Nori Garcia August 7, 2008 at 9:40 am

Gracias por el tutorial, realmente estoy feliz de poder hacer mi pincushion.
Nori – Chile


66 hoppyloo November 21, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Brilliant! I made a small one and put velcro on the back, and another piece on my sewing machine – voila! A pincushion just where I need it!


67 Dorte February 3, 2009 at 6:46 am
68 Julia March 9, 2009 at 7:54 pm

made this and love it! Thanks for sharing. I’ll post on my blog soon.


69 theresa rae March 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm

ive just made one of these pincushions this afternoon and im really pleased with it


70 Craft Stew April 22, 2009 at 5:40 am

Thanks so much for the tutorial. I’d love to try making your pincushion in washed-out denim. I’m adding a link from my blog later today!


71 Noriko May 3, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for the tuto.
I’ll make it soon!


72 andrea September 8, 2009 at 11:49 pm

me agradan tus trabajos!


73 Milou September 12, 2009 at 4:51 am

I am so glad I finally find the tutorial to make this pincushion . i have found several phtos of it on differents blogs but had no idea of how to make it. Thank you for sharing … and congratulations for all your beautiful work.
have a good day


74 raajia October 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I really want to make one like this , I am so glad I finally find the tutorial to make this pincushion .
Thanks so much for the tutorial.


75 Sandra November 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Thank you so much for the pin cushion pattern, I loved and I just made one now watching your tutorial.

You make a wonderful crafting!


76 Katie November 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I love this pincushion, thank you so much, I really dislike the standard tomato and am so excited to make this.


77 Donna November 21, 2009 at 1:15 am

Fantastic!!! off to whip some up for our annual stall at our quilt show…thanks!!!


78 Maddy January 13, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I have been looking everywhere for a tutorial on these! Thankyou so so much! I must thank the tweeter! A great tutorial!


79 samantha March 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

Saw your pin cushion this morning and thought how I could use a new one, since I make all my pincushions, I decided to try the one you have demonstrated. Thank you for showing us all simple pleasures.


80 Joanne Barry July 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Thank-you for this great idea. I have just made one using Scotch Brite Never Rust pads, so I hope mine doesn’t rust!


81 Maria July 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Thank you very much for this tutorial, this was both easy and fun to make!


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