Pincushions

Materials

  • Scraps of three contrasting fabrics for each pincushion (10 and 15cm square for wrist and large pincushion bases respectively)
  • Template plastic or stiff card
  • Freezer paper or good quality paper 
  • 6in (15cm) of heavyweight iron-on Vilene (or lightweight iron-on pelmet Vilene)
  • Stuffing
  • 2-3in of 1⁄4in elastic for Finger pincushion
  • Scrap of wadding for strap of Wristband pincushion
  • 1⁄2in of Velcro or press-stud to secure wristband

Finished Size

Largest 2in hexagon base to smallest 1⁄2in hexagon - if you want to work in metric draft the same shapes onto metric isometric paper with 5mm guidelines

Skill Level

Beginner

The smallest pincushion is the trickiest just because of its small size so if in doubt start with the largest size first and progress to the smaller sizes. English piecing is one of the most traditional techniques and is perfect for small projects like this.

Finger Pincushion

For appliqué pins.

  1. Make templates for a 1⁄2in triangle and a 1⁄2in hexagon then cut six triangles and one hexagon from freezer or typing paper.
  2. Using three colours prepare two triangles from each fabric and one hexagon by ironing the paper onto the WS of the fabric and cut out leaving a 1⁄4in seam allowance. Also cut a strip of fabric 3 1⁄2 x 1⁄2in and of Vilene 3 x 1⁄4in for the side of the pincushion, and a Vilene hexagon cut just inside the drawn line for the base.
  3. Tack the fabric over the papers. Using thread matching the darker fabric, RS together, whipstitch the triangles together to form a hexagon. Leave the papers in.
  4. Iron the Vilene onto the strip of fabric, leaving a 1⁄4in seam allowance. Tack the fabric over the Vilene. WS together, using ladder stitch, stitch the strip to the base hexagon and join the side seam.
  5. Remove the freezer paper and iron the Vilene base piece in place (a Clover Mini Iron is ideal for this) onto the WS of the hexagon.
  6. Using ladder stitch, WS together, stitch the upper hexagon in place on four sides and then stuff; stitch the remaining two sides closed.
  7. Cut elastic to the length required to stitch across the base of the pincushion and to go around your finger then stitch in place using a blind hemming stitch.

Wrist Pincushion

This pincushion is an ideal size for glass headed quilting pins.

  1. Following the directions in steps 1-3 for the Finger pincushion, use the templates to prepare six 1⁄2in triangles, one 1⁄2in hexagon, six 1⁄2in diamonds, one 1in hexagon (base) and six 1 1⁄2 x 1in rectangles (sides), and a 1in (scant) Vilene hexagon.
  2. Tack over papers. Join the triangles to the 1⁄2in hexagon and then attach the diamonds to form a 1in hexagon (see photo for placement).
  3. RS together whipstitch each sidepiece to a top edge and then join the side seams. Remove the papers from the top pieces.
  4. Turn the pincushion inside out and RS together whipstitch four sides of the base hexagon to the side pieces, remove the papers from the base and sides and turn the pincushion RS out. Iron the Vilene base hexagon in place and then stuff; join the remaining two sides using ladder stitch.
  5. For the strap length measure your wrist then add 1in for overlap and another inch for finishing; cut a piece of fabric this length x 3in wide. Cut a piece of wadding just under an inch wide and the finished length of the strap. Placing the strip of fabric RS down, lengthwise fold one third of the fabric over (WS together) and press; fold the other third over (WS together) and press. Open the top third out and press in half (WS together). Open the fabric out and place the wadding inside, leaving 1⁄2in at each end; fold the fabric back in place to enclose the wadding and stitch near the top folded edge.
  6. Fold the raw edges at either end over by 1⁄4in and 1⁄4in again and stitch in place using a blind hemming stitch Ė note that these edges need to face each other when the strap is closed. Finally, attach the Velcro or a press-stud for closure.
Large pincushion

Large Pincushion

This pincushion is an ideal size for flower headed quilting pins.

  1. Following the directions in steps 1-3 for the Finger pincushion, use the templates to prepare six 1in triangles, one 1in hexagon, six 1in diamonds, one 2in hexagon (base) and six 2 1⁄2 x 1 1⁄2in rectangles (sides), and a 2in (scant) Vilene hexagon. Tack over papers. Join the triangles to the 1in hexagon and then attach the diamonds to form a 2in hexagon
  2. Complete following up steps 3 and 4 for Wrist pincushion.

Note: The Vilene in the base of these pincushions will give a degree of protection but take care that you donít stab the pins in too violently or you will end up stabbing yourself.

First published in Popular Patchwork Volume 12 Number 3 - March 2004