Pincushion Tutorial


I’ve been making these beautiful Liberty of London and milk glass scissor holder pincushions, along with using fun vintage Japanese planters. You might like to go vintaging as much as I do, and if you sew, re-purposing these items as a pincushion is a lot of fun. I’ve made quite a few and thought I’d share about the process. I first watched a YouTube video about up cycling teacups, and while it was very informative, I’ve fine-tuned the process a bit more. I’ve had my hits and misses, so now I feel qualified to share! I also sell these in my Etsy shop atย iquiltsewwhatshop


First off, you may have a dish or planter already. Terrific! If not, your first assignment is to find something you love and picture it as a pincushion. Not too big, though. Unless you have a million pins to wrangle. I’ve made some really small ones and they turn out pretty darn cute.

If you have one of these lace-edge milk glass dishes, they hold small lightweight embroidery scissors nicely. Any bigger or heavier ones really don’t work too well.


Now, gather your supplies. You will need:

  • cup, dish, egg cup, small planter…
  • Scissors
  • Strong needle. So not a tiny one and it must have an eye large enough for your button or home dec thread to go through
  • button or home dec thread (I can’t stress this enough)
  • coordinating fabric (enough to cut a circle about 2x the width of your item’s opening
  • tape measure or ruler
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • poly fiber fill
  • patience ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Measure the opening of your dish


As you can see, this one measures about 3.25 across. Now I go to my kitchen or someplace and start looking for something with a smooth round shape that is about 7″ or so (bigger is OK. Smaller is not). My Fiesta sandwich plate fit the bill for this one.

2. Trace your circular object with pencil on the fabric.


3. Cut the circle out.


You’ll notice I’ve used Liberty of London Tana Lawn. I love using this for pincushions because I find it can really take the tugging that is required to make a really firm “pouf”. Plus, isn’t it just gorgeous?

4. Using a long pice of thread (trust me on this. You want it long…about 20″ long), thread your needle, knot the long end and make a small bite for your first stitch. Then go back and make a stitch over your first one. This provides a good anchor for your first stitch. You are going to need it because your thread will get pulled a lot. When I first started making these, I would pull and sometimes the thread would just come right out. To say the least, it’s very frustrating when that happens, so this anchoring technique helps avoid that. If you aren’t using a lawn, make sure you aren’t too close to the edge. On this example I’m about 1/8 in, but on regular cotton wovens, I would stay at least 1/4″ away from the edge in case of fraying.

5. Start going in and out with your needle, making a running stitch with long-ish stitches. Once you’ve made a few, then you can start stacking them on the needle, making an up-and-down poking motion and pushing the fabric up on your needle. This is a time-saver; not a requirement!

6. Once you’ve gone alll the way around to meet up with your beginning stitch, slightly pull up the thread (making sure you also are pulling your tail through your needle some more so you don’t lose your needle) and you’ll start seeing it form sort of a purse.

7. Start moving the gathers around until they are evenly distributed and then pull up to make a circle….but do not close it! Now we stuff it. Grab a handful of your poly fill and roll it around. This isn’t the entire amount you will use…just make a ball as sort of a “place marker”.

It get a wee bit tricky at this stage. Once again, take a look at that needle and make sure its not going anywhere and your thread tail is long enough to take some moving around. Now pull up your thread to make it a little tighter, kind of adjusting the gathers as you go so that you wind up with a nice, even circular “pouf”.

8. Once you have the approximate size you want for your opening, tie off your loose thread in a knot but do not cut it. Then stitch across (not too tight-you want your shape to remain round). I like to stitch in a star shape. Once I have that star, I stuff a lot more poly fill, using my thumbs and fingers to really smooth it out and I stuff it until it is nice and firm. I don’t like a really soft pinnie. I like them tight. Once you’ve gotten it as full as you like it, pick up your needle (should still be on this original thread) and sew another star to secure all the new poly you just pushed in.

9. Test your pouf to see if it’s the right size. If it is too big, you can always run some stitches across, kind of pulling it in some more, but you need to do this in an equal fashion so it remains round. If it’s all set, now you are ready for the final step: the glueing.img_7954

10. Do not run a bead of hot glue around the inside rim all at one. Ask me how I know this is a terrible idea. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just start on one small section and secure your pouf in there. It will only be glued on one side…on this one I applied about 1.5″ of glue.


Once your pouf is in, then you can gently pull each side over and put dots of glue to secure it on the rest of the circle. Do this with care. You don’t want glue coming over the top. It’s much nicer if you can’t see any glue.


There! You should have a beautiful new old pinnie.

Just a note…if you have another shape besides a circle, then measure each direction and double it. They can be a little trickier, but with practice, you’ll become a pro, too!


If you make one, I’d love to see yours! Post it on Instagram, using the #pinnielove or #milkglassscissorholder if you have found one of those. Or tag @iquiltsewwhat or @shopiquiltsewwhat

I have many pincushions listed in my Etsy Shop, in case you’d rather not make your own. ๐Ÿ™‚ย iquiltsewwhatshop


Thanks so much for reading. Come back soon!


Embellished Hexies

Hello and thank you for stopping by! Today I’m sharing my method on making 1″ hexies embellished with embroidery. I hunted and pecked my way around it until I found a method that worked for me, so I hope to share any tips you might not know yourself!


Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Fabric (I used quilting cotton) with small scale prints that you like
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery thread and 50w thread for basting and needles for each
  • cardstock hexagons
  • 1″ hexagon template (the one I used in the photo I found at my local quilt shop)
  • iron
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Heat disappearing marker. (I use Pilot Frixion)
  • small embroidery hoop (4″ is what I use)




1. Place embroidery hoop around the portion of the fabric you’d like to embroider. I usually do not cut the fabric until afterwards, and I work towards the outside edge of the fabric, so as not to waste.


There are several fabrics that I would consider printed and primed for embroidery. Use your clear hexagon template to see what is the right scale. Then go ahead and embroider whatever you’d like. A note about technique: I use knots to start and finish, but that would not be the case for “regular” embroidery. There is simply not enough from to start ย and finish. Also, we will be using the fusible interfacing to kind of seal the back. As you can see, the back of my embroidery work is quite the mess!


After you are satisfied with the embroidery, prepare the fusible interfacing.


Using the hexagon template, trace around the shape on the fusible interfacing (I “accordion” the interfacing up so I can cut several at once. These don’t have to be perfect!). Trim just inside the traced line. You can see I’m about 1/8″ inside the template. This helps to not have so much bulk when you are turning in the edges for basting.


Now iron on the interfacing to the back of your embroidery work, making sure your interfacing hexagon is placed correctly. I use the traced lines on the fabric as a guide, since you can see them fairly well through the fabric if you are using a dark erasable marker.

Flip over and use your hexagon template again to trace around the design on the front, and trim from the traced lines at least 1/2″. Give yourself plenty of room. You can always trim some more away, but adding is impossible and you’ve already done all that beautiful embroidery work!


Now you are ready for the final couple of steps. Are you excited? Use your cardstock hexagons and fold over the edges and baste in place using your 50w thread.


Use your iron once last time to get rid of the heat disappearing ink line. Not too much…just enough to get rid of the line. You don’t want your card stock to warp. Please not there is a whole punched in the middle of the cards. This facilitates removal of the paper after they are all sewn in. A chopstick or something similar would work. (And notice I didn’t give myself enough allowance on the deer head so I stitched a few more on that one)

All done! They are secure, ready to use, and best of all CUTE!