Pincushion Tutorial

Pincushions. One of those things which you never have but yet always seem to need. Lets rectify this then shall we by making one (as opposed to buying one, which totally goes against everything this blog stands for!). We could be dull and make a bog standard one but where would be the fun in that. Instead lets go for a Cathedral Window pincushion.

Those of you familiar with quilting will probably already know what a Cathedral Window is, those of you who aren’t quilters are now thinking I’m branching out into glazing for the local church. Don’t panic, I’m not! 🙂 IF we were quilting then we’d be making a quilt without the need for batting which is effectively just a quilt top BUT we aren’t quilting and thats a story for another day. However, making a Cathedral Window pincushion is a clever way of taking one square of said quilt and turning it into a lovely little gift for someone. Alternatively, keep it for yourself, it’ll be our secret!

  1. Firstly, lets talk supplies. You’ll need a fat quarter of any colour that takes your fancy (I’ve used cream), a square of fabric measuring 4.25” x 4.25″ (dotty for me but pick whichever you like) and some scraps of different coloured fabric (flowery for me this time). You’ll also need a square of fabric for the back approximately 6″ x 6″ and some stuffing.
  2. Begin by making a card template 9″ square and another that is 4.25″ square.

3. Lay your fat quarter out and cut a square that is approximately 10.5″ x 10.5″. Don’t worry if its not exact. Lay the bigger template in the middle of the fabric and fold over the edges of the template. Iron it all the way around so as to form a firm edge. Fold the corners over first, as in the picture below, to ensure a neat edge.

4. Now, remove the cardboard template and iron all the way around again to make sure everything is as neat as can be. If the corners are precise now it’ll save you a lot of kerfuffle later, trust me!

5. Once step 4 is complete, fold the square in half and iron. Unfold and fold the opposite way before ironing again.

6. The next step is to fold each corner in towards the middle of the square. The creases you just created when you folded and unfolded will provide you with the centre point marking.

7. Give everything a good iron again and repeat step 6, remembering to iron everything flat again  after folding in all the corners. Try to ensure that your points all meet as neatly as they can. It’s ok to keep playing around until they do.

8. Now, using the smaller template, cut yourself a 4.25″square and place it in the middle of the original square.

9. Sew the points of the corners together with the new square inside. Only do a couple of stitches, its just to keep everything in place.

10. From your scraps of fabric that we mentioned earlier, cut 4 triangles that will fit just inside of each triangle of the square. They don’t need to be too neat as we will trim them up later.

11. Now comes the tricky bit. One corner at a time, peel back the white fabric so that it falls naturally into a curve and envelopes the edge of the fabric on top of it. If you need to pin it in place then feel free to do so and then machine sew along the edge of the curve so that everything is held firmly in place.

12. Take a piece of fabric that is about an inch bigger all the way round than the square you’ve just made. Cut it in half. No, I haven’t got mad, cut the fabric in half and with the two pieces edge to edge, lay the square on top so they are right side to right side. Sew all the way around using a 1/4″ seam and then trim off any excess.

13. Carefully turn the whole thing inside out and stuff it until you can stuff it no more. You can use normal stuffing but for a pincushion you might like to use wire wool so that your pins are kept sharp.

14. Using Ladder stitch carefully sew the back shut.  For more details on Ladder stitch see English Paper Piecing (EPP)    

15. Finish the pincushion by sewing a button into the middle of the ‘flower’.

16. The best part of Step 16?!? There is no Step 16! 🙂


8 thoughts on “Pincushion Tutorial

  1. additional hints says:

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  2. Lin Herridge says:

    Lovely tutorials. Got a bit lost on the pincushion one around steps 11 & 12. So I’m going to make one and see what happens. Thanks

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