Monday, December 8, 2014

Making Pin Cushions

Needing a pin cushion for a Central Florida MQG swap in December, my online searches turned up several options, and I had to try them out to see which one I wanted to give.

The first design is a free Riley Blake pattern - Little Birdie Pincushions found here. (Link updated 5/13/17.)

What's that adage? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush? What does that mean?!

Then, deciding the birds were too small, I found this pattern for a Pin Cushion Caddy. It's a design by Anna Maria Horner found in her book "Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Sew." I don't own the book, but I found the free pattern here. Apparently there are some measurement issues with book instructions, so I printed Anna Maria's own corrections here. Then, I found this tutorial for accurately calculating all the pieces, and I used it too! Just call me Sherlock.

Using all three helps, this is how it went.

It's not an easy pin cushion to sew. When I got to this point, I thought I was preparing a couple racks of lamb. 

I ended up chucking this one. Even after attempting several times to resew the seam that joins the outside to the inner tube, I couldn't avoid the tucks. What a failure!

The final pin cushion, a hexagon pin cushion caddy, came from this tutorial.

Since my bloggy friend, Vreni, had made this one, she advised me to reduce it by 25 percent, and that's what I did. It's entirely hand-sewn, so it took quite a while to make, but I'm proud of it. It has some of my favorite fabrics in it - Anna Maria Horner, Mimosa, and my special Terra Australis. 

What I'm not so proud of are these two pictures! I pride myself in taking good photos, and obviously I goofed! I'd say the camera was on the wrong setting. But, since the pin cushion now belongs to someone else, this is the best I can offer. You can see all 18 swapped pin cushions on our Central Florida MQG blog, here.

Better pictures next post. Promise. Linda


  1. What a cute pincushion caddy. Thanks for showing it. I've bookmarked the tutorial.

  2. Love this caddy. Can't believe that it is hand sewn.

  3. I admire your tenacity on finding the perfect pin cushion Linda! I hope the recipient appreciated it!

  4. Congratulations on your persistence. The results are great.

  5. wow, you go to some length to get it just right, don't you? Even for a pin cushion. I admire your persistence (like others said it before me). I love your hexie caddy, the fabrics and colours are fabulous. I'm sure the recipient was very happy. Which one did you get?

  6. Your word for 2014 should have been persistence!! I love making pin cushions and yours are adorable!!

  7. So cheery and functional!! Wonderful pin cushion - I'm sure the recipient is delighted with it. The bird in hand adage - it's better to hold on to a sure thing than to lose it by going for more than what you have. Obviously not always applicable, but good advice in some situations. For example, if you have a family to feed, it may be better to suck it up and keep a decent-paying job with benefits than to quit it and then apply to other jobs. If you won during a sit-down at a Craps table, it might be better to take that win and walk away than to risk it trying for more. Etc. . .

  8. Your final pincushion is lovely. I just made my very first one for our guild party this week. Like you I looked at several tutorials including the one you used. So many cute ideas I found it hard to choose. Will be posting mine tomorrow with a pic.

  9. That is a really cool pin cushion....did you make one for yourself too? I've made a few selvage pin cushions lately to test out an original design I'll be teaching for guild in January...they were quick and easy!

  10. It turned out very cute. I heard this was a hard one to make!

  11. I'm wondering--is the pincushion at the end also meant to hold scraps? Or more pins? in that little well. If so, that is brilliant to have a place to put whatever. I do like the little bird, though. I'm not a pin cushion user, but I've decided they can be like works of art, especially in your hands!


  12. You are an amazing lady. I really admire how you stick with something until you get it perfect. That is such a cute pin cushion.

  13. Cute pincushions! The tutorial for the Little Birdies is now located here:


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