The cutest guest post today from Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane! I really admire and enjoy Sedef’s talents as a pattern and fabric designer. This simple pincushion tutorial is adorable! And the best trick ever for making a circle without having to use wedges or specialty templates or rulers. Plus a super slick method for stuffing and finishing. I hope you enjoy!
Hi, it’s Sedef Imer here, from Down Grapevine Lane. I work for Riley Blake Designs as a fabric designer and am also the author of two books: Quilt Petite and Zakka Home (coming out later this year), published by Tuva Publishing. When Amy asked me if I would like to write a guest post on her blog I was so excited! Amy’s blog is such an incredible treasure trove of sewing tips and techniques and I’m honoured to be a part of it today.
Today I will be showing you how to make a very simple round sprocket pincushion, shown here in my fabric range Summer Blush. If you ever made round pincushions you will know that it can be a little tricky to get that perfect circular shape with no bumps and lumps around the edges (especially at the stuffing point).
Fret not – I will show you a very simple technique that ensures you can achieve that perfect round shape every time. The style of this pincushion is known as a ‘sprocket’ design in sewing literature as the slices resemble the spokes of a wheel – this is typically achieved by sewing wedges of fabric together to form a circular shape. That can be a little time consuming, so we’re going to cheat and use half square triangles to achieve a very similar look – easy peasy! 🙂
PIN CUSHION MATERIALS
(8) 3 ½″ print squares (pincushion top)
(2) 3 ½″ x 6 ½″ rectangles (pincushion bottom)
Polyester fibre filling
Template (printed on A4 – check size using the 1″ reference grid) – download HERE
PIN CUSHION ASSEMBLY
1. Divide up the 3 ½″ squares into four pairs. Using a fabric pen draw a diagonal from corner to corner on the back of one print from each pair. Place right sides together with the other print and sew along the traced line. Repeat for all four pairs.
2. Trim each half square triangle (HST) ¼″ away from the seam on one side.
3. Press the HSTs open and lay out on a flat surface, paying attention to the direction of the seams. Sew the HSTs together in pairs with a ¼″ seam then sew the rows together. Press seam open. Your finished block should measure 6 ½″ square.
4. Flip over and place the template on the back of the block, lining up the guides with the seams to make sure it’s central. Trace all the way around with a fabric pen. Set aside.
5. Sew the two bottom rectangles together along one long edge with a ¼″ seam, leaving a 2″ gap in the middle unsewn, securing all beginning and end stitches. Press seam open. This 2″ gap is the opening through which we will be stuffing the pincushion – as it’s on the bottom rather than on the edge of the pincushion this will make sure the shape of the pincushion is not distorted when we blind stitch it closed. I love this neat trick!
6. Place the pincushion top and bottom together, right sides facing. Using a very short stitch length, sew all the way around the circle we traced before, sewing over your beginning stitches a few times to secure. It is very important to use a short stitch length as we don’t want the seam stretching when we stuff the pincushion firmly. Trim the excess fabric with pinking scissors.
7. Turn the pincushion inside out through the 2″ gap on the bottom. Using a turning tool or a blunt instrument such as a chopstick push the edges out until you have a perfect circle. Stuff the pincushion very firmly through the opening with fiber fill (tip: add fiber fill gradually in small pieces, rather than big chunks, and use a blunt instrument to push it all the way out to the edges. Stuff until the circular edge is smooth but the seams are not overstretched – if you have ripples along the edges it’s not stuffed firmly enough). Blind stitch the opening closed by hand.
8. Sew a decorative button in the centre, using a thick thread such as perle cotton and a long needle (I used a doll making needle but any needle long enough to go through the entire thickness of the pincushion will do). Whilst sewing push the needle all the way through the centre of the pincushion then back again a few times to create a dimple in the middle. This will give extra stability to the pincushion and also firm up the stuffing a little more. Finish with a decorative bow as shown if desired.
And that concludes my tutorial – thank you for joining me today! Please come visit me over on my blog Down Grapevine Lane and you can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I share lots more ideas and inspiration.
Post Update: Summer Blush is now out of print, but some pieces are still available on Etsy. Happy sewing!
Oh my goodness – that is the most clever pincushion tutorial I’ve ever seen! I’m dying to make some myself now – maybe as Mother’s Day gifts.
Check out these other popular tutorials from Sedef. Many of them make the perfect gift for a friend:
Thank you so much for sharing you talents with us, Sedef! If you haven’t visited Sedef’s blog, Down Grapevine Lane, you must do so. It’s visually so beautiful and inspiring.