How to Make Pretty Pincushions

comments (52) April 20th, 2016     

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JenSegrest JenSegrest, member
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These cute cushions are as decorative as they are practical.
Hand embroidery is the perfect embellishment for these little treasures.
With a few different stitches, you can make an endless assortment of decorative pincushions.
These cute cushions are as decorative as they are practical.

These cute cushions are as decorative as they are practical.

Photo: Scott Phillips
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Are you ready for "oohs" and "ahs" all around? At just 1-1/2 inches tall, these minute pincushions will be the darlings of any party and the apple of any craftster's eye. They fit neatly into a sewing box and are extremely handy perched on a sewing machine (just add a Velcro dot).

And did I mention that these cushions use recycled materials? The base is a soda-bottle cap wrapped with craft felt. As you can see in the photo, the sky's the limit in terms of design. Besides simple shapes reminiscent of cupcakes or candy, you can fashion a mini poinsettia, a crown, or even a beehive or cactus-cute, cuter, cutest!

What you'll need:
Plastic cap from a liter-size soda bottle
Sharp scissors
Craft felt
Large-eye embroidery needle
Multicolored skeins of embroidery floss
Poly fiberfill

Step 1: Prepare the base
Lay the bottle cap on a small square of felt. Trace the shape with chalk. Then cut along the chalk line with sharp scissors.


Trace a bottle cap on felt. Cut along chalk line with scissors to create the base of the pincushion.

Step 2: Sew outer sleeve to the base
Cut a felt strip a bit wider than your cap's height and long enough to wrap around the cap with some overlap. Wrap it around the cap. Then slipstitch along the overlap. Pop in the base circle, and slipstitch around it as shown. Don't cut the floss!

Wrap outer sleeve around cap. Slipstitch along the overlap.

Slipstitch around the base circle. Leave a tail of floss to complete the bottom of the pincushion.

Step 3: Create the top
Cut a 3-inch square, and then round the corners. Baste around the circle's outer edge. Pull the floss ends to gather. Stuff the pouch with polyfiberfill (until the ball is hard), and knot the floss ends. Press the ball into the base.

Cut a 3-inch square. Round the corners with scissors to create a circle.

Baste around circle's outer edge. Pull the floss to gather.

Fill the gathered circle with fiberfill to create a firm ball. Stuff the pouch into the bottlecap.

Step 4: Sew the ball to the base
Hand-stitch in place using a blanket stitch or whipstitch. Working from right to left, bring the needle from back to front 1/8 inch from the edge. Keep the thread from the previous stitch under the needle point.

Blanket stitch. This stitch secures the top to the base.

Step 5: Embellish with embroidery

Pincushions are the perfect canvas for hand embroidery. Thread your needle with a single strand of embroidery floss. Combine the stitches shown below to make flowers, vines, or geometric designs. If at first you don't succeed, try again. Felt is very forgiving.

Decorate your pincushion. Try different patterns to get a unique look.

Feather Stitch
Working from right to left, bring the needle out at point A. Insert it at point B, holding a loop of thread to the left. Bring the needle up at point C inside the loop. Pull the stitch to tighten. Point C then becomes point A. Repeat.

Feather stitch. Vary the length and angle of your stitches for different effects.

Lazy Daisy
Bring the needle out at point A. Reinsert it into the same hole or close to it, leaving a loop. Exit at point B, holding the loop under the needle. Pull the needle through. Insert the needle on other side of the thread loop to secure.

Lazy Daisy. Use one of more petals to create floral designs.

French Knot
Bring the needle and thread out at point A. Hold the thread taut with your left hand, and wrap it around the needle two or three times. Insert the wrapped needle close to point A.

French knot. Scatter or cluster the knots to add texture.


Photos: Sloan Howard and Scott Phillips

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posted in: embroidery, pincushion, pin

Comments (52)

Criativa writes: Bem giro.
Posted: 8:48 am on April 21st
wifikill writes: Thanks for the great tutorial.
Posted: 8:40 am on August 29th
Stewart_J writes: OMG ! These are so lovely ! Absolutely adore the little crown, hehe ... I even think it would fit on a small animal that wouldn't mind wearing for a single photo shot :)
Posted: 6:02 am on May 26th
MichaelJohnson1977 writes: This is so amazing. I will try to do them with my girlfriend. It will be so much fun!
Posted: 6:01 pm on April 25th
Goodsally12 writes: Really original idea, I will definitely bring some more colors to my sewing world.
Posted: 6:59 am on April 22nd
klwheeler writes: How extremely cute!
Posted: 2:38 am on November 6th
RUMPUT_CRAFT writes: Original detail... Great!!!
Posted: 12:49 am on August 30th
Redstar writes: Jen - These are gorjuss - if you make some of these pincushions in your own colours and decorations can you sell them after? or does that breach your rights?
Posted: 5:57 am on September 16th
fat2mato writes: Loved the idea - but didn't have any little lids - so improvised with a slightly larger one. Used a little spray glue to hold felt in place while I stitched. Very happy with made to look like a cupcake with scalloped edges. Now looking for smaller lids to make some for quilting circle presents. Again, this is a great tutorial!
Posted: 10:51 am on September 9th
pet_preforms writes: Very good post, I was really searching for this topic, as I wanted this topic to understand completely and it is also very rare in internet, that is why it was very difficult to understand.

Thank you for sharing this.


Pet Preforms
Posted: 9:11 am on July 23rd
mcschmidty writes: I love this darling idea! I am going to make some for my sewing friends! Thanks!
Posted: 10:13 am on May 17th
JosieK writes: Thanks for the beautiful idea.
They are so creative and look very quick to make.
Posted: 3:24 am on April 15th
Mork_the_Dork writes: These are such a great idea! Some of my friends like to sew, I think I might make them some. I could also use this to replace my alien pincushion, I got him out of a gumball machine, except it didn't hold gumballs I found out to my displeasure!
Posted: 9:51 am on October 30th
consma writes: I am also wondering how to hide the embroidery floss knots. I would love to give these out as gifts for Christmas.
Posted: 11:07 am on October 7th
puppypowerlove writes: nakpuner i have a question for you i love the idea of adding emory grain in them but how would you put it in could you please send me a video or coment to tell me how. it sound silly but this is the first time i have ever heard of it. where did you get it?
thank you :)
Posted: 5:33 pm on July 22nd
puppypowerlove writes: nakpuner i have a question for you i love the idea of adding emory grain in them but how would you put it in could you please send me a video or coment to tell me how. it sound silly but this is the first time i have ever heard of it. where did you get it?
thank you :)
Posted: 5:33 pm on July 22nd
puppypowerlove writes: i love them, just a couple questions about them though,i dont have stuffing to put in them, so i use toilet paper what elce could i use?
how do you get the top so smooth?
and can you please try to sub mit a video on how to make some of your ddesines (i havebeen trying to add the curves and sew them on but i cant get it right can you halp me?
now i had an idea, because its not easy to poke nedils in to toilate paper i put magnet strips onthe back, and put them in my locker. it works quite well. just an idea.
Posted: 5:23 pm on July 22nd
nettsy writes: What else can I use instead of a liter soda cap? I don't have any. Thanks, Net
Posted: 11:23 am on July 3rd
tlcinspirations writes: These are great, but I was also wondering how to hide all of the embroidery knots??
Posted: 12:33 pm on June 27th
crafter1 writes: These are absolutely wonderful and so very cute. I was wondering if could get permission to make some for a school craft stall. Many, many thanks.
Posted: 12:58 am on March 30th
soxfan999 writes: these are so adorable, my sewing machine is going in for service and here is a handmade project perfect for my days without my mechanical friend.
Posted: 2:36 pm on February 16th
sophiecai writes: so cute...i'm gonna make some
Posted: 1:47 am on February 4th
Doll_Saver writes: I made these about 3 years ago and made some for my friends who were just learning to sew, sort of as a gift of "congratulations for doing more with your retired time than sitting on your duff." They LOVED them. I made them so they would attach to their new machines and be where they had access to them at all times. This is a very useful re-cycle project.
Posted: 7:25 pm on January 21st
lavenderfield writes: Beautiful and oh soooooo cute!! Now I know what to do with all those water bottle caps I've been collecting! Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 12:44 am on January 21st
lavenderfield writes: Beautiful and oh soooooo cute!! Now I know what to do with all those water bottle caps I've been collecting! Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 12:44 am on January 21st
samsstuff writes: Adorable & so simple! This is a must try. Thanks for posting!
Posted: 7:58 pm on January 20th
valerinagirl writes: I made these pincushions and even taught them to some sewing friends. They are so pretty and you can use your imagination with embelishments. Great craft!
Posted: 5:42 pm on January 20th
kbcoffee writes: I made one awhile ago and love it. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful styles, will make more now.
Posted: 3:07 pm on January 20th
lorri110 writes: very cute. I will have to make one.
Posted: 5:44 pm on December 1st
susant2009 writes: Made these last year when the article came out on the cover of a magazine. FABULOUS! Couldn't hold on to them after I showed my rather large family. The are adorable and once you get the hang of the construction, they are made rather fast.
Posted: 9:23 am on August 25th
littlednme writes: These are too cute! I can see how they could be addictive!!! I have recently learned to embroider, I love it. I can hardly wait to make one of these for myself! Thanks for sharing such a fun idea!!!
Posted: 11:21 am on May 11th
Eternal_Clouds writes: my grandma love these thanks i love them too
Posted: 7:18 pm on March 8th
RichesStitches writes: Jen,
I am an avid crafter and a team member of our local community craft group in Adelaide South Australia, which is a not for profit organisation, in fact we only charge a $3 entrance fee to cover costs and offer free craft classes (none of the teachers get paid and they teach voluntarily). I was wondering if you would kindly give me permission to copy your tutorial instructions and teachCo a small group of ladies your Pretty Pin Cushions. I have made a number of these wonderful Pin Cushions for myself and as gifts for crafting friends and as we are always looking for new things to teach at our group I thought that this would fit in nicely with my theme for next term called ‘One Week Wonders’. I am hoping to teach quick to make crafts that can be completed in a couple of hours. I wait to hear your response and any conditions that you may have.
Regards Jane 8o)

Posted: 6:04 pm on February 17th
iekisch writes: Hello, I translated your article and placed it at my blog. Hpoe that is ok :)
Posted: 2:14 pm on February 6th
nakpunar writes: This pincushion is very beautiful. You can use emery grain to fill it.

Every time you stick your needle or pin into an emery pincushion, it cleans it of the natural oils in your fingers and any impurities in your cloth. It also sharpens the very tip of your needle, making your work quicker and easier on your hands.

You can find in my store:
Posted: 11:28 am on December 29th
sewhappy10000 writes: Oh Girl!! These are just precious. I tried a larger version that I posted and have finished 2 of them. I really enjoyed making them. You are a real inspiration. I posted my pincushion on my blog and linked to you here. I hope this is OK. If not, let me know and I will remove it. Thanks.
Posted: 12:55 pm on October 11th
Stefana_2712 writes: Hi.
I am from Romania.Very nice work. I will try to do at least one (for me). It is the most beautiful thing from this site. I love it.
Posted: 3:25 am on July 12th
artlikebread writes: Wow. That is possibly the coolest thing I've seen in my life. And I've seen a lot of cool things!
Posted: 10:31 pm on July 8th
SusanElizabeth writes: These are just the cutest!
Posted: 5:37 am on July 3rd
walkinthewoodsllc writes: I love these little pin cushions and I wil have to add this project to my list of make time to make!
Posted: 6:33 am on June 17th
trusk4u writes: Wow! How cute are these? They might have to become a decorative element somewhere in my house. Maybe groupd in a deep box frame and hung in my crafting workroom! Love it. Thanks!
Posted: 8:53 pm on June 3rd
JenSegrest writes: Thanks everyone!

They are addictive, I started three years ago making pincushions for little gifts and Now I'm doing it about 20 hours a week, eeee!

They are kinda like Lay's Chips, you can't make just one!
Posted: 12:13 am on June 2nd
salamonadesign writes: Fantastic idea. I will be making some with my children. Thank you for sharing.
Posted: 5:22 am on May 26th
AmberE writes: smoose003, you have permission as long as you give credit to author and
Posted: 6:39 pm on May 19th
smoose003 writes: I love this. I would like to use your instructions and this idea for a program for an embroidery guild meeting. Can I have you permission to use this?
Posted: 10:53 am on May 19th
AmericanCurl writes: When I saw this picture, I knew I had to try making one -they're just so cute. I was looking for a little gift to give to a few friends at a ladies conference we're attending soon and this seemed like a good, I made one...and another...and another...I'm addicted. My only problem is finding enough bottle caps because we no longer have a soda machine at the office dispensing bottles. I've made at least 7 or 8 and keep thinking up different color combinations! I have some gold metallic thread and want to try that crown... Thanks so much for sharing!
Posted: 2:48 pm on May 9th
majnets3s writes: This is wonderfull and so cute!
Posted: 3:59 am on May 8th
pattieann writes: I loved making this but am wondering how to hide all the knots from the embroidery work?
The article was very well written and easy to follow.
Posted: 3:09 pm on May 2nd
sewpassionate writes: What a great idea! I love that it incorporates recycling with creativity. It is a small enough project to make it portable, and simple enough to create several within an hour. Everyone can use at least one, but it is so pretty, who wouldn't want at least 1/2 a dozen.

Glue a magnet to the bottom and you can attach it to the refrigerator.

Attach a velcro strip/dot and you can put it anywhere else you like!

Posted: 4:57 pm on April 28th
BluePlum writes: Soooooooooooooo cute! I'm going to make some!
Posted: 9:27 pm on April 24th
CandyButtons writes: These are ridiculously cute... I have made bottle cap pincushions before with regular cotton and had the problem of the floss pulling through the cotton when you pull it tight. Did you have any similar problems with the felt?
Posted: 9:35 pm on April 15th
qdpatooties writes: These are gorgeous! What a great idea and a great tutorial!!!
Posted: 9:55 am on April 12th
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