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Sew a Beautiful Pincushion

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Read Time: 4 min

A pincushion is one of those practical items that you'll find in any good sewing kit, but it's also something that can look pretty cute, too. This tutorial will show you how to create your own pincushion from scratch, with a few scraps of co-ordinating fabric and felt. Click through for the full how-to.


Supplies for Pincushion TutorialSupplies for Pincushion TutorialSupplies for Pincushion Tutorial
  • Soft toy stuffing material.
  • Pen.
  • Square of 25cm (10 in.) fabric (choose something with a bit of stretch).
  • Square of 6cm (2.5 in) felt.
  • Sewing pins.
  • Scissors.
  • Bead or button.
  • Sewing thread.
  • Thick waxed thread.
  • Two needles in two different sizes for the different thread.

1. Prepare the Circle

Step 1

First select your materials and choose your colour palette. I used grey and yellow, which is a sophisticated and chic look in design and interiors right now. Pick a fabric with a delicate pattern in your main colour and choose a matching thread.

You also need a thicker waxed thread and a piece of felt in the contrasting colour. As a final detail, I used a delicate filigree bead in grey for the decoration. You could use a nice matching button.

STEP1-DRAW A CIRCLE-pin cushionSTEP1-DRAW A CIRCLE-pin cushionSTEP1-DRAW A CIRCLE-pin cushion

Step 2

Draw a circle of 20cm (8 in.) on the piece of fabric. Use our printable template below, or trace around any circular item you have at home. If you print the template on an A4 sheet, the big circle will be 20cm (8 in.) in diameter and the small circle (for the piece of felt) will be around 4.5cm (1.8 in) in diameter.

You can alter these dimensions depending on how big or small you want your pincushion to be. Just keep in mind that the final size of your pincushion will be about half the size of your initial circle.

pattern-pin cushion-minpattern-pin cushion-minpattern-pin cushion-min

Step 3

Now cut around the circle on your fabric, following the guidelines.

STEP2-CUT IT-pin cushionSTEP2-CUT IT-pin cushionSTEP2-CUT IT-pin cushion
STEP2-CUT IT (2)-pin cushionSTEP2-CUT IT (2)-pin cushionSTEP2-CUT IT (2)-pin cushion

2. Pin, Sew and Gather the Circle

Step 1

Place the circle on your working surface with the 'correct' side of the fabric facing downwards. Fold inside about 1cm (0.5 in.) around the perimeter of your circle and pin in place.

STEP3-PIN IT-pin cushionSTEP3-PIN IT-pin cushionSTEP3-PIN IT-pin cushion
STEP3-PIN ITb-pin cushionSTEP3-PIN ITb-pin cushionSTEP3-PIN ITb-pin cushion

Step 2

Now sew the fold down with a running stitch (also known as tacking). This stitch is made by passing your needle in and out of the fabric, ensuring that the surface stitches are equal in length. Use the thinner thread for this step and get a fairly long piece. Sew all around the perimeter of your circle and once you reach the starting point, don't knot or cut your thread.

STEP4-SEW IT (2)-pin cushionSTEP4-SEW IT (2)-pin cushionSTEP4-SEW IT (2)-pin cushion

Step 3

This is the magic moment! Pull your thread gently and be careful not to break it. You fabric will start gathering towards the centre, forming a cocoon shape. Do not pull it completely shut; leave an opening.

STEP5-PULL IT GENTLY-pin cushionSTEP5-PULL IT GENTLY-pin cushionSTEP5-PULL IT GENTLY-pin cushion

3. Stuff and Close the Circle

Step 1

Now take some soft stuffing material and push it into your mini cushion. Be generous with the filling. Stuff the pincushion as much as you can; we want it to be extra fluffy.

STEP6-ADD FILLING-pin cushionSTEP6-ADD FILLING-pin cushionSTEP6-ADD FILLING-pin cushion

Step 2

When the pincushion is full, pull the thread and close it for good this time. Knot several times to secure and cut the thread.

STEP7-CLOSE IT-pin cushionSTEP7-CLOSE IT-pin cushionSTEP7-CLOSE IT-pin cushion
STEP7-CLOSE IT (2)-pin cushionSTEP7-CLOSE IT (2)-pin cushionSTEP7-CLOSE IT (2)-pin cushion

4. Wrap and Pop a Bead on Top

Step 1

Now it's time to wrap your pincushion. Thread a needle with a long piece of the thicker thread in the contrasting colour. Now from the centre of your cushion, pass the thread from the bottom going upwards. Wrap it around the cushion and pass it again from the bottom upwards, pulling it tight.

STEP8-RAP IT (3)-pin cushionSTEP8-RAP IT (3)-pin cushionSTEP8-RAP IT (3)-pin cushion

Repeat this about seven times, wrapping the thread around the cushion and effectively dividing it into segments. Pull the thread tight each time. Be careful not to pass the needle through the exact same point to avoid creating a hole in the fabric. When you've completed wrapping the thread around the sphere, knot to secure the thread.

STEP8-RAP IT (4)-pin cushionSTEP8-RAP IT (4)-pin cushionSTEP8-RAP IT (4)-pin cushion

Step 2

Sew your bead or button securely to the centre top of the pincushion.

STEP9-ADD A BEAD-pin cushionSTEP9-ADD A BEAD-pin cushionSTEP9-ADD A BEAD-pin cushion

5. Attach the Felt Circle

Step 1

You're almost there. You just need to make a felt base for the pincushion to make it stable and neat. Use the smaller circle in the template provided to trace a circle on to the piece of felt. Cut it out carefully.

STEP10-MAKE A CIRCLE (2)-pin cushionSTEP10-MAKE A CIRCLE (2)-pin cushionSTEP10-MAKE A CIRCLE (2)-pin cushion

Step 2

Place the felt circle on the lower part of the pincushion. Sew around the circle in a half stitch, attaching the felt circle to the fabric.

STEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM (2)-pin cushionSTEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM (2)-pin cushionSTEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM (2)-pin cushion
STEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM (3)-pin cushionSTEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM (3)-pin cushionSTEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM (3)-pin cushion
STEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM-pin cushionSTEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM-pin cushionSTEP11-SEW THE BOTTOM-pin cushion

Pin it!

That's it. You've just made a beautiful pincushion that's almost too nice to stash away in your sewing basket. Nice job!

In this tutorial, you've learnt how to make a simple pincushion by pinning, sewing and stuffing a circle of fabric, and embellishing it by winding a piece of thread around the sphere to divide it into segments.

final IMAGE-pin cushionfinal IMAGE-pin cushionfinal IMAGE-pin cushion

Now you can try making pincushions in different fabrics, and you could also make an extra-large pincushion. They make fantastic gifts for crafty friends!

Tell us how you get on with your pincushion in the comments section below.

After more sewing tutorials? Why not try making your own stunning clutch bag?

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