I've seen a few pincushion tutorials around on the net, and most of the time I skim over them, because pincushions seem so, well, easy.... This one is no exception, but I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring anyway....
After rearranging my studio, and ending up with two workspaces, one for cutting, and one for sewing, the need for an extra pincushion became very clear, and after seeing these two examples by Heather, and Manda, I thought it was time to give it a go. (I probably would have bought one of Manda's, but by the time I saw the post she had sold out! Gah!)
So here goes:
This pincushion is a simple patchworked number, four squares on each side, with a button detail in the centre. Easy Peasy.
First of all, you need to choose some fabric. I ended up with a plain white linen, plus two contrasting cotton fabrics, so the cushion would be different on each side.
Then, make yourself a little 2 1/2 inch square template out of cardboard or such. I don't have a rotary cutter or quilt ruler or any fancy tools, so I trace directly around the template onto the fabric, and then leave a seam allowance around that when cutting. This leaves the traced line as your sewing line, and gets rid of the need for perfect 1/4 inch seams and such. It's a inperfect art, but there you go.
So trace around your templates, remembering to leave a seam allowance....You'll need two squares each of the contrasting fabric, and four of the plain.
Cut out your squares.
Stitch the squares together, following the traced stitching line, to make two 5 inch square blocks. Press the seams down flat. Don't stress too much if your squares don't meet perfectly in the middle, your button will cover that at the end anyway...
Place the two block right sides together, and stitch all the way around the outside, leaving a small hole for turning it round the right way and stuffing. Trim the seams and clip the corners.
Turn that sucker inside out (well, the right way round, actually), poke the corners out, and then stuff it quite full with stuffing.
You want your pincushion to be quite plump, so overstuff it as much as you can without straining the seams....
Sew up the hole you left for the stuffing with tiny little stitches, or some crazy invisible stitching method that you know (and I don't!)
Now it should look like this:
Now for the fun part - finishing!
Choose some buttons that you like to go with the fabrics you've chosen.
I used waxed linen thread for the button part, because it's strong, and you'll be pulling on the thread quite hard, so make sure you use something reasonably strong.
To start off the stitching for the buttons, thread your needle with a double length of thread and tie a knot at one end. Poke your needle through the centre of your pincushion, making sure it comes out in the centre on the other side.
Pull the thread through, but leave a small loop on the front side.
Make a small stitch on the reverse side, bringing the needle out in the centre once again. Don't pull the thread through just yet.
Before you pull the thread through, slip your needle through the loop you made, which will stop the knot from slipping through the fabric into the middle of the cushion.
Pull the thread tight, which should tighten up the loop you left hanging, and bring the whole centre of the cushion in, giving your cushion that cute shape you want.
Now sew your buttons on, stitching right through the centre of your cushion, pulling the thread tight, making the buttons press down in the centre. Use similar sized buttons so you can match up the holes reasonably well on both sides.
When the buttons are secure, bring your thread up to the top, but not through to the other side of the button. Instead, ease the needle out behind the button. This takes a bit of managing, but you should get it without too many dramas.
Your thread should now lie behind the top button like this:
To make a secure knot, use the thread to make a loop behind the button, like so:
Slip the needle through the loop, and tighten well, behind the button. Do a couple of these knots, and then trim off your thread so it hides behind the button.
And voila! You're done!
For those of you with loads of sewing experience, this is a peice of cake, and nothing you won't have seen before. But if you're a beginner, give it a go, especially the button tying technique; this is how I sew on all my buttons, and I haven't had one fall off yet!
Well, there you have it, my first tutorial. If you'd like to see any of the photos in more detail, just click on one and you'll be taken to my Flickr page, where you can see them bigger if you like.
I hope you liked it!