Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Selfish Sewing - Pincushion

I generally never sew for myself. I usually make gifts for my niece or nephews, gifts for new babies, or just general fun.

So far this year, I have made myself TWO things! This is huge for me! :) If you count this blog then I've made myself THREE!!

First thing I made was a wall hanging that you can see in my header. I used some free paper piecing patterns to make it. I'll find it and post about that another time.

Now for the thing I made over the weekend. (You know, when I was supposed to be doing a fabric pull, cutting and piecing a quilt for Amanda Jean's Quilt Along?)

Okay, it is so CUTE!!!

Look at it! Isn't it adorable! Here's so more shots of it!

You have probably seen something similar on Pinterest. I finally found the original website here. You can pin it using this link or this one. I loved it! I thought it was darling plus I'm a bookworm so I had to have it in my life! However, I am CHEAP; thus, I could not convince myself to buy it! Thus, I needed to make it myself.

Oh, my gosh! I love it. Of course, I've already come up with ways to "improve" it.
  1. One word: INTERFACING -- for some reason I thought thin cardboard would be a good thing. Downfall? If it gets dirty I can't wash because the cardboard will disintegrate. :(
  2. Small cushion or bigger book pieces! The pillow tends to poke out!
  3. Different closure method - the ribbon bugs me a bit. Need a clasp I think. I could always trim the ribbon and add it which I might do.
Here's how I made it. No pictures because I was afraid it would be a major FAIL!

Hopefully this all makes sense as I have never written a tutorial but wanted to share. I did make up some nifty graphics in MS Publisher so hopefully that will help forgive some of my "uh-ohs" with the instructions!

Pincushion Tutorial

Finished size: 5" X 3" X 2" closed; 5" X 8" X 2" open

Two to three coordinating fabrics - I used scraps from previous quilts
Ribbon - for closure (next time I will use small scraps to make a snap closure instead)
Iron-on Interfacing or cardboard - for sturdiness
Fiberfill - for pillow

Book Construction:
Cut outside and lining fabric to 5.5" X 8.5".
Cut two pieces of ribbon to five inches (trim later if too long for you).
Place outside piece right side up; line up ribbon centered on opposite short sides. The long pieces are ribbon should be in the middle part. Leave about 1/2 inch outside the edges to secure during sewing.
Place lining right side down on top. Securely pin on all sides. Be sure not to catch any of your ribbon that will be used to tie the pincushion closed (see above pictures).
Sew  together using 1/4" seams, leaving a 2" opening for turning. Be sure to back stitch over your ribbon ends to secure them.
Iron you iron-on interfacing cut to 5" X 8" (right inside your sewing lines).
Clip corners and flip right-side out. Gently press out corners.
Note: I inserted small cut pieces of cardboard at this point to give it shape. Next time I will use some type of interfacing to allow me the option of washing later.
Top stitch around perimeter and at the 3" and 5" marks. See diagram below. This will create your "spine" of the book.
Outside numbers are the cutting numbers.
Inside numbers are the finished measurements. I forgot to add the short side measurement: 5 inches!

Pincushion Construction:
I originally was going to make a little box pillow like in my inspiration piece. But then I was lazy! I decided instead to make a little poof pillow to use! I then just attached it to my book with some simple stitches.

Cut two pieces of cushion fabric: 3" by 5" and 5" by 7".
Right sides together, pin each of the corners to each other. Yes, it will look odd with the poofs!
Carefully press each "poof" down making a two little folds. See diagram below.

Do this to all four sides. The middle will be very poof-y!
Sew around all four sides with a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a 1-2 inch opening for turning and stuffing.
Clip the corners and turn right side out.
Flip with fiber fill or your choice of materials (crushed walnut shells work wonderfully!).
After stuffing, whip stitch the opening closed.

I did the very sophisticated stitch right under the pillow to attach it to the book part. I didn't want to see the stitches but I wanted it to be flexible.

Feel free to leave comments with questions. Hopefully I'll have my blog email up soon and you can email me directly there!

Have you done any selfish sewing lately??



  1. I've seen the original one on Pinterest but it looked like it'd be fussy to make look good. Yours turned out cute so I think I should reconsider making one! :)

    1. You should! I definitely thought it would be a huge fail but I actually like the way it turned out. More importantly, I am actually using it! :)

  2. What an adorable pin cushion, Ashley! Makes such a cute book and looks great with the others. So glad you are doing some stitching for yourself... And that you started blogging! Glad to have you for a friend!

    1. Thanks, Lorna! That's my favorite part... it just blends on in!

      I love reading your blog each week and look forward to it each week.


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