Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Pincushion How-To

I've been asked a few times for the steps to finishing my completed cross stitch.  For example, the ornament I finished back in July.  Unfortunately, I didn't photograph my steps as I went along creating this ornament.  I will admit that I made them up as I went along.  So next time I do one, I can take pictures as I go to give you an idea of how that festive little creation came about.

Yesterday, I took time to make the pincushion from my completed "La Fleur".  This time I did keep the camera by my side as I worked in order to give the step-by-step instructions for making a pincushion.

First, take your completed stitched piece and trim around the edges if necessary.  Make sure to give yourself enough seam allowance a little allowance around the edge of your stitching.  A 3/8" seam allowance works well.  Then cut a backing piece and some fusible lightweight interfacing, both of the same size as the stitched piece.
Fuse the interfacing to the back of your stitched piece, using the manufacturer's directions.  Next, pin the backing to the stitched/interfacing piece, matching right sides.  Then sew along the edges leaving an opening of about 2".
Trim the seams to about 1/4" and clip the corners diagonally, but don't get too close to the stitching or it will spoil your day!  Turn your piece right side out.  This is a good time to give it a little pressing, if necessary.
Now you're ready to fill your pincushion!  Go and find a pet bird and ask if you can have some of his crushed walnut shells.  (I finally found out that birds use this as their cage litter.  Who knew?)  So tell him that they must be unused crushed walnut shells.  Or if you don't know any pet birds, then go to your nearest pet supply store and get a bag of them.  Get ready to do some lifting because I don't think this stuff comes in teeny tiny bags.  You'll have enough for many, many pincushions.  Or you can share with other stitchers. 
After you've filled your cushion to your liking (I like a little space in there to give it a squishy feel), then pin and stitch the opening closed by hand.
It's cute enough to leave like this or you can add some trim to the outside edge.  I chose some 1/8" organza ribbon and ran a thread right down the middle of it and gathered it up. 
This took a while but the result was worth the time.  Just make sure you have enough to go all the way around your pincushion.
Sew the trim on by hand right over the seam.  Then enjoy your awesome handiwork and your finished product!
Well, what do you think?  I hope you liked this little tutorial on how to craft your own pincushion.  There are a lot of different smaller cross stitch charts that you can use for this project.  The design doesn't have to be square.  Just pick something you like and give it a try!


  1. Gorgeous! That red organza ribbon sets it off perfectly!

  2. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing - I could do this for sure.

  3. Why crushed walnut shells, I have seen this before and wonder why... why not crushed pecan shells, why crushed nut shell at all? Is it because less likely to leak out, don't mold or smell bad... good for the needles you put in it?

    it turned out really pretty

    1. Thank you. I stitched a Blackbird Designs pincushion a while back and they recommended crushed walnut shells for the filling. Then someone told me that it makes a good pincushion filling. I like the texture of it and it weights the cushion down too. I'm not sure why other shells couldn't be used. Maybe these are just readily available.

  4. You make it look so easy! I would probably wind up stitching myself to the pincushion, haha. Yours turned out lovely! :D