I posted this Liberty patchwork pincushion on my Instagram feed recently and wanted to share the instructions and a free pattern so you can make one of your own. This is such a great project for small scraps and would make a lovely gift to a sewist!
I didn’t take pictures when I made my Liberty cushion but I made this one using my vintage feedsack fabrics to show you how. The finished pincushion measures a little over 5″ in diameter.
- Pincushion PDF pattern download here
- Fabric scraps for the top. You can cut 2 pieces out of a 5″ square
- 7″ x 8″ fabric piece for the bottom
- 20″ length of fabric cut on bias for the band. You can use 1 inch bias binding too. ( optional )
- Embroidery floss or heavyweight cotton thread ( optional )
- Button ( optional )
1. Print the pincushion pattern. Make sure to select “Actual Size” when printing. Check the 1″ square measurement to make you printed the pattern at the right scale. Cut the pattern pieces for the top and bottom.
2. Select the fabrics you want to use for your pincushion top and cut 8 top pieces.
3. Select the fabrics you want to use for your pincushion bottom and cut 2 bottom pieces.
4. This band around the pincushion is optional if you want to add some height to your pincushion. If you prefer to leave it out, you can just sew the top and bottom together. I cut my band 1.25″ wide on the bias but you can cut wider or narrower depending how much you want the print of the band to show on the side. Remember to leave 1/4″ for your seam allowances. I chose to cut on the bias to make it easier to ease around the curves of the circle.
5. Now we can start sewing. Sew the bottom 2 pieces right sides together with a 1/2″ seam allowance. This is the only part of the pattern that uses 1/2″ seams. All other seam allowances are 1/4″ seams. Sew with a regular stitch length ( I used 2.5 ) at the top of the circle. When you reach halfway, backstitch, and then switch to a 5 stitch length and sew for about 2 inches. Switch back to a 2.5 stitch length, backstitch, and then sew to the end. The 2 inches of 5″ basting stitch will be removed later to create the gap where you will insert your pincushion stuffing.
6. Press the seams of your circle open. Make sure the circle lies flat. Now remove the 2 inches of basting stitches you just sewed like the picture below.
7. For the pincushion top, take 2 pieces you want for your center and sew right sides together. Then sew another piece on each side so you get a semi-circle ( pictured on left ). Press your seams open ( pictured on right ). Trim any excess fabric from the middle of your semi-circle. I adjusted my PDF pattern after I made this tutorial so you shouldn’t need to do any trimming.
8. Once you have 2 semi-circles, sew them right sides together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. No worries if you can’t get the points to match exactly. You can sew a button in the middle to hide it =)
9. You should now have 2 circles, 1 for the top and 1 for the bottom. Make sure both of them are equal size. If not, trim until they are. This is especially important if you are sewing a band around the pincushion as you want the top and bottom to be equal size so the band will fit.
10. With right sides together sew the band to the top of pincushion. It should be easier if you cut your band on a bias. You can cut on the grain but it’ll be harder to sew. When you get to the last 2 inches stop and backstitch. Your band should be longer than what’s needed for your circle. Pin the remaining gap around the circle and mark the part of the band closed to get a perfect fit. I suggest sewing with a basting stitch and then checking the band fits all the way around. This is more work but ensures your band fits perfectly around your pincushion top.
11. Once you’re satisfied with the fit, sew your band with a permanent stitch and trim the excess fabric. Then sew the last 2 inches of the band to the top of your pincushion. In the picture below I’ve sewn the gap on my band closed and pressed the seams open before I get ready to sew the remaining 2 inches to the top of my pincushion.
12. Iron the seam to one side so the edges will be smoother when you turn your pincushion right side out. I chose to iron my seams toward the band. Your pincushion top should look like the picture below once it’s attached to the band.
13. This last part is the most challenging. With right sides together, sew the bottom of your pincushion to the other side of the band. You will end up with something like this when you done. Sew slowly to ease your band around the curves.
14. Turn our pincushion right side out using the gap on the bottom where you removed the basting stitches. Fill with fiberfill or your stuffing of choice. Because the gap is on the bottom of this pincushion, if you use fine stuffing like ground walnut shells or rice, I suggest your insert a piece of felt or sturdy fabric inside that will cover the gap so your stuffing won’t leak out once it’s sewn shut. I used a ladder stitch to close my gap.
15. At this point, your pincushion should looks like this from the top.
16. I used embroidery floss to sew around each triangle wedge of my pincushion and put a button in the middle. This step is optional but I think it adds such a nice touch to the pincushion don’t you think? Note that I’ve only tried this using fiberfill stuffing. If you use a hard stuffing like rice or ground walnut shells I’m not sure if your needle will be able to pass through and if it does your filling might leak from the bottom.
Here the view from the bottom. The floss is sewing from the middle of the pincushion and looped around each “wedge” of the pincushion and then pulled down tightly.
I’d love to see the pincushions you made from this tutorial. If you like to make a Liberty one, check out my Etsy shop for Liberty charm packs to use for the top of your pincushion.
If you make a pincushion from my pattern to sell, I’d appreciate a credit link back to my blog.
Thanks for stopping by today and happy “mad” pincushion making!