"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

Thomas Moore

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

TUTORIAL - the elegant pincushion...

I had the loveliest time making this pincushion yesterday. Having never made a strawberry pincushion before I wisely did a practice run on Saturday with some scrap fabric and felt. Once I was sure of how it worked this softer, more elegant version came to life as the star of today's tutorial.

Before we begin, download the free templates for the strawberry shapes here and trace them onto a piece of template plastic. You could also paste the pages onto a piece of thin cardboard (from a cereal box) and once dry cut them out.

For the body of my pincushion I've cut from an embroidered linen shirt purchased for $2 at the op shop (goodwill/charity store), and for the leafy section across the top a lovely olive/gold tonal from the upcoming "Memory Lane" fabrics by Tilda. 

When you have made your two templates from the pattern sheet, trace the larger one onto the fabric you'll be using for the body of the strawberry and fuse a piece of Parlan, wadding or thin Pellon behind it. Cut out the shape.

Cut a 4" x 8" piece of fabric for your leaf section, fold in half right sides together and trace the leaf shape onto one side...

Sew along the traced line...

Cut around the shape leaving a 1/8" seam...

Cut a straight line across the centre of the leaf, being careful to cut through only one layer of the fabric.

Clip into the corners between each leaf but don't cut through the sewn line.

Turn right side out, carefully pushing out the edges of each leaf with a rounded tool such as a knitting needle or chopstick. Press flat.

Fold the body of the strawberry in half, right sides facing, and sew down the side with a 1/4" seam and turn right side out.

Sew a line of running stitch around the top, about an 1/8" from the edge, with two strands of thread or some Perle #12 cotton. Leave both ends of the thread free as we will gather this later.

If you have a glass jar or mug place the pincushion inside to keep it stable while you fill it. 
I've used ground walnut shells because they keep pins sharp and the unnoticeable residue of walnut oil prevents pins and needles from rusting.
(ground walnut shells can be purchased at pet stores in the reptile section)
Fill to about 1/2" from the top.

NOTE: do not give anything with walnut shells to a person with a nut allergy.
Other options for filling pincushions are polyester toy filling or wool scraps.

Carefully gather the top of the strawberry pincushion by pulling both ends of the running stitch thread tight and tying in a secure knot.
There will be a little opening but don't worry as that is covered in the next step.

Pin the leaf section (with the cut side facing down) over the top of the pincushion opening by pushing the pins down into the filling.

Very carefully blind stitch around the edges of the leaves, securing them to the strawberry. Keep your stitches small and close together as this will prevent the filling from spilling out later.
(Note: If you find this too difficult you could blanket stitch around the leaves instead)

Sew pearl beads to the point of each leaf.

Randomly sew tiny gold seed beads across the strawberry.

Choose some ribbon. Mine is a tarnished silk one from a small supply I collected many years ago.

Sew the centre of the ribbon to the middle of the leaf section.

Sew a button with plenty of bling to the top of the strawberry pincushion.

And there you are!
You have an elegant strawberry pincushion.

Hubby said this looked 'almost Christmassy' and 'would make a lovely ornament'. 
He's a man of few words is my Mr E, so I thought this was a lovely compliment and a great idea but if I was making one as an ornament I think simple polyester stuffing would be best as it's lighter than ground walnut shells.

Hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and I'd love to know if you're going to make one!



  1. Thank you Jenny !! This is a beautiful and elegant pincushion.

  2. Putting this on my list! Thanks Jenny!

  3. Thank you Jenny !! This is a beautiful and elegant pincushion.

  4. I just love this! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial with us. I can't wait to make a few of them. Dawn

  5. Your pin cushion is lovely Jenny. I agree with Mr E, it does look a little Christmassy. That's for the great tutorial. Hugs, Christine xx

  6. Thank you very much Jenny for this tutorial.......;it's a very beautiful pincushion

  7. Hi Jenny,

    Love it, it's gorgeous. I'll show you a photo when I make it, and yes, I too agree with Mr. E so I will also make some for Christmas.

    Warm hugs,

  8. Thank you very much. I absolutely love this pincussion. I will make myself one and a few as gifts. South-Africa is very cold at the moment. It is going to be like this for the entire week.... brrrrr. Keep well and be blessed.

  9. Beautiful. I think it would make a lovely wedding favour :)

  10. This certainly is elegant, Jenny! And a fantastic way to up-cycle a beautiful but worn item of clothing!

  11. Thank you for the tutorial. It is beautiful!

  12. What a gorgeous pincushion. Thank you for the tutorial, could get making some with Christmas gifts in mind.

  13. Mr. E is very right as this is lovely and certainly got worthy. Jenny Dear your tutorial is simple and excellent. Thank you for this great idea. Your Strawberry Pincushion is Deliciious!

  14. Lovely Jenny - thank you. xx

  15. Jenny thats just too pretty thank you for another great tutorial.. your little girl looks so sweet with her little tummy sticking out there... the fun is knowing whats inside and how you'll all love that baby..

  16. Good Morning Jenny! Oh this is so beautiful and will definitely be a gift I will be making! You did a wonderful job on the tutorial, as you always do (which is a great talent to have). I kept envisioning several different fabrics that I have to use to create a few of these lovely pin cushions. Thank you for sharing this pattern and tutorial; it is greatly appreciated and will be used many times by me. Have a fantastic creative day!

  17. Oh Jenny what a sweet little tutorial...and just the thing I can make for a friend who is having a celebration of their wedding...When they got married 25 years ago on July 31st they were just at the county court house..this year their children are helping them by having a small wedding and reception in their backyard...this little pincushion will be carried by their youngest grand and holding those 2 important symbols of their marriage....

  18. Thank you Jenny for the lovely pincushion and yes it would make a lovely ornament too! Baby watch can be bit nerve racking! But soon Mama and everyone will be able to hold and kiss that sweet new Bub with loving arms!

    Hugs and Blessings to you and yours

  19. I've seen strawberry pin cushions before, but none as elegant as yours!! Thank you for sharing!

  20. As always, you've taken something a little intimidating and made it simple and easy. I'm going to look for some wide eyelet lace I think I have around here. It would be perfect. I may make more than one; we'll see how far my remaining walnut shells go! But I can't do it until August.

  21. Thank you Jenny, this is just so pretty...

  22. Muchas gracias Jenny
    Es una preciosidad

  23. I love this.....so pretty and elegant. Thankyou Jenny. I am eagerly watching your posts for news of a tiny arrival....and saying prayers for Blossom and all the family. Take care Jenny xoxo

  24. Muchas gracias Jenny , es tan bonito y delicado que da pena utilizarlo y que se ensucie. Me encanta y seguro que me haré uno para decorar mi cuarto de costura.

  25. Muchas gracias Jenny , es tan bonito y delicado que da pena utilizarlo y que se ensucie. Me encanta y seguro que me haré uno para decorar mi cuarto de costura.

  26. That is just stunning! Thanks for the tutorial.

  27. It is just beautiful. I want to make one too soon. Thank you for sharing this dearest Jenny. With love Janice

  28. I just love your embroidery and tutorials!...
    I was wondering if you could post a blurb on your gorgeous site somewhere about the hazards of using ground walnut shells for those who are highly allergic to them, like me. Some may not even know they are allergic.

    Thanks for all that you do ... you do wonderful work...

  29. Oh yes and possible alternatives... i forgot that in my previous comment..


  30. Thanks InkkFreakk! I hadn't even considered this, so I have now added a note/warning in the blog post. Bless you!

  31. Thank you for the instructions for the Elegant Strawberry Pincushion, I love it.

  32. now another trip to the OP! Didn't see your lovely strawberry pincushion first! Love it JENNY

  33. This very pretty, it would also (I think) make a pretty sachet if filled with Lavender buds! hmmmm...thank you, I like all of your creations... Susan

  34. Hi Jenny - I realize this post has been around for a while, but I wanted to know if you can tell me what size button to use? I am actually going to use a Swarovski filigree setting and need to know how many mm in diameter it should be. Thank you!

  35. Hi Calean, the button is 1 inch diameter.


It's always nice to receive feedback on a blog post, so *thank you* for taking time to comment!
I will try to reply via email unless you are a 'no reply blogger' which means you'll have to check for my reply in the comments. Of course, life is a rather hazardous activity, isn't it? So if I don't respond to your comment that's the reason why - life simply stepped in...