Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Perfectly Pleasing Pincushions Update

Remember when I showed this little jar/lid at the end of my Pincushion Parade post?

I did some research online, looking for ideas or tutorials for turning it into the base of a pincushion. The best resources were found by doing a search on make-do pincushions. The tutorial I ended up using can be found on Needletraditions Blog. You should go check out the lovely handmade pincushions on view there. So very pretty!

Using the steps outlined in the tutorial I made this paper pattern,

and then cut a muslin base in that shape. I pieced appropriately themed scraps onto the muslin,

and sewed it into a cone shape.

Then came the question of how to stuff it. I had some wool roving I needle-felted into the tip and then worked more into a rough approximation of the cone shape. I couldn't completely fill the shape out though. Back in the day I'd read that human hair used to be used to fill pincushions. The oils in the hair are supposed to help to keep the needles and pins lubricated while at the same time providing enough abrasion to keep them sharp. My children were still young at the time and my daughter had long locks. When she finally decided to cut off length I saved those curls. I finally remembered those cuttings after a few days of casting about for a way to firmly stuff this pincushion . Yup, that's what I used, and it seems to have worked well!

It also took some time to find a way to secure the stuffed strawberry shape in the glass jar/lid. I didn't want to use an adhesive because of my chemical sensitivity issues. Nor did I want to rely on a husband or son to do the job for me. In the end I found a nearly empty spool of thread - a short spool - that fit inside the jar. A couple of wraps of cotton batting made for a more snug fit. To disguise the batting and gathered end of the strawberry I covered the neck of the jar with a bit of ribbon that just happened to be printed with a zig-zag stitch. Ta daa!

When the Pincushion Parade had come to an end I realized that I'd left out a pincushion I'd been given for my birthday this year. And since completing this make-do pincushion I've received another, from an online friend.

Christina gave me the needlepoint doggie and Annett made the mini with the tiny thimble in the middle. I'll have no excuse to have pins or needles lying around loose now!


  1. Wow! Love what you did with that little jar and the other pin cushions are lovely.

  2. I had a look at that strawberry pincushion tutorial link and I must say they are mini works of art but, because of that, I would never want to stick pins in them. Yours is still pretty but, because it is relatively unadorned, I would find it more practical. I have actually taken to retrieving some of my daughters' soft toys from the attic and using them as pincushions. There were some protests when they saw 'Babe' looking more like a porcupine than a pig on my work table but at least he's not gathering dust ;)

  3. It has a wonderfully vintage look, as if it has come straight from a Victorian lady's workbox. Beautiful job, and the hair stuffing was inspired!

  4. I like what you did with the jar! It's completely different from what I would ever have thought to do. I have one similar in a little steel bucket, but I like this much better. It looks like a cute little tree!

  5. You clever little Magpie...love your re-use of the jar and the wonderfully unique pincushion that resulted.

  6. Great pincushions. Absolutely love that jar as a base!

  7. heehee I just adore a cute pincushion. So usable but like little statues. LeeAnna

  8. Just wanted to say that I have some of that black and white print in my stash. I bought a lot of it many years ago - I dunno what I thought I was going to do with it. Little squares of it keep turning up in my scrap quilts. I've never seen it used by anyone else before now, so it gave me a little giggle to see it in your pincushions.

    Sydney, Australia


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