Sweet + Simple Pincushions


These handmade pincushions are easy to make, but also make a special and charming gift for anyone who likes to sew. -Joelle



Circular Template - Your finished pincushion will be about half as big as your template.  I made the tiny pincushion with a 5 1/2-inch circular template from Creative Grids.  The large pincushion was make with a dinner plate that measures 8 1/2-inches.

Fabric - Wide enough to accomodate your circular template. The fabric used for the tiny pincushion is a 19th Century Reproduction Fabric from Windham Fabrics. The fabric used for the large pincushion is a lovely print from Yuwa Fabrics.

Wool Felt - We have a wide selection available here.

Fabric Scissors - For cutting the fabric, I used my beloved 8-inch Gingher Dressmaker Shears, but of course you can use any kind of sharp scissor.

Fabric Marker - For tracing circle onto the back of your fabric. I always prefer to use a sharp pencil to mark my fabric.

Hand Quilting Thread - Hand quilting thread is very strong so you can pull the top of the pincushion very tight without worrying about your thread breaking. 

Embroidery Thread - This should match or compliment your wool felt.  I used Valdani's Pearl Cotton #12 because it has a beautiful sheen and comes in the perfect colors. 

Sharp Embroidery Needle

Stuffing - I used Natural Cotton Stuffing which works very well for pincushions because you can get the cushion to be very dense and solid with it.


1. Trace circle on back of fabric with pencil.  Use your fabric shears to cut on drawn line.

2. Turn edge of circle about 1/4 inch to the wrong side and secure it with a gathering stitch.  (A gathering stitch simply goes in and out of the fabric so that when you pull the thread you create gathers.)


3. Pull the thread as you go.



4. Once you've gone all the way around, pull thread taut, but leave an opening in the top.  Leave thread on the needle, do not tie off.




1. Stuff pincushion as firmly as possible.  I prefer to use Natural Cotton Stuffing because you can get the cushion very firm, which makes it nicer to use.


2. Pull thread taut, tie off end of thread.  (Note: your pincushion will not be completely closed). 


1. Cut out a small circle of wool felt for the pincushion topper.  It should be large enough to cover the opening of your cushion by at least 1/4-inch in all directions. 

2. Thread embroidery needle with an 18-inch length of embroidery thread.  Tie a knot in the opposite end.

3.  Pull needle and thread through felt so that the knot is on the wrong side.  Place felt on top of cushion.


4. Push needle back down through the topper and out of the bottom of the cushion.



1. Wrap embroidery thread around the top of the cushion, underneath the topper, and back around to the bottom.  Catch the needle in the thread coming out of the bottom of the cushion. Pull thread taut.  Wrap embroidery thread around the cushion two more times, catching the needle in the thread coming out of the bottom of the cushion and pulling the thread taut each time.


2. Tie a knot in the thread as close to the bottom of the cushion as possible.  Push needle down through bottom and out about 1/4-inch away.  Pull thread taut to pop the knot inside the cushion.  Trim thread end.  


1. Thread embroidery needle with an 18-inch length of embroidery thread. Tie a knot in the opposite end. 

2. Insert needle into the opening of the pincushion underneath the topper.  Push needle up through pincushion fabric and out of the topper (about 1/8-inch from the edge of the topper).  Pull needle through.

3. Stitch topper to pincushion fabric all the way around.


4. Once you have stitched all the way around the topper, tie a knot in the thread as close to the pincushion as possible, push needle through fabric right next to the edge of the topper and back out again about 1/4-inch away.  Pull thread taut to pop the knot inside the cushion. Trim thread end.



These simple pincushions make a sweet gift for anyone who likes to sew.  Make the gift extra special by including a box of Clover's Glass Head Fine Patchwork Pins (my favorite!). -- Joelle 

8 Responses to Sweet + Simple Pincushions

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  1. laura r. says:

    thank you!!

  2. Mary E says:

    I can’t find that natural cotton stuffing using the link on the tutorial. Can you lead me to it? I did see cotton batting – is that it?

  3. purl bee says:

    Dear Mary,
    Looks like we’re currently out of it on the website… we’ve been selling it like crazy lately! If you don’t want to wait for us to get more in give us a call at the shop, we can ship it to you from there. The number is 212 420-8796, hours are 12-7 Monday to Friday, 12-6 Saturday & Sunday, EST. Also, the cotton batting would not be the best thing to use for stuffing. –Joelle

  4. Monica says:

    I just had to write !! LOVE your pincushions.. ALL of them. I collect them.. Yours are so neat.

  5. Monica says:

    LOVE your pincushions.. I collect them and yours are so neat! M

  6. freya says:

    thankyou so much, i love these :) i made one yesterday and i’m making one for my mum now :)

  7. Ellie says:

    I love your pin cushion.. thank for the tutorial…. i really like it

  8. Nancy says:

    I just love your pin cushions. So glad I found this site. I am going to use this one for my ladies ministry team meeting this month. My theme is centered around Sept being national sewing month. My devotion is a Godly pattern for living. This is just perfect! Thank you!

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