October 4, 2015

Flower Pin Cushion Tutorial

The Pin Cushion Party for Good Neighbors is over but the fun doesn't have to be. You can see all the wonderful pin cushions made for the party here. Plus I'm back with a tutorial on how to make this sweet little pin cushion. Enjoy.

Amanda Jean's Good Neighbors charm pack has so many great fabric combinations it's hard to decide which three to use. Different prints in one color. Same print in different colors. Here's a few of the possibilities I pulled together.

This is the group I settled on . . . 

What you'll need:

  • 3 charm squares or 3  -  5" x 5" squares of fabric.                                                                           Two for the top and bottom of the cushion plus one for the yoyo.
  • 2  -  5" x 5" pieces of light to medium weight fusible interfacing
  • 1 decorative button
  • 3 small pony tail holders to create cushion divisions. Or you can use embroidery floss.
  • Fiber fill or ground walnut shells for stuffing. See my notes below for more information on how different fillers behave.
  • small funnel if you plan to use walnut shells.
  • circle template approximately 4 1/2" in diameter. Use anything around the house that is about 1/2" smaller than the square. I used a plastic lid from a grocery store container.


Making the pin cushion base:
  • Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the charm squares for the top and bottom of the cushion.
  • Trace a circle onto the fused side of one square. 
  • Pin the top and bottom squares together right sides facing. 
  • Sew along the pencil circle line leaving about an inch opening to add the filling. Backstitch at the beginning and end.

  • Cut out the circle by trimming about 1/8" from the stitching line. Use pinking shears if available.

  • Turn inside out and work out into a smoothly curved circle. 
  • Press. Also press the seam allowance of the opening under to create a crease.
  • Fill the pin cushion with the stuffing of your choice. If you use walnut shells, a small funnel will make this step easier. If you don't have a funnel, create your own from a piece of paper or snip a small hole in the corner of a baggie. 
  • Sew the opening closed using a tiny slip stitch.

  • Use small pony tail holders to stretch around the pin cushion dividing it into six sections. Poke and smush the filling until the cushion is evenly divided and the petal shapes are smooth and similar sized. If you prefer you can use embroidery floss for this step.

Making the yoyo:
  • Using the same circle template you used for the cushion base, trace a circle onto the yoyo charm square and cut out.
  • Turn under 1/4" all around the edge and press .
  • Hand sew a long basting stitch around the edge leaving long thread tails at both ends.
  • Pull the thread tails and ease the circle into a yoyo. Tie off.

  • Sew the yoyo in place on top of the cushion and finish off with a decorative button. Originally I made a blue yoyo but decided once it was done that I wanted more color.

So I simply made another yoyo in red. I think the red adds a bit more punch.

If you used floss, you may wish to finish the bottom of your cushion to hide the sewing. Simply glue or hand sew a felt circle to the bottom.

You've just made a sweet little pin cushion and it didn't take long at all did it? They are perfect to give as gifts to your sewing friends and just plain fun to collect and have around. Consider yourself warned because they can be rather addictive. Just saying.

Filling Experiment and Notes:
When I made the pin cushions for the blog hop, I experimented with three different fillings. 
Fiber fill, steel wool, and crushed walnut shells. Each one filled differently, resulting in varying feels and looks to each pin cushion.

Fiber fill was easy to stuff and resulted in a very light weight pin cushion. This can be a good thing if you are mailing it but not so good if you need it to stay put on your table. I could easily see the fiber filled one being carted off by my kitties. The yellow one has fiber fill and is nice and puffy.

Steel wool is supposed to help sharpen the pins but is hard to fill, creates a mess and did not fill out the cushion very well resulting in a flat pin cushion. I would not recommend it. The red one has steel wool.

Crushed walnut shells are easy to fill if you have a small funnel. The walnut shells fill out the cushion nicely but it can be a little harder to sew the opening closed without loosing a bit.  HINT: fill over another container to catch any spills. The aqua one is filled with walnut shells and is the plumpest and has the nicest weight. Crushed walnut shells are available from your local pet supply store in the lizard supplies. Downside; you only need a little and the shells are sold in rather large quantities. Good time to share the expense with a quilty friend. Or plan on making lots of pin cushions.

I have also heard of using seeds, sand, and bird grit which is available from a pet supply store. I would be cautious about using any filling that might attract bugs or other critters.

Hope you found this little tutorial helpful. Now go make a pin cushion or two or three . . .  : )



  1. Your pin cushions are adorable. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I think I can make those. Great idea using the pony tail holders too. Thanks again!

  2. Lovely pincushions. Thank you Anne, for publishing the tutorial.

  3. What a sweet pincushion! I love the little flower on top! Not sure that we can buy walnut shells here in Australia! I have to use fibrefill but occasionally add lead shot in a small baggie to add extra weight to the base!

  4. Anne, your pin cushions are just darling! Thanks for the great tutorial.

  5. What fun pincushions, I love the way the pony tail holders form the petals. Thanks also for your thoughts on fillers, I always use crushed walnut shells and have been thinking of trying steel wool.

  6. You always have a "value-added" tip in your how-to's which I love reading about. I also wanted to tell you that I have the same poppy button in my collection! Now I need to find somewhere fun to place it. Cute pincushion!

  7. I like to use the decorator glass stones to fill the bottom for weight and use fiberfill in the top. It is the best of both types I think. I purchased one of those bags of walnut shells for pincushions. Yes, kind of expensive. Then, a friend reminded me you must be careful of using the shells because people allergic to nuts will also be allergic to shells. And so that expensive stuff just sits there staring at me-daring me to use it!!!


WaHoo!!! You're leaving me a comment. Thanks for stopping by and do come back again. Quilt on, Anne.