Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's all in the wrist

Back in junior high -- my sewing teacher was a strict, grim woman who likely hated children. Well, we didn't like her much either, but I did admire her wrist pin cushion. It was one of those utilitarian affairs -- a red cuff with a hunk of thick felt in the middle, with pins sticking out of it. It kept track of those pins in the same grim manner as our teacher. And nonetheless, I still enjoy sewing...
Now that summer is here and I am sewing a few things outside, I decided to make myself a cute wrist pin cushion. With this little cushion, I won't end up losing a pin in the grass, the deck, or worse, on the cushion of the porch swing.

 Use a large bottle cap. Cut a circle of fabric roughly twice the diameter of the cap. Turn under a scant hem and make a running stitch around the circle. If you use tiny stitches and strong thread, you will get smoother gathers.
Cover the outside of  bottle cap with glue -- including the sides. Let it sit for a minute so it goes a bit tacky. Set the cap into the little cup formed when you pull up the gathering threads in the fabric circle. Press the fabric onto the cap, smoothing with your fingers.
 Iron on some heavy duty interfacing onto a scrap fabric. Cut out a circle that it is slightly smaller than the bottle cap top. Fold this circle in half and cut two small slits in the middle of the circle, slightly apart, but parallel to each other. Set this circle aside for the moment.
 Cut out a petal shape from cardboard. This might be bigger or smaller, based on the diameter of the cap you are using. The base of my petals measured about 3 cm (1-1/4 inches) across the bottom. Fold scrap fabric in half, right sides together, and trace seven (7) petals onto the wrong side. Pin together. Use a small stitch on your machine to sew the petals along the traced line, leaving the bottom open for turning. Cut out, leaving a scant seam allowance, and then carefully turn right side out. Press the petals. Thread a needle with strong thread and run a line of running stitches along the bottom of the first petal. Push this petal down the thread. Add all the petals to the thread.

 Pull the thread to lightly gather the petals into a circle. Tack the ends together to close the circle. At this point, distribute the gathers around the petals so that they aren't bunched up in some areas and hardly visible in others.

Trace a fabric circle roughly four times the diameter of the bottle cap. (I traced a bowl for a nice even circle) Turn under a scant hem and, using strong thread, make small running stitches around the fabric circle. Pull up the gathering threads to create a cup of fabric. Using a handful of polyester filling, stuff the circle. A tip: use small amounts, put first in the middle of the circle and then pushed to the sides all around the circle. As you stuff, you will be also pulling up the threads. Stuff it quite full, you want a serious pillow for the pins.
Pull the gathering threads tightly and knot the end. Don't cut the thread. Instead lace the bottom by using long stitches in one direction and then in the other. This provides a bit more stability for the the cushion. Knot the thread several times and then cut it.
Fire up your glue gun. Attach the petals to the cushion bottom. Press down carefully to make sure you've made maximum contact. (Just remember that hot glue is really hot and it sticks painfully to hands).
 Remember that interfaced fabric circle with the slits? You need it now. Measure your wrist with 13 mm (1/4 inch) elastic. I needed 23cm (about 9  inches) of elastic. Thread the elastic through each of the slits in the circle. Attach the ends and sew them together. Go over the join several times to make sure it is good and strong. Pull the elastic down so that it is flush with the circle back. Spread some PVA glue onto the back of the circle and the back of the fabric covered cap. Adhere the circle to the bottom of the cap. Put a dot of glue on each end of the elastic to tack it to the cap for stability.
 When the elastic has dried onto the cap, run a bead of hot glue around the sides and into the middle of the cap. Place the petaled cushion into the cap and hold firmly until the glue cools and hardens.
Now you have a wrist pin cushion that is both cheerful and useful.
Bonus: your family and friends are spared from accidentally sitting on pin on the front porch swing.


  1. it's so pretty :)

  2. I think I had the same sewing teacher - or at least - her twin sister - YIKES!

    Cute pincushion, and thank you for coralling your pins so I don't use my own feet or butt as a pincushion at your place - much appreciated ;)

  3. Great tutorial Nancy, just one question though, don't you enjoy watching your loved ones sit on pins? Am I a bit odd?

  4. Aww, that's super cute! Nancy emailed me about your adorable pin cushion and I'm so glad she did. I would love to link to this if you didn't mind.

  5. cute and simple. Tnx for the tutorial.


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