Creative Pincushions | Madam Sew

Creative Pincushions

Who doesn’t need more pincushions in the sewing room? I keep several going at once as I like to keep my types of pins separate. I have 1-1/4” sewing pins that are heat resistant plastic, 1-3/4” glass head pins for sewing and quilting, 1” thin applique pins, 2” glass head pins for clothing construction, and 3” pearl head pins for longarming. So much better to keep these all on their own pincushion so I have what I need when I need it, instead of pulling the wrong one out of a mishmash of pin types all on one. It is also helpful to have a couple of pincushions for the same pin type when I am sewing and jumping up to the iron. I can pull from one pincushion then replace in a second one after pressing. Making your own pincushions is fun and creative, and here are some ideas for your sewing room.


Almost anything that can hold stuffing can be a pincushion. Teacups, baskets, canning jars, small porcelain pots and wooden cups can all be choices to suit your fancy. Cut a circle of fabric approximately twice the size of your container opening. Take a running stitch around the edge to make it easier to gather. Then, place a ball of fiberfil in the middle, pull up the threads into a ball and glue into your container of choice. If you are using a teacup and saucer, glue the cup to the saucer, too.

For canning jars, push the top of the ball through the opening on the ring.

canning jars

Then glue the lid into the ring on the underside.

glue the lid

Fill the jar with buttons, or place threads and needles inside for a fun sewing kit. These make wonderful gifts for sewing friends.

fill the jar with buttons

Small stuffed figurals make cute pincushions as well. Patterns for these can be found in books and in commercial patterns. Little birds and flower shapes are fast and fun to do.  

birds and flower shapes

A simple figural pincushion chicken is easy to make. It looks cute in whatever fabric print you choose, with small buttons for eyes, and the beak, comb and tail in a coordinating color. Here is a free pattern for you.

Sew a Chicken Pincushion


2 squares of fabric 4 ½” each (body)
Fabric squares for tail (3-1/2”), beak ( 1-1/2”), and comb (2-1/2”)
Beads or buttons for eyes
Scraps of fusible batting or batting
Filling of choice - recommend walnut shells

Chicken pincushion

Fold the fabric squares for the tail, beak and body in half diagonally and press, then fold diagonally again and press again. All raw edges should now be together.

fold the fabric squares

Place one 4.5” square right side up. Working with the right top corner, place comb triangle, on the top edge, facing inward and at least ¼” back from the corner. Be sure the point t is facing toward the center of the fabric square, raw edges matching. Pin in place. Place your beak triangle in the same upper right corner, but this time it goes on the right edge, at least ¼” from the corner. Pin in place. Place the second 4.5” square right side down on top of the first square.

Sew across the top where the comb is pinned and then pivot at the corner to sew the right side beak edge. At the bottom corner, pivot again and sew only about 1 inch to leave a generous opening for filling later. Tie off the threads, move over about 2 inches, and sew the remainder of that edge to the left side. Leave the left edge unsewn for the next step.

sew across the top

Pick up the piece, and open the seam on the left side. Refold so the opening is perpendicular to the rest of the seams you have already sewn, meeting the seams in the center. Before you sew the seam, insert the triangle tail. Be sure the point is facing inward, raw edges along the seam line. Pin in place, and sew the entire seam.

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Turn your completed chicken right side out through the opening in the bottom you left earlier. Insert scrap stuffing, or batting (cotton ball size) up into the peak of your chicken’s head. Fill with filling of your choice, batting scraps, fiberfill or ground walnut shells. (better than rice or beans because of critters and will keep your pins sharp).

If you use walnut shells, insert a scrap of batting between the shells and the seam to keep them inside while you stitch the final seam. Otherwise, just firmly stuff with batting or fiberfill. Whip stitch the seam closed by hand.

Sew on buttons, or beads for the eyes, pulling the thread through both sides to indent the head slightly for contour.

sew on buttons

One last idea, if you need to have one at your fingertips, here’s how to make a finger pincushion. You’ll need a bottle cap, a piece of 1/4-inch wide elastic 3-1/2-inches long, a circle of fabric twice as large as your bottle cap diameter, some fiberfill, needle and thread, and a hot glue gun.

finger pincushion

Run a line of basting stitching by hand around the edge of the fabric circle, pull on the threads to create a pouch. Stuff with fiberfill and pull threads tight. Tie a knot with the ends of the threads. Hot glue one end of the elastic into the inside of the bottle cap, run the elastic around the bottom outside of the cap, then glue the other end inside on the opposite edge.

Hot glue the fabric ball inside the bottle cap. It will fit on your finger and the cap will protect you from stabbing yourself with the pins. They are right where you need them, when you need them. Expand on this idea using the cap to a larger jar and longer, thicker elastic for one that will fit your wrist.

hot glue the fabric ball inside

Have fun making your own pincushions!

own pincushion

Stop by my blog for more easy projects.

Plus for more small projects, see my travel set series here on Madam Sew - click on Lingerie Case / Book Cover, Jewelry Roll, Curling Iron Case, Cosmetic Bag, and Shoe Case. I have even more fun projects on the Madam Sew Blog, check out my Wool Pressing Mat Carrier, Through the Window Wall Hanging and Crazy Quilted Christmas Stocking.

I’ll be doing more articles to advance your quilting skills on Madam Sew. Subscribe to the Madam Sew blog so you don’t miss a thing!

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Thanks so much for this blog. Adorable pin cushions—you really got the creative juices flowing for me!

Jan Elise Dean

Really enjoy your articles

Julia marois

This is neat & will be very helpful while sewing a project!

Lynda Garver

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