Retro Pincushion Tutorial



Sometimes you just need a cute little project to revive your spirit after hours of soul-crushing prototyping on another project, one that seemed so innocent and simple at the

time. Anyways maybe that’s just me. This little boxy pincushion, made from scraps of quilting cotton, took me about 30 minutes to make, and makes me happy every time I see it next to the sewing machine. It’s retro-ey in both spirit and fabric (the floral is a 1930s reproduction feedsack print) and something you’ll actually use. Try it as a beginner sewing project– the corners and button offer just enough complexity, and the quick nature of the project means almost instant gratification. Little girls might find it the perfect size for a doll chair cushion or pillow.

I just managed to write over 100 words about a pincushion. I have no idea what that says about me as a person.


-Two 5″ by 5″ squares cotton fabric

-One 20″ by 2″ strip cotton fabric

-Thread to match

-Small amount polyester fiberfill

-2 buttons, any size really, though tiny ones may be more difficult to sew on

3/8″ seam allowance


1. With one square right side up and the band upside down, line up top edges together and pin. Sew along the top edge, corner to corner.

2. To turn the corner, fold the fabric up against the edge you just sewed. Pin the top edges of the next side together. Sew carefully around the corner, trying not to stitch any folds.

3. Repeat on the next 2 sides. Be sure to leave the one vertical corner with the binding edges open.

4. Pin the second square to the top binding edge and sew, carefully easing around corners.

5. Repeat on the other 3 sides.

6. Turn the whole thing inside-out through corner opening.

pincushion 2

7 & 8. Stuff cushion with polyester fiberfill. Use the eraser end of a pencil to get it in the corners (the gap is rather small.) Stuff firmly as you can.

9. Use a hand sewing needle and thread to stitch up the corner gap. Turn raw edges inside and use mattress stitch for the cleanest finish.

10, 11. Use a ruler to find the center of both the top and bottom of the pincushion; draw a dot with a pencil or fabric pen. Place one button on the bottom and one on the top; sew through both together. Tie thread firmly around both buttons to draw cushion in.Continue to sew on buttons together, pulling tightly through each round (the buttons equalize each other’s pressure and allow for a nice snug center.) Tie off and clip thread.

12. The finished cushion!

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