When I was young, Mother sometimes made gifts for her sisters at Christmas time.  One year she made these pincushions–completely wonderful because they have the thread contained right inside, making mending projects so easy.  These pincushions will last for years and years.


My sons made their own pincushions as a sewing project when they were younger.  This year I made several–one for my future daughter-in-law and a few as thank-you gifts for those who helped us with the wedding.  No complicated pattern needed.  Here’s how:

1/3 yard fabric OR pre-quilted fabric
a whole package of bias tape–double-fold, extra wide
1/3 yard quilt batting (if you did not buy pre-quilted fabric)
stuffing–at least 1/2 LB, possibly more
9-10 small spools of thread:  white, black, navy, brown, light & dark gray, baby blue, tan, and heavy-duty craft tan     *** See note about size at the bottom

1.  If you bought pre-quilted fabric:
Make a 9 1/2 ” circle of out paper.  Use this to cut out 2 circles of the pre-quilted fabric.

If you bought regular fabric, you will have to quilt it yourself:

Make a 9 1/2″ circle out of paper. 

Use this circle as a guide to cut out 4 circles of fabric that are 10 1/2″ to 11″ in diameter.  (I make these bigger because it all tends to shift and get out of line when you’re sewing the quilt lines.  This makes it easier to deal with).

Also cut out 2 pieces of quilt batting that are 10 1/2″ to 11″ in diameter.

Wedge a piece of batting in between 2 fabric pieces, WRONG sides together (remembering that the raw edges will end up being covered with bias tape).

Sew straight lines 2″ apart to quilt.  Do this with the other piece of batting and 2 fabric pieces.

Lay the 9 1/2″ paper circle on top of each again and cut them out to that size.

2.  Sew the bias tape onto the raw edges of both quilted circles. 

When you get to the place where the 2 ends meet, tuck one end under and over the other end to make a neat finish. 

3.  Lay both quilted circles on top of each other, and pin them together.

4.  Make a 6 1/4″ paper circle.

5.  Lay it in the center of the quilted pieces and trace around it with a washout marking pencil.  This will make your sewing line.

6.  Sew the 2 quilted circles together, stitching around the inner circle–but leave an opening (about 3 inches) so that you can put stuffing inside later.

7.  Sew “pockets” for the spools of thread to go into:

Sew the quilted circles together just at the bias tape, spaced every 2 3/4″ to 3″.  You should be able to get 10 of these pockets, with an 11th one that may or may not be too small for a spool of thread, but is big enough to tie a bow at the end.

8.  Stuff the inner circle with batting.

9.  Sew the opening closed–by machine if you can manage it with a zipper foot, or by hand if you cannot.

10.  Take the remaining bias tape and make it skinnier so it can be used as a “rope” or string.

One way to do this is to fold it in half and sew it. 

A prettier way is to partly open the tape, fold the 2 halves inward, and THEN fold it in half and sew it.

11.  Place a spool of thread into each pocket, threading the bias “rope” through the holes of each spool.  Do it this way:  thread spool #1; continue the rope into pocket #1; continue the rope into pocket #2; THEN place spool #1 into pocket #1.  Thread spool #2, continue the rope into pocket #3, etc.


Make sure commonly used colors (such as white) are nearer to the opening end so they can more easily be removed if they get empty.

12.  Tie the “rope” into a bow and you’re finished!

**** 10 small spools can fit into the instructions I gave.  However, nowadays they’re hard to find.  I had to drive out of town (Joann Fabrics) to get them and even then, they were new-fangled with fancy tops that make them taller.  If you buy these kind, either reduce the number of pockets you make (and make the pockets larger) OR cut off the fancy tops and bottoms.

Comparing an old-fashioned spool with a new-fangled one

This is after cutting off the tops and bottoms