Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's a quick (and easy) Valentine's tutorial!

I don't know about you, but sometimes for me it's all about the instant gratification. Don't get me wrong, I love the process of making a quilt and watching it come together over time, but sometimes I jus want to make something, have it finished, and put it to use! With that being said, I give you...My improv pin cushion tutorial!

When I attended The Sewing Summit last fall, one of my favorite classes was Improv Piecing taught by Jessica Barrett of Urban Patchwork. Since then I have been itching to do an improv quilt, but haven't taken the time yet, so in the interest of instant gratification, I decided to whip up this little pin cushion.

Start by picking a few scraps of patterned fabric that you love, then add in a few solids that work well with it. For this particular pin cushion, I chose "valentine-ey" colors, but it would be darling in so many combinations! Then take your rotary cutter and free hand cut about 8 strips about 1-1.5" wide and 6-10 " long (note: the longer you make your strips, the more room you have to play with how you cut it out).
I just moved my cut strips around until I found a layout I liked.

Now you get to sew them together with 1/4 inch seam!

Don't worry if the strips don't line up, that's the fun part... just line it up as you go along then press after each. This is what gives you the wonderfully curved and imperfect lines!

After you have sewn your strips together, you are going to trim them down to a 4.5" x 4.5 square.
As I mentioned earlier, you can play around with this part. I love improv!

This is what I decided on, THEN, I thought, "how cute would it be to add a simple little embroidery stitch somewhere?" So that's what I did. I used 3 strands of brown embroidery floss and just did a little straight stitch on one of the white strips. Then cut a 4.5' x 4.5" square of solid fabric for the back of your pin cushion. Turn right sides together and sew leaving about a 1.5" opening to turn. then take your scissors and cut off each little corner before you turn.

Turn right side out making sure to get the corners good and now you get to stuff it!
I used crushed walnut shells that I bought at Petco. Notice it is a 7 lb. bag? 7 pounds!!! I think I will be making lots of pin cushions! It gives them a nice weight and is great for your pins as well. I also put in just a little batting. Then I quickly hand stitched the opening together and Voila!  A happy little pin cushion that would make a fun gift for a sewing friend- especially if you pop a few cute pins and some candy in with it!

If any of you feel so inclined to whip one of these up, I would LOVE to see it so leave a comment with a link to your blog please! Thanks and enjoy! :)

P. S. My tutorial is featured on the blog Totally Stitchin' sponsored by Baby Lock.
Thanks McKenzie!


  1. I love pincushions, these are so cute, and I love scrappy projects..I am going to whip up a couple of these today ..Lucia

  2. Hooray Lucia! Pleas post a link when you are done. I love seeing everyone's interpretations!

  3. Super cute! Absolutely love the scrappy stuff.