I had seen some pictures of a pin cushion caddy, and my secret swap partner had included a photo of one in her inspiration mosaic, so I decided to try my hand making one for her.
I came across this tutorial on Penny’s Hands and saved it on Pinterest. The concept is great, actually, and just what I needed, but Penny’s version uses the English paper piecing method and is sewn entirely by hand. My sister thinks this is awesome, but hand sewing is just not my cup of tea (my cup of tea is most often chai tea, or some other sort of black tea with a flavor). If you love that sort of thing, please, head over, and Penny will show you how to put it together. If you’d rather have “date night” with your sewing machine, here’s how I modified her idea.
From thin cardboard (like a cereal box), cut:
6 rectangles, 4 inches x 2 inches
1 hexagon with 2 inch sides
(Note: Penny links to a website for hexagon template, I just used a protractor. Draw a line, 2 inches long, from one end, use your protractor to draw another 2 inch line, intersecting at a 120-degree angle. Continue this process around until your 6th line intersects the first line you drew.)
Use the cardboard hexagon to cut out a paper hexagon of the same size. Fold the paper hexagon in half.
UPDATE: I created a printable PDF with hexagons of the proper size for this pincushion.
You are going to use the paper half hexagon to make a pattern for the outside pieces of your pincushion caddy. Trace the half hexagon (I suppose we can call it a trapezoid, right?). Now, from the lower, widest edge, draw a 2 inch line straight down from each bottom corner, perpendicular to that bottom edge. Turn your half hexagon (trapezoid) 180-degrees so the corners are touching the ends of those 2-inch lines you just drew. Trace around the three outside edges to complete a modified octagon.
UPDATE: This elongated hexagon/octagon shape can also be found on the printable cutting template PDF for this pincushion caddy.
Add 1/4 inch seam allowances all the way around. Recommendation: I suggest you take in the two sides of this octagon pattern by 1/2 inch. You can leave it as is, but your already large pincushion caddy will be ginormous. I sewed mine up from pieces this size, but then didn’t like how wide it looked and ended up taking in those side seams by 1/2 inch to trim it down.
From fabric, cut:
6 modified octagons, using the pattern you just made
2 hexagons, using your original hexagon pattern (the non-extended one) and adding 1/4 inch seam allowances all the way around
6 rectangles, 2-1/2 inches x 9-1/2 inches
Fold the fabric rectangles in half, lengthwise, and press with your iron. Now you will have 6 double-layer rectangles, 2-1/2 x 4-3/4 inches, with a fold on one short end. These are going to be joined into a cylinder which will from the inside of your pincushion caddy.
Sew the six octagons together in a circle, leaving an opening at the top and bottom. With right sides together, sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance along one of the angled sides until you are 1/4 inch from the edge. Leave the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, and turn the fabric so you can continue to sew along the edge with a 1/4 seam allowance.
When you are finished, you will have something that looks like this.
Now, sew your folded fabric rectangles together, along the long side, to create a tube or cylinder.
Turn the outside of the pincushion caddy wrong side out. Turn the inside of the pincushion caddy right side facing out. Place the inside tube into the top of the outside portion of the pincushion. The folded edges should line up with the top of the outside section.
Line up the seams of the six sections and sew around the top with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, joining the inside of the pincushion caddy to the outside of the pincushion caddy at the top.
Flip the whole thing inside out so that the right side of the outside of the pincushion caddy is facing out and the right side of the inside of the caddy is facing in (are you still with me?)
Flip the pincushion caddy upside down. See how you just made 6 little pockets in that inner cylinder? Stick your cardboard rectangles in there.
Phew! Okay. Almost done.
You should have one cardboard hexagon with 2 inch sides and two (slightly larger) fabric hexagons remaining. Place the cardboard in the middle of the fabric hexagon that will go on the bottom of the caddy. Iron the side over so that the fabric hexagon is the same size as the cardboard. Remove the cardboard.
Now put some good craft glue on the cardboard hexagon. Place the cardboard in the middle of the fabric hexagon that will be on the bottom of the inside of the caddy. Fold the edge of the fabric over the cardboard and glue them down. (I stuck mine between my cutting mat and the table and put something heavy on it until it dried.)
And now! I’m sorry to say that the hand sewing can be avoided no longer. Take the piece that will be on the bottom of your pincushion caddy and hand sew it on. Be sure to catch the inside (just below the cardboard), outside and bottom pieces with your needle and thread. I found it easiest to put about 4 pins in one side, sew that together, and then move on to the next section. Be sure to leave one section open to fill your pincushion.
Now you’re ready to stuff your pincushion. It was suggested to me to use crushed walnut shells, so that’s what I did. You could also use rice or sand or plain ol’ polyfill (though your caddy will be much lighter with that one).
You can find crushed walnut shells at the pet store, in the bird section. Pet store employees will think it strange when you tell them what you’re using the bird litter for.
Would you believe I don’t have a funnel in my house? I use a rolled up notecard, secured with a piece of tape.
Hand sew up that last side, flip your pincushion caddy right side up and stick that fabric covered cardboard hexagon in the bottom.
Ta da! Great job!
It’s too early to send this pincushion caddy out to my secret swap partner, so I’ve been using it next to my own sewing machine for a few days. (sorry, partner, just breaking it in. ha!) I love it. I’m going to have to make one for myself. It’s great to throw my scissors and rotary cutter in there and it’s large enough that I can remove pins and jab them in there without having to look up from my sewing machine.