September 22, 2017

Ultimate Tips for DIY Quilted Pin Cushion Success

DIY Pin Cushion Tutorial | Modern Quilting | Improv Quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

After posting my Frolic Plus pin cushion on Instagram for the Pinnie Parade hosted by Cheri of Tinkerellen, many of you reached out to know a little more about my pin cushion making approach.

Ask and you shall receive 😉

Today’s the day, my quilty friends, that I share ALL my pin cushion making secrets with you!

Read on to ensure your own quilted pin cushion success!

Frolic Plus Pin Cushion | DIY Modern Quilted Pin Cushion Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | Michael Miller Fabrics | Tamara Kate Frolic Fabric Collection

Let’s face it, you have WAY too many scraps sitting in your stash. And you save these precious little bits because you can’t bring yourself to throw them out. Surely, you’ll find a project to sneak those precious little bits into. Right?

Well, my friend, pin cushions are your answer!

They’re quick.

They’re easy.

They’re an opportunity to explore your creativity.

They use up your favourite scraps.

And, they’re just so darn cute. You know you get a little happier just looking at them. It’s OK, I do too 😉

So, here’s how most of my pin cushions come to be.

My scraps are normally scraps from the last project I was working on. You know my penchant for sharing scraps and trimmings on Instagram. I just can’t help it! And inevitably those scrappy bits are beckoning me “Shannon, come play with us.” 

In fact, it’s happened that I’ve created a pin cushion top before I even finished my quilt. That’s how this idea of creating pin cushions from my project scraps got started. I loved working on my Playtime Quilt SO much that I wanted a keepsake. A little token to remind me of the beautiful collection I was working with and the enjoyment I experienced during that quilt journey. 

Plaground Pin Cushion | Hand Quilted | Sewing Quilting Notions | Shannon Fraser Designs | Art Gallery Fabrics | Playground Fabric designed by Amy Sinibaldi


And so, now, as I cut my fabrics, I neatly set aside my scraps into corresponding sizes. I allow those pretty scrappy piles to inspire me before dipping in and selecting which pieces I’ll use.

So, now that we know which materials I use, here’s a behind the scenes look at my quilted pin cushion in the making. I’m using these cute little scraps to demonstrate how I build my pin cushions from the ground up.

Fabric scraps a starting point for DIY pin cushions | Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids |

A pile of scraps is great, but where do you go from there?

The design I choose is dependent on a few things.
  • Am I feeling playful and adventurous?
  • Are the pieces calling out to be stitched a certain way? Because all scraps chat with you, right? No, just me?!
  • Do I want to try a new technique out? Exploring new techniques on a small project is a great way to test it out without having to commit to an entire project. So practical!

In this instance, these little scraps you see here - these are all as they were. Little leftovers from blocks I cut from strips. Different sizes and different leftovers. But they all look like they will play together nicely, don’t you think?

This was as organic a creation as possible. I picked some little trimmings that caught my eye. I liked the colour. I like the shape. Hmm, they look nice together. How about I place them like this? And what about if I arrange them like that? I keep doing this until I find the one that feels the best to me. This could take a couple of minutes or it could be longer. There is no set way here. Just do what feels right to you.

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Front and back panels | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

Once you’ve settled on a design, now comes the time to piece it all together and add some quilting ðŸ˜Š You can lots of personality with the stitching you select. Here I went for straight line quilting using Aufiril Cotton Mako Thread in 40wt. 

But you can choose to practice free motion quilting, which is what I did for the backing of my Frolic Plus pin cushion. Or, you could add some hand stitched detail. Which I did on my Playground pinnie. Lots of options to explore!

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Front and back panels trimmed | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

Before stitching them together, be sure to square your panels up. I'm always amazed at how good it feels to square them up! This is when I really start to get excited and see my design coming to fruition.

Now don't toss those trimmings - we'll use some for the stuffing! Say what? Yup, why throw those bits in the garbage when they can be recycled as pinnie stuffing!

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Stitching the perimeter | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs |

Place your two panels right sides together (RST), and stitch around the permieter. I use a 1/2" seam allowance instead of the usual 1/4" we use in piecing. I also back stitch at the beginning and end leavning a whole to turn her.

Before turning her, take the time to trim your corners. This will help reduce bulk and give you nice corrners.

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Trimming the corners | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs |

Leave a bigger opening than you think you’ll need.  Turning all those layers adds up to lots of bulk. Some of my seams on my quilted piece popped…so, do as I say not as I do 😜

I use a Clover Hera Marker Slim to help push those corners out. Such a nifty little tool!

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Pocking the corners out with Clover Hera Slim Marker | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

Now comes the fun of filling her up! 

Some pin cushion filling options to consider:
  • Crushed walnut shells 
  • Quilt batting scraps
  • Thread scraps
  • Emery sand – this will also help sharpen your pins
  • Steel wool – also good at keeping your pins sharp
  • Polyester filling like Poly-fil, which is great if you want a lightweight pin cushion
  • Dried rice or beans
There is no right or wrong here, just preference. I like my pin cushions to have a nice weight to them so I love using crushed walnut shells. I recently picked up this huge bag, so I’ll be in pinnie making business for awhile without needing a restock! I used to use dried rice, but I like the density of the crushed walnut shells better. That’s just me though 😉 You do you!

Crushed Walnut Shells | Perfect filling for DIY Quilted Pin Cushions | Shannon Fraser Designs | Sewing Quilting Notions


Fill it more than you think. I like a nicely stuffed pinnie so don’t be shy or stingy with the filling. Oh, and a funnel works wonders at getting the crushed walnut shells in there.

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Filling Time | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Filling Time | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

It can be messy - consider yourself forewarned!

Tip – if you fill them with something hefty, they also make great pattern weights if you have a large pattern you need to cut out!

At this point, you have a filled pin cushion with a small opening.

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion in progress | Modern Quilting | DIY | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

For a seamless look, I like to blind baste the opening of my pin cushions using Aurifil Mako Cotton Thread in 50wt and a straw needle. Don't forget your Thread Heaven!


And voilà you have a completed pin cushion!

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion | Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids

Modern Quilted Pin Cushion | Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | RJR Fabrics | Cotton Supreme Solids


Top 10 tips for quilted pin cushion success:
  1. Have fun!
  2. Don’t overthink it!
  3. Find pieces you love and you’ll love the outcome.
  4. Try different quilting techniques, such as free motion quilting.
  5. Choose your favourite filling.
  6. Leave a bigger opening than you think you need to turn her right side out.
  7. Fill your pin cushion more than you think it needs. No one wants a sadly stuffed pinnie!
  8. Blind baste the pinnie closed for a seamless look.
  9. Experiment with new ideas.
  10. There is no right or wrong, just do you!
Top 10 Tips for DIY Modern Quilted Pin Cushions | Free Tutorial | Shannon Fraser Designs | Sewing Quilting Notions and Tools | Sewing Kit Essentials | Quilting Tools

Now that I’ve shared my pinnie making secrets, I would love to hear your tips and tricks! Share them in the comments below 😊

Happy quilting my friends!

xo,
Shannon

P.S. I'm adding this post to Tips and Tutorials Tuesday hosted by Late Night Quilter and Quilting Jet Girl. Be sure to check out the link party for other great tips!

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Other posts you might like:

My First Quilt - A Study in Half Square Triangles | Modern Quilting | Shannon Fraser Designs |

Love All Around Quilt Block | Quilting Community | Spreading the Love | Shannon Fraser Designs | Hand Quilting | Mini Quilt | Modern Quilting

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Great tips! And I love the idea of making a pincushion from the scraps of a project, immediately after finishing one. What a great way to remember the fabrics, the quilt, etc. It's almost like a scrapbook but stuffed!! :-)

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    1. Yes!! Such a great way of putting it, Izzy! This is especially fun if you intend to give the quilt away 😊

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  3. These are lovely pincushions and thanks for sharing your tips. Leaving a bigger opening is definitely sage advice. Would you consider linking up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday?

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    1. So thrilled you liked the tips, Yvonne! I would definitely love to link up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesday – thanks for the reminder!!!

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