3 inch block pincushion


Hey.  You miss me right?  I know.  I never come around anymore, and when I do, I am just trying to get you to make stuff.  But, don’t you want to make things that you can get done in just one day?  No, I mean for real.  In one day.  I tell you what.  If you don’t trust me, I understand.  I have been there with the ‘(insert project here) in a day!!!’ books, pamphlets, and classes.  I am telling you, it’s lies, all lies.  I always end up with little bits cut out of yardage, and a half-baked tea cozy…or whatever.  But this here is legit, y’all.  You can bank this one on me.

So are you with me? Quick, grab or make a block that measures 3 1/2 inches square. (This block will finish at 3 inches, which explains how I came up with the genius title.)  This could be a churn dash, a log cabin, a split rail, improv, or even a paper-pieced pterodactyl.

And so it begins.

Supplies needed:

  • 1- 3 1/2 inch block of spectacular beauty
  • fabric scraps for the border cut into four rectangles. A ten inch square scrap would be plenty. 2 rectangles will be 1 3/4″ x 3 1/2″, and two rectangles will be 1 3/4″ x 6″. *note: if you are using a directional, read or follow pattern to the end before cutting, so you don’t get mad at me for ruining your day. (Seriously! Only one day!)
  • batting scrap measuring 6 1/2″ square
  • a 6″ scrap of fabric for the back or bottom of the pincushion
  • a 6″ piece of light weight, or woven interfacing, such as Pellon Shape Flex 101 (SF101)
  • Stuffing/filling:  Buy the ten pound bag, then only use a hand full…it’s the law.
  • a small plastic grid ruler, pencil, thread, needle, and if you sew like me…a seam ripper is always good to have around.  Don’t ask me why.


These are the fabrics that I chose for the job.  I have already cut pieces to start.

Okay, so this next picture shows the grey border rectangles already sewn to the 3 1/2 inch block, because I thought that I got a picture of the process, but like a dufus, I didn’t; however, you can easily imagine that you take the two smaller rectangles, and using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew one to each side of the 3 1/2 inch center block.  Then take the two remaining larger rectangles and sew one to the other two sides so that it looks like this:


Place the block on top of your piece of batting making sure to center it.  You do not need the backing piece yet.  (by the way, I have also used flannel or thermal fleece for batting on these.) At this point, you can put a decorative hand quilt stitch around the edge of the block using pearl cotton, DMC floss, or similar.  It isn’t necessary, it’s just to make it look pretty, y’all.


Whether you decide to do that decorative quilt stitch or not, be sure to put a baste stitch around the perimeter of the pincushion top, 1/8″ from the edge, so that it looks like this:


Trim the excess batting from the edge of the block so that it measures 6″ square.  Set aside.


Now we are going to prepare the back, or bottom, of the pincushion by stabilizing it with the lightweight or woven interfacing.  Both the backing piece of fabric and the interfacing should be cut to 6″ square.


You will attach it, following the product instructions, to the wrong side of the fabric.  Make sure that the rough side of the interfacing is facing the fabric.  If you get this wrong, it will adhere right to your iron. I have never made this mistake, but a distant cousin on my mom’s side of the family has a friend who said that it was the dumbest thing she has ever done.

Now we get to sew the two pieces together like a miniature pillow.  Placing the two pieces, right sides together, you will stitch around the perimeter of the square, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 2″ area unstitched, so that you can turn it right side out later.  In this picture, I marked the sewing lines on mine, purely for you to see your sewing lines easier, but you don’t need to mark yours.


Okay, don’t turn it inside out yet.  I know you want to, but we are going to gusset the corners first.  Super easy. Pinch one corner like this:



Then make it lay flat, so that the seams line up, and the corner is flat.  Make sure the other three corners are tucked out of the way when you mark your sewing line, 1/2 inch from where the corner stitches meet. (not the tip of the outer seam allowance). To help you see where I am measuring from, I made the line in this photo black, so that you can see the 1/2 inch.  Take a pencil to draw your sewing line, following the edge of the ruler.


Sew the corner, sewing right on the line that you drew, using a shorter stitch length.  Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and end.  Repeat this procedure for the other three corners.  Trim the corner tips off, about 1/4″ on the outside of the stitches that you just made:


Your pincushion should now look like a styrofoam clamshell for fast food hamburgers. 😀


Turn this right side out.


stuff it full of fiber fill, wool, or your pincushion filler of choice.

Stitch the opening closed. By. Hand. Duct tape is only okay if you are over deadline, or if you know you will never, ever, do this again anyway.

Please tag me (‘buttoncounter’ on social media) in your pictures if you make one (Instagram, blog, Flickr, etc.)  I would LOVE to see your version. Please remember that it is a lot of work to make a tutorial, with taking photos, uploading, typing up explainations, editing, then putting your soul out there on social media for people to critique, especially if that tutorial is free.  So, please be an awesome human, and do me a solid by mentioning me and this post if you happen to use it.  I thank you tons and tons.  Have a great and wonderful day!