For a sweet, scrappy pincushion, appliqué wedges in a rainbow of assorted prints and wrap the finished project in a novelty ribbon.
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Download this Project

Designer: Sachiko Aldous

Finished size: 6-1/4" diameter


Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

  • 1/3 yard light gray print (appliqué, foundation circle, pincushion)
  • 12­—3" squares assorted prints in rainbow colors (Dresden unit)
  • 7" square thin batting or flannel
  • 21-1/4"-long piece of measuring tape-motif ribbon
  • Scrap of freezer paper
  • Polyester fiberfill

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" above for Patterns A–C. When cutting Pattern A center circle from fabric, be sure to add a 1/4" seam allowance beyond drawn line.

From light gray print, cut:

  • 1—1-3/4×21-1/4" strip
  • 2 of Pattern C
  • 1 of Pattern A

From each assorted print, cut:

  • 1 of Pattern B

From batting or flannel, cut:

  • 1 of Pattern C

Make Center Circle Appliqué

Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Press seams in directions indicated by arrows on diagrams. If no direction is specified, press seam toward darker fabric.

Instructions that follow use a freezer-paper method for preparing the A circle appliqué. To use this method, complete the following steps.

1) Layer freezer paper, shiny side down, over Pattern A. Use a pencil to trace pattern once. Cut out freezer-paper A circle template on drawn line.

2) Center freezer-paper A template with shiny side up on wrong side of light gray print A circle (Diagram 1). Using tip of a hot dry iron, press fabric seam allowance over edge of freezer paper, ensuring fabric is taut against template. Let cool; remove freezer paper to make center circle appliqué.

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Make Dresden Unit

1) Fold a print B piece in half, with right side inside and long edges aligned; finger-press fold (Diagram 2). Stitch about 1/4" from top edge. To reduce bulk, trim away a small triangle at folded edge.

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2) Turn Step 1 unit right side out; place unit right side down on a pressing surface. Using crease to center the point, press point flat and seam open to make a wedge (Diagram 3).

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3) Using remaining assorted print B pieces, repeat steps 1 and 2 to make 12 wedges total.

4) Referring to Diagram 4 for color order, lay out wedges in six pairs.

5) Sew together wedges in each pair; press seams open. Join pairs to make a Dresden unit (Diagram 5). Press seams open. The hole in the center of the Dresden unit will be covered later.

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Assemble Pincushion Top

1) Fold a light gray print C circle in half horizontally and vertically. Finger-press to make a foundation circle with placement guidelines; unfold. Referring to Appliqué Placement Diagram, center Dresden unit and center circle appliqué atop foundation circle; pin.

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2) Using desired appliqué method, stitch Dresden unit and center circle appliqué atop foundation circle to make appliquéd pincushion top. Designer Sachiko Aldous hand-appliquéd her pieces using a neutral gray thread to match the foundation circle.

3) Layer appliquéd pincushion top and batting or flannel C circle. Quilt as desired. Sachiko hand-quilted a line down the center of each wedge. She quilted 1/4" inside the center circle and 1/4" around the outside of the Dresden unit.

Assemble Pincushion

1) Referring to Diagram 6, center and sew measuring tape ribbon atop light gray print 1-3/4×21-1/4" strip.

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2) With right side inside, fold Step 1 strip in half widthwise. Sew short ends together to make a side unit. Press seam open.

3) With right sides together, pin quilted pincushion top to one edge of side unit. Sew together along pinned edges (Diagram 7). Make small clips around edges, being careful not to cut into seam.

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4) With right sides together, pin and join remaining edge of side unit to remaining light gray print C circle, leaving a 2" opening (Diagram 8).

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5) Turn right side out, using a chopstick or knitting needle to push out curved edges.

6) Stuff firmly with fiberfill through opening. Hand-stitch opening closed to complete pincushion.