Wool pincushions pose as spring hats, making them perfect party favors for a Mother's Day luncheon or sewing circle. Or, make several for yourself and keep one in each of your sewing baskets.
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Designer: Jane Krause

From American Patchwork & Quilting, June 2005


  • 8x10" piece of felted wool for pincushion
  • 1/4x14" strip of contrasting felted wool for hatband
  • Scraps of assorted felted wool for flower appliques
  • Scraps of green felted wool for leaf appliques
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Perle cotton to match or contrast the pincushion wool
  • Embroidery floss: gold and colors to match pincushion wool, hatband, and beads
  • 24--3-mm seed beads
  • Fabric glue

Finished size: 4-1/2" diameter

Cut the Fabrics

To make the best use of your fabrics, cut the pieces in the order that follows. Click on "Download This Project" to download the full-size patterns.

To felt wool, machine-wash it in a hot-water-wash, cool-rinse cycle with a small amount of detergent; machine-dry it on high heat and steam-press.

From pincushion wool, cut:

  • 2 of Pattern A
  • 1 of Pattern B

From assorted wool scraps, cut:

  • 1 each of patterns C, D, and E

From green wool scraps, cut:

  • 2 of Pattern F

Assemble the Pincushion

1. Using two strands of matching embroidery floss and a running stitch, sew around the wool B circle a scant 1/4" from the outer edge (see Running Stitch diagram); do not cut the thread tails.


2. Gently pull the thread tails to gather the B piece until the circle diameter is 2"; knot thread tails.

3. Using the Crown Placement Template, draw a circle in the center of a wool A piece. Pin the gathered wool B piece to the drawn circle on the A piece. With two strands of matching embroidery floss, whipstitch the gathered circle in place (see Whipstitch diagram).


4. Turn the Step 3 piece over and carefully cut a 1" slit in the center of the A piece only. Stuff the fiberfill into the opening until the B piece is full. Whipstitch the opening closed.

Embellish the Pincushion

1. Beginning and ending 1" from the strip ends, and using two strands of matching embroidery floss and a running stitch, stitch down the center of the wool 1/4x14" strip. Gather the strip to fit around the base of the B piece by pulling both floss ends. Knot the floss in place leaving 1" wool tails. Evenly distribute the gathers, then tack the hatband and tails in place with fabric glue.

2. Layer wool applique pieces C, D, and E atop the two green wool F leaves to make a flower.

3. Using four strands of gold embroidery floss and stitching through all the applique layers, stitch a French knot in the flower center to secure. To make a French knot, pull your needle and floss through at the point where the knot is desired (A on the French Knot diagram). Wrap the floss around your needle twice without twisting it. Insert the tip of your needle into the fabric at B, 1/16" away from A. Gently push the wraps down the needle to meet the fabric. Pull your needle and trailing floss through the fabric slowly and smoothly.


4. Tack the flower to the hat where the hatband tails cross

5. Using a single strand of embroidery floss in a color that matches the beads, sew a set of three beads in each scallop on the A piece.

6. Place the embellished pincushion on top of the remaining wool A piece.

7. Using one strand of perle cotton, blanket-stitch around the scalloped A edges to complete the pincushion. To blanket-stitch, pull your needle up at A (see Blanket Stitch diagram), form a reverse L shape with the perle cotton, and hold the angle of the L shape in place with your thumb. Push your needle down at B and come up at C to secure the stitch.