Sunday, July 05, 2009

Choosing a Pincushion

With the assortment of beautiful and unique pincushions available out there, how do you go about selecting one to fit your needs?

Start by determining where and how you will use your pincushion. Do you sew mostly on a machine? Or do you do mostly hand sewing?

Machine sewing typically requires a pincushion that can hold a lot of pins and that is weighted or somehow fixed to your workstation (so it won't slide as you slam your pins down into it). A broad stabbing surface makes it easier to hit the target.

I often have two pincushions in my machine sewing work areas, one where I pin my patterns and the other by the machine. As the pincushion near my cutting and pinning station empties, I swap it for the one that has filled up by the machine. I would beware of any pincushion made inside teacups or other breakable containers for next to the machine (how many times have I knocked my pincushion off as the fabric pulls through the machine). Some people find a small dish with a magnet attached to the bottom next to the machine is the most useful (again, how many of THESE have I knocked over...)

For hand sewing I prefer a smaller pincushion. I typically sew with just a few needles (between 3-5) and keep about five pins on hand in case I need them. The hand sewing station is where the cute little bottlecap pincushions, pincushions inside teacups, and other smaller pincushions are handy. I use one of my own wrapped wool pincushions because they sit nice and flat, are easy to stab, and the wool seems to keep my needles nice. While weighting may still be useful, I have found that I am not nearly as aggressive whilst stabbing as I am hand sewing. If you are a person who embroiders and prefers to keep several needles threaded at the same time, you may still opt for a larger flatter style pincushion.

Another consideration is if you store your pincushion or leave it out. If you need to pack your pincushion up inside your sewing basket, be sure to select one that is a suitable size, and has a firm grip on the pins and needles. Needle books are a great option for inside the sewing basket, as you may leave your needles threaded without getting the thread tangled inside the basket (simply hitch the thread around the needle after you have stuck it into the book).

Pincushions are the perfect gift for the crafty type. A great place to start looking is

Here are a few of mine.

Wrapped Wool Pincushion by Handmade Pretties - This is a larger wrapped wool pincushion perfect for handsewing or embroidery. Eye catching and unique this beauty can double as art. Made from recycled wool.

Wrapped Wool Pincushion by Handmade Pretties - This is a smaller wrapped wool pincushion perfect for handsewing. Each one it unique.

Cutest Ever Kitty Pincushion by Handmade Pretties - Pick from several color options, or get one to match your own kitty. Can sit on its butt or belly, perfect for machine sewing station.

Patchwork Needlebook by Handmade Pretties - hold needles or pins on several pages a must for any sewing basket. Made from vintage quilt tops.

Wooly Block Pincushion with Vintage Buttons by Handmade Pretties - Gigantic. Perfect next to the machine, but cute on display. Features vintage buttons and recycled wool.

Here are a few of my favorite pincushion shops on

Loose String

Small, Medium, and Large. All beautifully embroidered in a rainbow of colors. Loose String's pincushions would be a welcome addition to my sewing basket anyday.


Super darn cute. Too small for next to my machine, but cute enough to hang out with me in the living room to accept needles while I sew. Comes in several colors, and some of the birds have friends. Be sure to also check out the awesome measuring tapes Feltmates has to offer!


If you seriously *heart* sewing, here's your pincushion... One of several off the wall pincushions.

The Daily Pincushion

A great selection of darling hand embroidered pincushions big and small. Great gifts for the crafty person in your life.

For more wonderfully unique pincushions, check out

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