Friends, when I think back to the many incarnations of my little world here in Serendipity Woods, I sometimes forget all the details of the earliest days way back in 2008, when it all began with my original (long-defunct) blog, along with a little Etsy shop where I sold things I made. There were tote bags and simple baby quilts; juggling blocks and fidgets for kids. I even sold plush animal friends like Sophie and her little mouse friends. One thing I really sold a lot of, though – was pincushions, like these:
Anyway, I once published a pretty cool tutorial at my original blog, showing how I made the exact pincushion below:
I’ve had it in my mind for absolute eons to republish that tutorial here ( at my new/now not-so-new blog), and have continued to receive many requests to do so. Go figure…when Serendipity Woods, the Hobby/Crafts Shop shifted to a full-blown quilt fabric shop in 2015 (which now also includes my quilt pattern designs), my little Folded Star Pincushion Tutorial repost plan has been on the shelf for quite a little while!
Well, as it were – my beloved (above) pincushion called out loudly enough to me on this holiday weekend where I found myself with a little time on my hands. Suddenly, it seemed so much MORE fun to make a whole new tutorial with some new (Tilda!) fabrics and tips I’ve learned along the way. Here goes!
Serendipity Woods Folded Star Pincushion Tutorial – All New!
You Will Need:
• (20) – 2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles – to include: (4) of center fabric, (8) of secondary fabric & (8) of the third (outer) fabric
• (1) Base Fabric, 8″ square, either the same or close to background color of the rectangles chosen for center
• Backing fabric, 8″ square (matching the rectangles intended for the outer edge of your pincushion)
• (1) Lining fabric of neutral color, 8″ square
• Coordinating threads for each of the 3 fabrics selected
• Card stock or Paper cut into a 6″ circle
• Pins, a hand-sewing needle, fabric scissors, tape measure
• Your choice of filling material, which can include poly-fil with a few poly-pellets on the bottom (for weight), or my new favorite – crushed walnut shells. See step 11 below for more details!
If you’d like to add a hang loop to your pincushion as I often do, you’ll need an 8 1/2″ length of ribbon, rickrack or cording of your choice. As well, a small-ish button for the top and a larger button for the back can also be a nice touch but isn’t a requirement for making this darling pincushion.
- Gather all 2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangles.
Each rectangle is folded and pressed 1/4″ along one long edge, with each top corner then folded toward the center of the lower edge of the rectangle, creating a triangle shape. Repeat to create (20) triangles.
2. Next, gather your 8″ Base Fabric Square and all triangles.
Fold the 8″ square in each direction, pressing to create ‘plus sign’ creases for using as a guide to place your triangles.
3. Place the first of the (4) center triangles in the lower corner of the your base fabric, along the crease. Using a coordinating thread with a knotted end, begin by pulling your needle through the center, catching the point of your triangle in your first stitch. Progress your stitches evenly along the horizontal edge of the triangle’s fold, ensuring that the edge continues to line up with the pressed crease of your base fabric.
4. As you reach the end of the first edge, knot your stitch at the back of the piece, preparing a new knot at the end of your thread for the subsequent edge. Begin again at the point, stitching the vertical edge of your triangle. Despite the fact that it will be tempting to just drag your thread across to start down a new edge, always begin again at the point of your triangle as you begin stitching a new side. Continue to stitch into place the 3 remaining triangles around the center ‘plus’ to form a square. ** For my right-handed friends, you may want to begin with the lower left corner and stitch toward the left.
5. Next you’ll place your second row of triangles.
For the second row, pin each of the first (4) triangles so that their center folds align with the seams you just made with your first round of triangles. They should each be placed 3/4″ from the center point of your piece. DO MEASURE! Begin again at the point of the triangle ensuring that each triangle sits evenly, revealing two even star points along each side.
(Did you wonder why is the measure part above is in all caps? Because it will be tempting to eyeball it, which will only result in your kicking yourself later, when your star is crooked. This reminds me to send you for a scroll up to view the image of some of my previously-made pincushions. The one with six pincushions. Look at the center one on the bottom; the pink and green one. See it? Crooked. That’s after making dozens of these, thinking I was experienced enough to eyeball my way through triangle placement…nope!)
The remaining (4) second-row triangles lie atop the outer points of the first four, again 3/4″ from the center of the piece. Stitch each one into place, finishing the second surround of triangles.
6. For row 3, the triangles begin atop the (4) triangles you just placed.
Now, here’s where I deviate from my original process. I now position them 1 3/8″ from the center of my piece, rather than my previous process of positioning 1 1/2″ from the center. Otherwise, I tend to wind up fighting to get the ends (what become the star points) of the previous layer tucked beneath this layer. As with the previous layer, stitch in place your first (4) triangles opposite one another, then follow – adding the final (4) triangles as shown.
Hand stitching complete!
7. At this point, I like to pin flat all my little ‘flaps,’ and secure them by machine to the base square. If you’d like your pincushion to feature a hang loop, this is a good time to add that, as shown below.
. Sew 1/4″ from the outside edge of what you just made (which now looks like a pretty darn SWEET octagon shape!), pivoting at each little corner.
8. Layer your backing fabric square and neutral lining fabric atop one another, pinning your 6″ circle cut-out on top.
Cut (2) 6″ circles at once. Of note, while the lining fabric isn’t critical, I rather think it makes my pincushions so much nicer and sturdier!
9. Pin the backing fabric and lining fabric on top of your star, placing the backing fabric first, with right side toward your finished folded star piece.
Machine stitch 1/4″ from outer edge of circle, leaving a space for turning. I like to double stitch across the loop for extra security. Cut around the octagon – not the circle, in order to ensure that the knots at the ends of each folded edge are not cut, which will loosen your had-sewn stitches!
10. Turn and press to make a smooth circle. ** Of note, your loop is quite likely made from a material that is not 100% cotton. Use caution when pressing your circle, since the loop may not tolerate the heat of your iron.
11. For stuffing, my historical GO-TO was a bit of poly-fil, and some poly-pellets thrown in to settle at the bottom for extra weight. It’s a great option, especially when seeking to create a lighter, cushier pincushion, and especially if adding a hang loop – an ornament for hanging at the holidays!
My new favorite choice for pincushions, however, is ground walnut shells, which also serve to sharpen my pins and needles! If choosing this option, you’ll need about 10 oz to fill your pincushion. Whichever you choose for stuffing, fill and hand-stitch to close the opening.
Adding Some Optional Buttons?
Though not critical for making a pretty pincushion, adding buttons can help to tighten up your pincushion and hide any visible imperfections at the center point of your star (not to mention, if you’re like me – you have a bucketload of a button stash it wouldn’t hurt to start using up!). Choose (1) button for the front of your pincushion (usually a small one) and (1) button for the back (I like to use a big one).
I like to double my thread or use a heavier button thread, creating a nice, sturdy knot at the end to keep it from pulling through. Use a long needle with an ample length of thread, starting on top. Pull your needle through to the back leaving the knot at the front (which will be covered by your top button once you come back through). Secure your bottom button at the back, before pulling back through to add your top button. Redundantly stitch between the two, so both are as tight as you like them.
…and JUST look. Your pincushion is finished (and so is mine!). If you found this tutorial useful and venture to share your pincushion on social media – I’d sure love to see it! Please tag your post with #swfoldedstarpincushion and also me @serendipitywoods so I don’t miss it. Enjoy 🙂