How to make a patchwork pincushion

Our Technical Editor Laura Pritchard has created this pincushion tutorial for those of you who, like us, just can’t get enough English Paper Piecing in your life.

Patchwork pincushion tutorial

It’s a great, quick-sew project if you’re looking to pretty up your sewing table or whip-up a quick home-sewn gift for a friend who loves to quilt too!

You will need

  • Assorted scraps of print fabrics
  • Background fabric – one (1) 6½in square
  • Contrast solid fabric – 5in square
  • Backing fabric – one (1) 6½in square
  • Four (4) 1¼in honeycomb paper pieces*
  • One (1) 1¼in square paper piece*
  • Toy stuffing or filling of your choice
  • *Download our printable paper pieces above!

What is English Paper Piecing?

If you’ve never tried it before, this soothing sewing method is simply wrapping fabric pieces around paper templates, and then hand-stitching them together, one edge at a time. Head to our Beginner’s Guide To English Paper Piecing to find out how it’s done.

Hexagon quilting template with needle and thread

Fabrics used

Dutch Heritage prints and Oakshott shot cottons.

Download your Free Paper Piecing templates here


Cutting out

Step 1

From print 1 fussy-cut four (4) honeycombs. We chose a detail that would create an outwards blooming effect.

Step 2

From print 2 fussy-cut one (1) square for the centre.

Step 3

From a contrasting solid fabric cut four (4) 2½in squares.

Making the patchwork

Step 1

Prepare the paper pieces with fabric using your preferred basting method.

Step 2

Stitch the print 1 honeycomb pieces together into pairs. (Fig 1)

How to sew a patchwork pincushion step 1

Step 3

Add the two honeycomb pairs to the sides of the square as shown in Fig 2. Remove the papers and press well.

Step 4

Mark a diagonal line corner to corner on the back of each contrast 212in square (Fig 3A). Place on a corner of the background square aligning the raw edges. Stitch on the line. Trim the excess to a 1⁄4in seam (Fig 3B). Flip open the corner and press (Fig 3C). Repeat in all four corners.

Paatchwork pincushion step 7

Step 5

Appliqué the EPP onto the centre of the background square (Fig 4). It can help to fold the background in half twice to mark a centre guide.

Assembling the pincushion

Step 1

Place the front and the backing right sides together. Stitch a  1⁄4in seam all around the edges leaving a gap for turning (Fig 5).

Patchwork pincushion step 9

Boxing the corners

Step 1

Mark a 1in square in each corner of your pincushion, on both the front and back of the square (Fig 6).

Step 2

Gently pull apart the two sides and refold in the opposite direction so that the markings form a straight line across the corner. Make sure the seams are matched by gently rolling them between your fingers and thumbs. Pin well and stitch along the marked line, back and forth a couple of times to secure (Fig 7A). Trim excess to a  1⁄4in seam allowance. Repeat in all four corners (Fig 7B).

Patchwork pincushion DIY

Step 3

Turn the pincushion right-sides out. Stuff well with the filling of your choice and ladder stitch the gap closed by hand.

Beginners Patchwork Pincushion Tutorial