I don’t think these actually are tailor’s pin cushions, but that’s what I’m calling them. The reason being that when you’re making alterations on a person or mannequin it can be extremely difficult to hold your pins or pin cushion, and anyone who’s swallowed one will know the discomfort (or, I imagine, very real danger) caused by the old “pins-between-the-lips” technique!
When I was little my Mum had a pin cushion on elastic that I thought was the coolest thing ever. She never mislaid it whilst pinning pattern pieces, and it didn’t somehow end up behind her back or under her legs when she was machining seams… It occurred to me during my bank holiday sewathon that this could be the answer to all my pin cushion misplacement problems!
The actual pattern for these is based on the flower brooch pattern from Issue 13 of Sew Hip magazine, but slightly larger and stuffed extra tight. I used a cake plate as a template. Run a running stitch around the edge as you would for a yo-yo, draw together, and stuff tightly before roughly sewing closed.
Using embroidery silks or wool, sew up through the centre of the cushion then back around the edges, pulling very tight to create the petal segments. It is best to double stitch into the base of the flower after creating each segment, to ensure they hold, but also to make your job easier as you tighten the next. Six segments works well, though it’s up to you really. Try to get them as even as possible.
Add a bead or button to the centre of the flower as you prefer and double stitch again into the base for a secure hold.
Cover any remaining gap in the gathering and double stitching with a circle of felt.
Use your own wrist as a guide to the length of elastic you’ll need for the wrist band. Remember, you don’t want it too tight or it will cut off the circulation, but too loose will defeat the object altogether! It’s best to have a wrist band exactly the size of your wrist that you can pull up your arm a bit to secure.
Secure the band with a few stitches before sewing it firmly onto the felt base of the flower and voilà! A pin cushion that stays within easy reach at all times!