Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pincushion Potential Realized

This past September, I (Kara) wrote a post about my growing pincushion collection and some of my "future" pincushions (you can read about it here). Recently, I decided that I needed to put my money where my mouth was and actually fulfill the potential in my found pincushion items. The piece that spoke to me the most was a sugar bowl that I picked up at an antique store in Salisbury, MD.

The sugar bowl on the left will be used for this project 

The plan, as I had mentioned in the previous post, was to turn the top into a pincushion while still using the bottom for storage. I decided to go forward with that and see how it would turn out. The first thing I did was to pick a fabric for the pincushion. Pulling from the colors on the sugar bowl, I decided on a beautiful, plum-colored, raw silk. The silk was re-purposed from a thrift store blouse. Since this project was a "make-it-up-as-I-go-along" process, I cut my circle out much larger than I thought I would need using my technical measuring device—a salad plate measuring around 8.5 inches in diameter. I cut the circle out and then serged the edge since it was silk (a zig-zag stitch around the edge would work as well).

I used a chalk marker to trace around my salad plate

The plum silk picks up the sugar bowl rose

The diameter of the sugar bowl top was a little less than 2.25 inches, so I made sure my design would fit into that space. I created a small floral design based on the front of the bowl, and you can download that here

Originally, I chose silk ribbon for the embroidery, but I realized that it wouldn't really be durable enough for practical use as a pincushion, so I chose some lovely perle cotton that Teri and I had recently purchased. The hand-dyed perle is from House of Embroidery, a South African dye house; since I had bought a rather large kit, I had all the colors I needed.

The bouillons are finished

I transferred my design onto the silk and stitched away. Once the main design was finished, I decided to add seed stitches throughout the entire top. (Note: this took longer than the rest of the embroidery combined.)

So many seed stitches!

Once I finished the stitching, I ran a line of gathering stitches about 2 inches in from the edge of the circle. I learned the hard way to use quilting thread for these stitches because it is stronger.

Gathering stitches

I pulled the gathering stitches a bit and added fiber-fill until I felt it had the right amount, checking the fit of the pincushion with the top of my sugar bowl.

Then I tightened those stitches and arranged the gathers until I was pleased with it, and then I added a few little stitches all the way around until it was secure. As you can see, the size of my circle was more than enough, but I was glad I had extra to trim rather than not enough. I trimmed the circle leaving about an inch.

I added E-6000 around the inside of the lid and placed my pincushion inside. I let the glue set up for about an hour. E-6000 holds things very well, but just be sure to use it in a ventilated space.

Voila! A secret pincushion and caddy is born. I love how it still looks like a sugar bowl, but it now has a whole new purpose.

I tested the caddy part by putting my perle, my thimble, and my needle case in it, and they all fit perfectly.

At some point, I will get to the rest of my pincushion creations, but for now I will enjoy this one. Also, check out our "Pins and Needles" Pinterest page for more pincushion inspiration.