Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making a 4-Patch Pin Cushion - Something for Newbies and Oldies

I made my samples from my stash of "Starters and Stoppers".  Follow the link to learn about starters and stoppers.  Anyway, that's why the samples in the pictures are all different.  I was making up samples for a presentation at our quilt guild and wanted the pieces to show at each stage of the project.

Stuff you need, beside your sewing machine:

Sewing Needle
Rotary Cutter
Knitting Needle
8 – 2 ½” Squares, 4 Lights and 4 Darks
Cutting Mat

Lay out your squares the way you would like them to be for the top and the bottom of the pin cushion.  Pick them up in the order you want to sew them, right sides together with the side to be sewn to the right.   You don't need to pin these.  After you sew the singles together, you will be ready to sew the pairs to pairs.  All seams are ¼”.  Check the setting of your sewing machine needle and foot to be sure it will stitch ¼” from the edge of the fabric.

Make the seams interlocking.  You can feel with your fingers when you have them just right.

Pick them up in order and chain piece them on the sewing machine.  Here, I've cut off the end starters and stoppers but left one in the middle.  I'll clip these apart, tossing the blue patch into the stash for future use.

Pin the seams.  Sew slowly, removing pins as you go.  Don’t sew over pins.
When you press, flatten, don’t pull or stretch.  (In garment sewing, we press seams open; in quilt sewing, press seams to the side to avoid bearding.)  Press the seams to the dark side, then stitch the additional pair of squares to the bottoms of each pair to make two blocks.  
Press the seams in opposite directions, side to side.

Square your blocks by trimming the edges to be square and straight.  Notice the block is straight along the "7" line and a small bit of the white patch is showing at the bottom, ready to be cut off with the rotary cutter.

Place the blocks right sides together and stitch all around, leaving about 2” open in the middle of one side. Back stitch at the start and finish because the opening is a stress point.   Press it.

Clip the corners and turn the piece right side out, poking out the corners, 
GENTLY, with the knitting needle point.  Press it.  Now stuff it with poly-fill or batting...anything you like.  Someone suggested unraveled wool yarn or raw, washed sheep's wool.  They said it will keep your pins and needles clean and sharp.  I'll have to try that one.

Voila!  You're almost all done.  I mean, you may want to add a "fuzzie" velcro to the bottom of it to stick to the "hookie" velcro patches you have around.....I have them on the top of my machines and by my ironing board so I can save pins and needles easily, one-handed.

Or, tack a loop of ribbon to one corner and and hang it up.  You can stab a pin or needle into it very easily so it's a great cushion for catching pins you remove as you sew.


  1. Simple JOY to me!
    Thanks for sharing.
    I am going to make one with Fall colors.
    SO hot I am Fall dreaming.
    Hugs & JOY

    1. We've been teaching basic quilting skills in our guild this year on our once-a-month Quilt University meetings. Next project will be 1/2 square triangles....and we'll make it into something useful, too. Something to show for our efforts, eh? Thank you for stopping by. I love to hear from you.

  2. Sweet idea! Thanks for sharing. This will make a great gift. Judith, Texas

    1. Thanks, Judith. It was fun. I'm glad you stopped by.

  3. This is such a nice idea. A great way to get rid of some scraps and would also make cute little gifts! Thanks for sharing this tutorial. xo

    1. Thanks, Sherri: It might look cute with a button in the middle and some ribbon around it, like a gifts, do you think? Thank you for coming by and leaving a kind word. I love that.

  4. Oh, what a neat the tutorial! Love how the finished project looks!


  5. Thanks, Gert. It's a quick project and a good way to teach a few quilting concepts: interlocking seams, rotary cutting, piecing, etc. Glad you stopped by.

  6. What a darling little project and a great gift idea, too.

  7. What a wonderful little 'absolutely-no-reason-other-than-I-was-thinking-of-you' gift to make. Your photos are great, an easy and quick tutorial. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Sarajan: It was fun and the new quilters really liked having something they could use for their effort.

  8. New projects are always exciting for me. I am looking forward to new ways to use up my stash. Having little gifts to tuck in a simply darling bag as a hostess gift is fun and appreciated. Thanks - Irene

  9. Hi Irene: You are welcome. This could be very elegant, made with velvet and satin or fairy frosts; or very rustic, made with wool and flystitched over the seams. Lots of ways to go with it. Thanks for stopping by.


Welcome to Prairie Cottage Corner. Please come in and stay a while. We are here to help you with your love of quilting, quilt design and embroidery. We especially like Sunbonnet Sue and her friends.

You can see a complete list of our Sunbonnet Sue designs at

Happy Stitching! Prairie Stitcher