pin girls : sweet pin cushions made from scraps – free pattern

pin cushion - pin girl- free pattern

*This post contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

Did you ever make something you liked so much you put it next to your bed so you would see it first thing in the morning?  This pin girl is like that for me. Something about it… And I’ve made a pattern for you. The pin girl is not only the official pincushion of the 2020 scrap festival but she is also the official pincushion of the miss thislte society.
Before we get started let’s talk about pincushion filling for a minute. I think walnut shells are ideal (unless you have a tree nut allergy). They add a nice weight and fill out the curvey shape beautifully. I got a huge bag here (I get a small commission if you purchase through this link).
Sand works too and you can most likely find fine sand at your hardware or gardening store. For this pincushion I don’t recommend using just fiber – the weight and shape won’t be nearly as nice. If you have other filling ideas please let us know in the comment section. Also – I’m thinking of putting together kits for the shop with sweet fabric, and everything else you need – what do you think?

Let’s make pin girls!

You will need:

download the pdf template

Affiliate links are marked with *

fabric scraps – cotton and a little wool or felt
A wooden bead- I used a ⅞ inch (about 22mm) bead – a little bigger or smaller is fine. You can get beads with faces! *right here.
wooden skewer – the larger size is best – what matters is that your bead fits on it. I *used these.
crushed walnut shells – I *used these
a little wool stuffing
trim and lace scraps
glue stick
paint and brushes
white or wood glue
a basic sewing kit

1. Cut out one bottom and 3 doll pattern pieces. Mark a 1/4 inch seam line lightly in pencil on all your pieces.

2. Fold the top edge of the doll pieces over towards the wrong side at the seam line and press.

3. Pin two of the doll pieces – right sides together and stitch one side. Stitch over the folded edge and stop at the bottom seam line as shown. You can hand or machine stitch – in either case use a very small stitch.

4. Open the two pieces you just stitched together and match the edge of the third doll piece to one side.

free pincushion sewing pattern

5. Pin it in place and stitch the side.

6. Match the last two sides, pin and stitch.

7. The 3 pieces assembled should look like.

8. At the bottom edge press the 3 side seams open – you don’t have to press all the way up – just near the bottom.

9. Carefully matching the edges, pin the circle to the bottom opening.

10. Stitch the bottom circle to the opening –  make sure you follow the seam line and use small stitches. It is easier to do this by hand.

11. Use a chopstick to turn the doll right side out through the top opening and run the stick around the seam with firm pressure.

12. Painting the heads – paint simple features with acrylic craft paint or  *get heads that are already painted here.

13. I’m using *crushed walnut shells and a tiny bit of wool to stuff the body (probably not a great idea if you have a tree nut allergy).  Checkout the notes at the top of the post on stuffing materials. You can also use fine sand or sawdust.

14. Place a small funnel in the neck of the body and start adding the filling. As you add the filling use the funnel to crush and press it down and into the edges. Keep compressing and adding filling.

15. Use your chopstick to push filling into any soft areas and add more if necessary.  Tap the bottom of the body on your table to settle the fill and add more – stuffing as firmly as possible will make the best shape.

16. Paint a little glue on the blunt end of your skewer (white or wood glue works).

17. Insert the skewer into the body  at the center and about halfway in.

18. Add a little wool or cotton stuffing around the skewer and make sure it’s centered and straight. Let this dry.

19. Stitch around the top edge – right on the fold.

20. Gather tightly around the skewer and knot.

pincushion doll free sewing pattern

21. Place the head on the skewer and mark the place on the skewer for trimming.

22.  Remove the head and trim the skewer – I used wire cutters to snap it off.

23. Add a little glue to the skewer and place the head on – let this dry.

The fun part!

pin cushion doll free sewing pattern

Gather some little trims, fabric scraps, lace, tiny buttons – whatever you’ve got.

pin cushion doll diy - add the apron

24. Cut out the apron and head scarf – I used pinking shears on the edge the apron and felt for the head scarf. Optional – tuck a little piece of lace or trim around her head and stitch in the back.

25. Wrap a little piece of trim around her waist and stitch in place. Put a little glue on the top of her head.

26. Place the scarf on and test the ends for length.

27. Trim if needed.

28. Use a toothpick or skewer to add a little glue under the head.

29. Press the felt into the glue – add a little more blue and press in the other end of the scarf.

pincusion doll free sewing pattern

hello pin girl!

Such a perfect way to use your favorite scraps. I hope you make pin girls! If you do please use #annwoodpattern on instagram.

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  1. Kate Perrin

    These are so amazing. You always create the best patterns. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and generosity. You make the world a better and sweeter place.

    • Theresa Eckert

      I just found you on Pinterest! I love all I am seeing! I must give this sweet pin girl a try! Love what you do. Can’t wait to try some of your creations!

  2. Wendy Cotter

    Oooh I really want to make one for myself and maybe one for each of my kids. They’re soooo cute!

  3. Holly Quan

    These pin girls are the sweetest. Thanks so much for the free pattern. And yes to making kits!

  4. Heather Smith

    These are adorable Ann! I’ve made pin cushions that I stuffed with the shavings out of my pencil sharpener. The graphite is supposed to help keep points sharp and clean. I seem to remember weighting them a little too but don’t remember what I used for that. Probably dried beans.

  5. Tamara Shapiro

    She is adorable!!! I would love to see a kit for sale in your shop. Thank you.

  6. Joan Fowler

    I would love a kit for the pincushion girl. You have my vote to make it.

  7. Hi, this is cute & retro & did I mention CUTE?
    You can also use pellets made for doll making or pellets for weighted blankets.
    Anything used for weight will work, but food stuffs can attract bugs or rot in humid climates or leak thru seams(especially sand). If using something like rice or beans, put them in a small packet to put in the bottom, but wrap that packet with heavy packing tape or duct tape to seal it first.
    Has anyone else noted you can round off the top of this pattern & turn it into a pear or eggplant? & add a felt leaf & stem?
    Thanks Ann for your fun patterns !

  8. Mairie Gelling

    I was told recently (and would love if anyone could confirm) that pincushions should be stuffed with the hair from your hairbrush. I imagine when women brushed their hair out every night this could be a possibility. That the natural oils keep the pins sharp. Anyway I am going to try it! With a bit of something extra for the weight. Thank you for the pattern.

  9. Lovely pattern, thank you. For the stuffing, it’s usually a sharp sand, so I bought some bird grit that goes in the bottom of bird cages. It’s nice and heavy too. The use of sand is so that the drawing of the pins/needles in and out keep them sharp

  10. Cindy Taylor

    Thank you for the pin cushion girl pattern! What a lovely birthday present to me!! 🙂 I often times use walnut shells for stuffing pin cushions-I will be purchasing some from your link. A bit of fine steel wool in the center of the cushion will guarantee sharp pins and needles! Lucky me, I also have access to wool right off the sheep which is nice for the natural lanolin. Using your own hair sounds like a very Edwardian or Victorian thing, doesn’t it?

  11. Ruth Hoefert

    I think a kit might be really nice with this pattern. In the meantime I will save the free pattern. Thank you once again!

  12. Ramya Vanmaele

    Thankyou Ann, for the lovely pattern your make us so happy and creative with your lovely pattern .

  13. Kim Shepherd

    Thinking of you with your delightful little pin girl beside your bed made me smile Ann – I’ve been putting my favourite makes on my bedside cabinet ever since I was a child! So lovely to see a special handmade when you first wake up.
    Thanks for the pattern, I’ll definitely be making one of these.

  14. She’s just delightful! Yes, she must stay by your bedside. Thank you so much for the pattern.

  15. amaranda de jong

    Thank you so much for the work you always put into your freebies . So look forward to all your posts TA from Blighty XXX

  16. Ann, I would love it if you made kits for us to purchase. I have a feeling that my little completed pin cushion girl would also live right on my bedside stand. Thank you for sharing.

  17. My friend gave me a bolt of fabric, not wanting anything in return. I intend to make your little needle book and now the pin girl to give her. Of course, I’ll have to make them for me too! Thank You for these lovely little keepsakes.

  18. I’ve been wanting to make a pincushion just haven’t done it. Well this was it made her and just love her. Thank you so much Ann !

  19. Jane Miller

    She is so cute, as all of your dolls are. I think I will make each of my daughters one as a keepsake.

    Love everything you make!

  20. Linda Mason

    I have an old sewing book that shows you how to make anything and everything and for pin cushions is says to tightly pack with wool to keep pins from rusting. I hadn’t thought this would even be a worry until I had my sewing supplies packed away for a few years and my pins in poly-fill pin cushions were indeed rusty!

  21. I adore this little pin cushion. I just made one today. It turned out super cute. Thank you for sharing this great pattern. I’m gifting mine to a friend so I will have to make another. 🙂

  22. She is adorable! I love her sweet little face. Pincushions are often stuffed with emery sand powder which helps to keep the pins sharp. On the old pincushions which have a smaller attached strawberry, you can feel the texture of the grit. You can find it on Amazon.

    Thank you for sharing your patterns!

  23. Gathering my materials….love it! Could you verify width of skewer for me….thank you
    You are a mentor crafter.

  24. I just found your Pinterest page and can’t wait to dive into some projects! I am a first-grade teacher and my classroom theme is woodlands. I am especially excited to make your mice and mushrooms for my classroom.

  25. Lynne Samways

    Sorry if I missed this info somewhere. When cutting from the sweet pin girl pattern, what is the scale? Thank you for all the sweetness and fun.

  26. Lovely little pattern. I use bird grit for pin cushions. The idea of pin cushions is that the filling actually keeps pins and needles sharp. The taking in and out pushes them into the grit and sharpens them. I do not know what you specifically use inside as a sharpener, but I thought bird grit might work well. It’s nice and weighty too you keep the taller pin cushions upright

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