14 October 2013

Double Tulip Pincushion {Week 12/52}

It’s time for a little bit of foundation piecing in our scrap busting quest, don’t you think? How about a cute little pincushion. You can never have too many pincushions, can you?

Double Tulip Pincushion

On social media last week, I asked what about sewing fears. Other than zippers (which is what makes me most uncomfortable), foundation (or paper piecing) was up there, along with Free Motion Quilting (FMQ).

So, I thought let’s just bite the bullet and do a little bit of foundation piecing. It will be painless and fun. Really, it will be. I’ve taken a tonne of photos with each step, so I really hope you have a go at making this little Double Tulip Pincushion.


The first step is change the stitch length on your sewing machine down to 1.6 or lower if it will go. The smaller the stitches, the easier it will be to remove the paper afterwards. If you have an open toe foot for your machine, now is the time to change it.

Foundation Piecing 1

1. Get your supplies and equipment ready. You’ll need your printed pattern, fabric pieces, rotary cutter, ruler, pencil, cardboard (I use a bookmark).

2. Trim the pattern down – approximately 1/4” outside of the dotted line. It will make it easier to manoeuvre.

Foundation Piecing 2

3. This next step isn’t necessary, but I found it helped when I first started foundation piecing. Trace the pattern onto the back of the paper. It will help with fabric placement.

4. Now we are ready to begin. On the back of the pattern paper (on the side you just traced), place your first piece of fabric on A1 – fabric must be right side up. In my case, I used this white and lilac spot fabric for the background, so this is my first piece.

Next, you place the A2 piece of fabric facing down over the A1 fabric.
You will be sewing on the line in between A1 and A2, so ensure that your fabric is at least 1/4” over the line as this will be the seam allowance.

Foundation Piecing 3

5. Pin it in place on the printed side of the paper with the fabric on the back. You will be sewing the paper with the fabric underneath. Makes sense?

6. Sew on the line between A1 and A2.

Foundation Piecing 4

7. There you go. The first seam is sewn. Yay!

8. Flip your paper over and take out the pin. Press the A2 fabric back and finger press the seam.

Foundation Piecing 5

9. Time for the cardboard. Place the cardboard on the A3 line (which is where we’ll be sewing next). Fold the paper over the cardboard. The cardboard is there to help the fold stay straight and firm.

10. Place the ruler 1/4” over the edge of the folded paper (on A3). Use your rotary cutter to trim the fabrics.

Now you’re ready for the next piece. It’s not so hard, is it?

Foundation Piecing 6

11. Take your next piece of fabric. This one is the first level of the tulip. I’ve decided on a lilac fabric. You need to ensure that the piece of fabric is large enough that it will cover the A3 piece with at least 1/4” seam all around the shape. If you’re new to foundation piecing, it’s better to cut larger pieces of fabric and then trim them down, than for your fabrics to be too small and then having to unpick those teeny tiny stitches.

Place the A3 piece of fabric right side down over the A1 and A2 pieces, lining up the edge with the seam allowance which you just trimmed.

Pin it on the printed paper side and sew along the line between A2 and A3.

Take your cardboard and hold it on the A4 line. Fold it over and place your ruler with the 1/4" line on the edge of the folder paper. Trim the excess fabric.

Place the A4 piece of fabric right side down ............ and continue on this way, following the numbers.

Once you're finished, flip it over and give it a good press with a hot, dry iron. 

Flip it over to the paper side and trim it on the dotted line. This is your 1/4"seam. 

Be sure to take a moment to admire your work. Now carefully remove the paper. Slow tears will keep your stitches intact.

Once the paper is all removed, you can make a cute little pincushion. Add a little bit of batting to the back and hand quilt it (like the first image - up top), or just add the backing and stuffing and finish it up.

I enjoyed making this little project so much, that I made two pincushions. As I said earlier, you can never have too many pincushions, right?

If you make the Double Tulip Pincushion, please share your pictures in the 52 Week Scrap Challenge Facebook Page or if you blog about your quilt, share the URL below so we can all come and visit.

Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin so that you don't miss any of the future projects in the 52 Week Scrap Fabric Challenge.

Follow on Bloglovin

Previous 52 Week Scrap Challenge Projects:


  1. I would never have thought that you actually sew the paper onto the fabric. I'm going to have to pin this Anorina and have a good read of it later as I'm pretty tired. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Anne xx

  2. Love this design and project!! As many pincushions as your house can possibly hold is the rule!!

  3. This is sooooo cute!! I pinned it on my Sew Sweet board on Pinterest!!

  4. I thought this was the link to the Modern QAL. What happened?

  5. Love these little pincushions.. Thanks so much. I couldn't help it... I made two and now I'm thinking they would make lovely lavender sachets....

  6. You did it ... you talked me into trying this. I am hopeless at paper piecing but I will give this a try simply because it's so cute and your instructions are so good. :)

  7. Perfect timing. I just went to a guild workshop on paper piecing for our raffle quilt this year. Making these adorable pincushions will be great practice before I tackle the Carol Doak NH flower blocks we're making into a quilt. I'll make four of them for Christmas presents for my quilting BFF's.

  8. Thanks for this tutorial!
    Your instructions for the paper piecing are very good !!

  9. Hello! Your tutorial and pin cushion are so cute! May I have your permission to use this as part of a blog post I am putting together for Portland Modern Quilt Guild? We are hosting a pin cushion swap for our members and want to show some examples! Thanks for considering it!


Thank you for your comment.