Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Sewing: Zombies, Cupcakes, and Turtles - Pincushions!

With the increased amount of sewing going on around here lately, it has been requested (by a very important person) that there be more pin cushions and fewer loose pins.  There have been a couple of unfortunate incidences involving loose pins and bare feet ....  So, I got busy and added three handmade pincushions to my store bought traditional tomato/strawberry one.

Materials List:
*assorted felt
*assorted embroidery thread
*polyfill stuffing
*assorted beads
*beading needle
*beading thread
*felt or tacky glue
*disappearing fabric pen

Note:  If you want to make your pincushion also function as a needle sharpener (or part of it, such as the cherry on the cupcake), use emery sand as a filler in place of fiberfill.  Joggles is one place I know that carries it.


I've wanted to make a felt cupcake ever since I saw a fabulous MFA thesis exhibit two years ago.  Be sure to stop by this Friday and look at it - you'll be amazed!

1.  Cut the cupcake sides, top, and bottom from felt.  Of course I chose brown for chocolate!  Sew the two ends of the cupcake sides piece together (can be by hand or machine - I used the machine) and pin the cupcake bottom to the sides piece with right sides together.

Sew together.

2.  Cut icing pieces.  I used brown for the bottom layer, regular white for the middle layer, and sparkly white for the top layer.  Stack these on top of the cupcake top.

3.  Sew on beads for sprinkles, sewing through all four layers.  I used a beading needle (it has a very thin top and eye hole so the needle can pass through the beads) and beading thread (thinner).  You'll notice I have beads over the whole top icing piece.  When I made this cupcake, I didn't know it needed a cherry on top until the very end.  If you're putting a cherry on, leave a small space at the center of the icing without beads.

4.  Put a large amount of fiberfill in the cupcake ...

and pin the top on, overlapping the top about 1/4 inch.  You'll have a chance to add more fiberfill.

5.  Sew top to cupcake using a blanket stitch and six strands of embroidery thread, leaving a small hole.  Adjust fiberfill.  Finish sewing shut.  (See this previous post for blanket stitch.)

 6.  Cut out cupcake wrapper.  Overlap ends and place on cupcake to adjust.  Sew wrapper together with a hem stitch using three strands of thread, as shown below.

7.  Make cherry, stuff with fiberfill, and sew to top of cupcake - use three strands of thread.  See turtle shell instructions below for a good photo on attaching.


1.  Pin turtle body pattern to felt and trace with disappearing fabric pen.

2.  Place felt with turtle on top of another piece of felt and machine sew along the drawn lines, leaving an opening on the head to add fiberfill.  Trim close to stitching. 

3.  Add facial features to your turtle.  I used beads, but embroidery also works.  To get the eyeball look, I went up through the fabric, put a medium white bead on the needle, put a small black bead on the needle, and went back down through the white bead and the felt.

6.  Stuff the turtle body with fiberfill.  Using a pencil helps stuff the fiberfill into smaller areas.

7.  Cut out turtle shell.  Sew small stitches close together around the outside, very close to the edge (called running stitches).  Pull the thread up to gather the shell.

8.  Position shell on top of back and sew on, using three strands of embroidery thread.  When you get about an inch away from where you began, stuff the shell and then finish sewing it on.

9.  Sew around the bottom of the shell with a outline embroidery stitch and six strands of thread.  (See this previous post for outline stitch.)

10.  Cut small circles for the feet.  Attach with a small drop of glue.  Sew around the edge with an outline embroidery stitch and six strands of thread, adding claws.


1.  Trace the zombie body on one piece of felt, using a disappearing fabric pen.

2.  Cut out shirt and pants with patterns.  Cut small open wound and brain shapes from red, outer eye circles from black, and white eye circles from white.  Lay on zombie and attach with small dot of glue.  Cut shirt apart at collar.

3.  Fold edges of collar down and sew to body using a blanket stitch.  Sew pants leg bottoms and waist, shirt bottom, fronts, and sleeves and brain down with a blanket stitch.  Attach eyes with a large X.  Sew an outline stitch down the middle of open wounds and make small stitches crossing over the outline stitch as intervals to simulate stitches.  Using three strands of thread and an outline stitch, sew mouth with red and outline in black, adding black also down the middle of mouth.

4.  Cut out hair and pin in place.  Put zombie body pattern back on top of zombie and use a disappearing fabric pen to retrace outline over clothing.

5.  Place on top of another piece of felt and machine sew on traced lines, leaving about a 1 inch space open on one shoulder.  Trim close to stitching, cutting behind hair.

6.  Stuff zombie using a pencil to reach ends of legs and arms and stitch the opening shut.

If zombies, cupcakes, or turtles don't excite you, Martha Stewart's site has instructions for heirloom tomato pincushions and you can always do a net search for felt food and animal patterns - anything smallish will work!

Next week we'll get back to sewing.  I'll have a pattern I designed for a one yard apron that will demonstrate how to use bias tape.  Oops!  Not quite yet - first we'll look at making bias tape!

Happy Creating!  Deborah


  1. I love the cupcake!!!! I want to make one!!

  2. Would you mind if I used a picture of the zombie and a link on my blog? Full credit assigned to you.

  3. That zombie is to die for!

  4. Your Zombie Pincushion is awesome!

  5. Love the zombie and the cupcake. Have never seen patterned felt like you used on turtle, could stitch shell divisions, too. I <3 my magnetic pincushions but these are terrific!

  6. Hi! A couple of replies to questions and comments. I've had several requests to repost my blog post (here and by email) - that's great! Thanks and just credit my blog. I'm a big fan of fair use policy!

    The felt square used on the turtle is a tie dye pattern that also comes in blue/purple and yellow/orange. I bought it at Joann's - Hobby Lobby also carries it. They might have it online if you don't have these stores.

  7. I love the zombie pin cushion. What a clever idea. Super fun! Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. the zombie tutorial is just too cute...i just <3 zombies!

  9. These are so so cute! The zombie is my favorite. I just clicked over from Craft and I'm so glad I did. I would love to link to this if you didn't mind.

  10. Love the zombie one too. Thanks so much for tutorial. I will make one and post it on my blog. Do u mind if I give a link to your post so people can make one too.


  11. Fantastic tutorial! :) I found it on Craft Foxes. I'm also a student at Arizona State University!

  12. Deborah! Thanks...just the Zombie was just what I needed today! I started out looking for a sewing caddy pattern and look what happened! Thanks again!

  13. Thanks for posting! I've got to make a zombie pin cushion now!

  14. OMG! Love the turtle, daughter loves Ninga turtles! We have real live Donatello and Michaelagello at home. She also sews and will love this pin cushion! Thank you so much!