Round hexagon pincushion with embroidery
I must admit that I have a weakness for pincushions, as they are a sweet little project that always turns out nicely. A beautiful sewing gift or perfect extra for a swap. I don´t even know how many I have made, but I am always keen to make a new one. As you know I love circles and English paper piecing (EPP), so today I am sharing a beginner friendly project that combines both - a round pincushion from hexagons with a bit of embroidery. It requires basic knowledge of EPP and applique. You can cross stitch a small motif, upcycle a piece of vintage embroidery or shrink your favorite foundation paper piecing (fpp) pattern to a 4" size. I promise it is fun, easy and great result is guaranteed! Let´s start!
What you need
- Hexiform templates for 1/2 inch hexagons (if you use 1/2 inch hexagon paper templates, please read notes below)
- assorted scraps for hexagons (approx. 30, even we use only 24 hexagons)
- glue or thread for basting
- piece of embroidery or fpp pieced panel large enough to cut a 4" circle
- piece of fabric for the bottom panel (a 4" circle)
- two pieces of woven interfacing for the top and bottom panels
- fine thread and needle
- water soluble marker
What is Hexiform?
It is an alternative to paper templates, which you don´t need to remove after you finished sewing. One side of the material is slightly fluffy and another is woven. The material construction also gives projects form and slightly padded appearance. It is fully washable at 40 degrees and can be quilted according to the manufacturer.
From my experience, since the templates are thicker than regular paper you need to cut the fabric with slightly bigger seam allowances (3/8") than usual. I glue baste my Hexiform templates. I found this way easier and more accurate than thread basting suggested by the manufacturer. It is a material and this is why you don´t have the feeling of a crisp edge. I used 1/4" hexagons for my Christmas stocking ornament and glue basting was the most difficult part of the project. I must admit that glue basting 1/2" hexagons went much easier because of the size.
Can you use paper templates?
I am sure you can use regular paper templates for this project. But in this case I would not recommend it for a complete beginner as finishing the applique on the second row of hexagons might be tricky. If you are an experienced sewist you can remove papers in the first row of hexagons once you attach the second row. Then remove the papers one by one as you applique each hexagon tip (with paper template in to get a nice crisp edge) on the bottom panel. Remove the last 2 paper templates after you filled the pincushion with fiber fill.
1. Baste your 1/2" hexagons (using either Hexiform or paper templates) by your preferred method. This pincushion requires 24 hexagons, but I would recommend you to baste more so you have a nice assortment of colors. You can find more info regarding basting techniques here.
2. Before cutting circles for the top and bottom panels, iron fusible woven interfacing on the wrong side of embroidery and/or fabric (for the bottom) according to the manufacture´s instructions. It will make fabric sturdier, keep the shape better as well as secure your embroidery stitches and prevent fabric from fraying. Cut 4" circles using zig zag scissors.
3. Draw 3,5" circle with a water soluble marker on both pieces and mark quarters of the circle. Those quarter markings will serve as reference points.
4. Decide on the layout for the first row of hexagons and lay them out in the way shown in the picture below. Here I'm showing only a half of circle so you can see how the hexagons are placed on the marked line. Take a photo for your reference.
5. Applique the hexagons one by one on the top panel. You start from one of the quarter markings and the tip of the Hexagon is right at the marking. In this blog post you can find more info about applique.
I would recommend you to pin two hexagons at 2 quarter marking first and lay two other hexies in between so you can see if any gap in between the shapes is needed to keep the spacing between hexagons even.
This is how it looks once you appliqued all hexagons. There is a tiny gap between some hexagons, but don´t worry about it.
6. We are going to sew open sides of hexagons together. Unfold seam allowance and insert the needle as close to the place where the hexagons meet as possible. Whip stitch the seam. You can find detailed tutorial how to sew hexagons together here
Once you have sewn all the seams between hexagons, the piece looks like that. Nice and round!
7. Lay out the second row of hexagons. This way you can see the best way to combine the colors. Take a photo for reference.
Sew the second row together. I prefer sewing hexies in pairs, then sewing pairs together.
8. Check quarter markings on the top panel and start attaching the second row from one of those marking clockwise. It feels more comfortable to sew when you have the piece inside out. If you are left handed you might need to stitch in the opposite direction.
Attach the second row.
Turn the piece right side out.
There is one unsewn seam in the photo, please, ignore it. I just ran out of thread. All seams should be sewn together.
9. Get you bottom panel ready. I decided to embellish mine with a flower made from 1/4" hexagons.
10. We shall applique the hexagons to the bottom panel going clockwise. If you have an embellishment at the bottom make sure the orientation is correct.
Start from one of the quarter markings. Pin the seam between hexagons on the 3,5" line right at the marking.
Pin the other seam right on the line. Applique the tip of the hexagon. Pin another seam and continue the applique.
Make sure that your reference markings are right at the seams.
Once you get to the last quarter of the circle, it gets trickier to sew. Leave 2 tips of the hexagons unsewn. Don´t cut the thread.
Fill the pincushion with fiberfill through the opening. Now it is easier to align the hexagons on the marked line. Pin the seam on the line and applique the remaining 2 hexagon tips.
Your Scrappy Happy Hexagon pincushion is finished! It measures 3 1/2" x 1 3/4".
It is perfectly round and tips of the hexagons make such a lovely frame for embroidery or hexagon flower at the back!
Here is the back side.
Keep it for yourself or give it as a gift! I think I am keeping mine as it matches with a needle book I made last year.
I would be happy to see your version of this pattern. Please, share your pincushions on Instagram, tag me @nordiccrafter and use use hashtag #roundhexagonpinushion