Western Star Pincushion

Posted by ShellyP on Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Hi, I'm Shelly Pagliai (pronounced Polly-eye), from Prairie Moon Quilts, and I’m honored to be a part of the Riley Blake Pincushion Club. I’m making my pincushion out of the new fabric line by Samantha Walker, “Saddle Up”. If you know me already and follow my blog, it makes perfect sense, right?

Click here for the printer-friendly PDF with full-sized templates.

Western Star PC

This makes a 6" diameter pincushion.
I recommend that you read through all the instructions before beginning.

A 10" - 12" square of each of the following colors:
Gray background
Brown checkered backing
fiberfill stuffing or other pincushion stuffing of your choosing
Vintage buttons (2)
Jute string, yarn, or “rope” trim, 24" length

Here are the fabrics I used in my pincushion:

Fabrics I Used
Print out the templates from the template sheet, making sure they’re the correct size by using the gauge provided. Seam allowance has not been added to the templates, and as we work along, you’ll see why.

Cut out your templates directly ON the line. This makes the template the exact same size as the finished piece.  You may also make your templates out of index card stock, cardboard, or template plastic, but since we’re not cutting too many pieces, the paper ones should hold up just fine.


We’ll start cutting out the star points first. Specifically, the pink half of the points, which goes on the right. Lay your pink fabric out on your work surface right side down.

Now lay template A on the wrong side of the fabric, upside down from what it should look like when finished. (Since you’re working from the wrong side of the fabric, it reverses your pieces; you want the “front” of the template facing the same way as the “front” of the fabric.)

Template on Fabric

Trace around the template with a marking pencil.
Now cut out the piece approximately 1/4" outside the drawn line. This does not have to be exact, just eyeball it. Repeat 4 more times so that you have a total of 5 pink star points.

Next, you’ll cut out the brown star points using template A. The template will be reversed from the way you used it to cut the pink points. Be sure you’re tracing on the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out 5 brown star points.

Then, from the background fabric, you’ll need to cut out 5 of template B, and 5 of template B Reversed. Again, draw around the template on the wrong side of the fabric, and cut the pieces out 1/4" outside the drawn line.

You should have a pile of pieces that looks like this:

Cut Pieces

Next, we’ll start sewing them together, and here’s where those lines come in handy.

Match up a background piece with a brown star point, right sides together, and pin them so that the drawn lines match up. You can poke a pin through the drawn line on the top and then look at the back side to see if it’s lined up. The size of the seam allowances doesn’t matter, because you’ll be sewing on the line. Use as many pins as you need to feel comfortable that your lines are matched up and won’t move.

Pinned Pieces

Stitch the seam ON the drawn line.

Press the seam toward the background piece.

Pair Sewn

Repeat for the other 4 pairs. Then do the same for the pink star points. Press the seams on the pink pairs toward the pink star points. This will make it easier to sew the pairs together.


Take one pair from each pile, and set them aside for later. You should have 4 units in each pile now.

Sew the remaining pairs together to make star points. Again, pin the pairs together so that the drawn lines are matching up, and sew ON the drawn line. This time, press the seams OPEN. This will help reduce bulk in the center when all those points have to come together. Make 4 of these.

Back Pressed

Now lay out all your units as shown, along with the two units you set aside earlier.

Join the star points on each side . . .


. . . then add the spare unit to the top of each half.


Press all these seams open, pressing after each seam. Then sew the halves together to complete the pincushion top, again pressing the seam open.

Finished Top

And the good thing about it? You don’t have to worry whether all the points in the middle match up perfectly, because we’re going to cover the center point with a button!

Now that you’re done with the pincushion top, it’s time to make a back for it.

Using the circle template provided (cut out directly ON the line), trace the circle onto the wrong side of the brown check backing fabric.

Cut the circle out 1/4" outside the drawn line.

Back Circle

Match this backing circle up with your pincushion front, right sides together, and pin carefully, matching them up on the drawn lines.

Leaving a gap for stuffing, stitch around the circle ON the drawn line. Turn right side out through the gap, and press if you need to. (Mine was a tad wrinkled after wrestling it right side out.)

Stuff the pincushion with your stuffing of choice, and then stitch the gap closed by hand.



Now to add the buttons. I’m showing you two different ways to do this; you can choose the one you prefer.

Using a double strand of heavy sewing thread, thread your needle and tie a knot in the end. Push the needle through the center of the pincushion from the back side, and come up in the center of the front.

Adding Buttons

Thread your front button on and go back down in the center, to the center of the back. Thread the back button on, and keep going back and forth between them, squeezing the pincushion to the thickness you like as you pull the thread. When you have it squeezed and tacked enough, secure the thread on the back side under the back button. I wrapped my thread around the button several times, then tacked it in the backing fabric where it was hidden under the button.

Back side

You can also use a large needle and jute string, and thread the jute through from the center back and come out on the center front. Thread your front button on, and go back down through to the center back.

Top Button

Thread the ends of the jute through the button’s holes, and tie them in a knot, squeezing the pincushion to the thickness you like.

Back side tied

Next, you can add trim around the edge of your pincushion if you want to. I did this to pull the sides in so it would be puffier, and also rounder, since I’m a lumpy stuffer (don’t tell My Cowboy — I doubt he’ll want to know he’s married to a “lumpy stuffer”). If you’re not a lumpy stuffer, and you don’t need your pincushion to be any puffier, then you don’t have to add the trim around the edge — it’s completely optional. I also liked adding the trim so it wasn’t so plain looking . . .

Take a 24" length of jute string, yarn, or other rope-like trim, and find the center of it. Pin the center of the string to the top of the pincushion (the top point of the star).

Wrap the string around the pincushion ON the seam line, and tie it in a knot at the bottom, gently squeezing the pincushion a bit so that it’s tight and puffs it up.
String Tied
Now, to keep the string from falling off or moving, using thread that matches your string, tack the string to the seam line with a needle and thread all the way around to make it stay put.

And you’re all done!

This is a fairly large pincushion, as pincushions go, but I like mine large, and I like for them to have “sections”, so I can separate out all the different types of pins and needles I use for various things I work on.

The star points on this pincushion make great dividers, so I also made some stickpins to label my sections.


If you’d like to see how I made the stickpins, I posted a tutorial on how I did them HERE.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. Be sure to check out the Riley Blake Pincushion Club every Friday for more pincushion tutorials.

Category: Pincushions


  1. What a cute pincushion. LOVE the fabrics. Thank you.
    by VickiT
    March 23rd, 2012 at 2:19 p.m.
  2. That is just the cutest Shelly!
    by Mary on Lake Pulaski
    March 24th, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.
  3. Very Cute!
    by Andy
    March 25th, 2012 at 12:50 a.m.
  4. I can't get the PDF file - it won't download - anyone else having this problem ?
    by Linda
    March 26th, 2012 at 10:43 p.m.
  5. This is lovely, but I have just been to the website looking for the coloured crochet trim used for the chimney and cannot seem tofind it. Is it an older item that is no longer sold?
    by Marian
    April 06th, 2012 at 2:31 p.m.
  6. Thank you for this pincushion tutorial, I am just starting to do patchwork and your instructions etc are really great.
    by ann m
    April 17th, 2012 at 1:41 a.m.
  7. What a neat pincushion. I live in Amarillo, TX -- love it. Thanks so much.
    by Callie
    December 03rd, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.

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