Pincushion Jar Tutorial

Posted by andyk on Friday, January 27th, 2012




pincushion photo with text


Pincushion Jar Tutorial

Course Instructor:  Andy Knowlton ( )

Course Materials:

1 jar with lid and ring

1 piece of fabric (measuring at least 6" x 6")

1 small piece of coordinating cardstock (at least 4" x 4")


glue gun

optional:  ribbon for needle holder (about 6" long - wide ribbon preferably)



I was happy to be asked to contribute a pincushion creation for the Cutting Corners College!  I have been in desperate need of a new pincushion.  This is what I've been using:


pincushion mug old mug that contains some binding clips, my leather thimble, a spool of thread, scissors, needles, pins and (of course) a hair clip.  This is the container that I carry with me around the house as I work on hand stitching those quilt bindings.  I really needed to come up with a better solution! 

For this pincushion I chose to use this size of jar (wide mouth half pint) because I needed it to be able to hold everything.


ball jar


If you have another size jar around the house it will work just fine, as long as the seal lid and the ring are separate.

So here we go!


Step 1:

Find your piece of fabric (need to be at least 6" x 6") and press it well.

For this tutorial I'm using Daisy Cottage Gray Mini Floral (love it!)



Daisy Cottage Gray Mini Floral


On the wrong side of the fabric, trace a circle that is 5 1/2" in diameter.  (If you are going to make more than one of these pincushions, I recommend you use some thin cardboard to create a template of sorts for this step.)


trace circle onto fabric  



Cut out the circle - don't worry if it is not perfect!  


Step 2:

Sew a gathering stitch 1/4" away from edge, all the way around the circle.  Use a nice long stitch and keep your thread ends long.  Do not backstitch at the beginning and end of stitching.

stitching gathering stitches  



Here is my fabric circle with the gathering stitches:


fabric circle with gathering stitches



Step 3:

Set fabric circle aside.  Using your piece of cardstock and the jar lid (the flat lid, not the ring), trace the lid onto the cardstock.  Cut out the circle and set aside.


trace lid on to cardstock  



 Step 4:

Now place the jar lid in the center of the fabric circle (fabric is right-side down and jar lid is upside-down).  Gently pull on just the bobbin thread to gather the circle.  While holding the threads, use your fingers to evenly distribute the gathers around the circle.


pull on bobbin threads



Step 5:

You are now ready to fill your pincushion.  Carefully fill the space between the fabric and the lid with polyfill.  To help with this step, try to keep most of the gathers around the lid except for the spot where you are adding batting.


gathered fabric ready for batting


Step 6:

When it is as full as you'd like, cinch up the bobbin threads around the lid again.  Before tying the threads off, check to see if the batting is evenly distributed on the other side.  You don't want a lumpy, lopsided pincushion and it is much easier to fix it now!

Tie bobbin threads.  Then tie bobbin threads to the two top threads to secure the gathers.


Step 7:

Using a hot glue gun, lay a bead of glue under the gathered edge of fabric.  Press as flat as you can.  It is important that you really get these gathers as flat as possible.  If they are too bulky it will make it challenging to get the jar completely closed.  Trim threads.


gathers glued down


Step 8:

(this step is for an optional needle holder)  Cut a length of ribbon to about 6".  Glue one end (right-side down) to the edge of the pincushion lid.  Use pinking shears to trim the ends of the ribbon to keep it from fraying. 



pincushion ribbon


Step 9:

Press the pincushion lid into the ring, making sure the needle holder ribbon is pulled through to the top.


press pincushion into ring


Step 10:

Place the cardstock circle inside the ring, over the gathered edges and lid.  Test pincushion lid by screwing it onto the jar.  Remove lid again and using a bit of glue, attach cardstock circle to the under side of the lid.  Press in place.


inside lid



Add any ribbon trim that you wish.  Your pincushion is ready to use!


Tip:  I found that the lid worked better when the ring was NOT glued to the lid.  Also, some of my jar lids were a little tight at first, but with use the cardstock and gathered fabric compress a bit allowing the lid to fasten better.  



All of my sewing must-haves fit perfectly inside my new pincushion!


filled pincushion jar  


These are so easy and quick - I had to make one more.  This one is made using Riley Blake's Love Birds Dot Stripe on Blue.  The needle holder is a cheery red ribbon.  I think I prefer the wider ribbon for the needle holder.  


Would you like to own this pincushion?  I'll be giving it away over on my blog .  Stop by for a visit sometime this weekend and enter to win!  


blue pincushion





Category: Pincushions


  1. Came up with a similar idea when I saw those little squat jars for the first time. Love!
    by becky
    April 02nd, 2012 at 8:59 p.m.
  2. Ilove this idea but I haven`t seen the jars anywhere
    by sue
    November 17th, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
  3. We bought fruit jars at the dollar store. They were perfect for this project.
    by Monica
    November 29th, 2012 at 7 a.m.
  4. I have seen these at Walmart. May be seasonal item.
    by Karen
    December 22nd, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.
  5. I just found them at Hobby Lobby.
    by Jan
    August 28th, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.
  6. this is really confusing directions you dont show how u put the fill in and the lid together they way you explain it is that the end the lid is part of were your pins are supose to go and the stiching sticks out. the pictuers help some but directions dont make sense.
    by ina
    December 18th, 2013 at 5:32 a.m.
  7. I agree, Ina. Great idea, Andy! Thank you.
    by Tricia
    March 03rd, 2014 at 9:31 a.m.
  8. you can buy the jars at Miachels, that´s where I found mine, there are even many sizes. Or on line or other craft store
    by carmen
    May 11th, 2014 at 9:51 a.m.
  9. This must be the most frustrating thing I have ever tried to make. My lid just will not screw together. I have tried everything but the lid just keeps popping off the jar. What have I done wrong?
    by June
    August 18th, 2014 at 9:18 a.m.
  10. If you have questions about this tutorial, you can contact the author through her blog. Link provided at the top.
    by Julia
    August 20th, 2014 at 9:19 a.m.
  11. I thought this was a great little tutorial. I have made several of these pincushions using wool roving instead of the poly fill. The wool lubricates your pins. I love the ribbon idea for sewing needles. makes them easy to find. Thanks for your effort to bring this to us all!
    by Diana
    November 01st, 2014 at 9:42 p.m.

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