Teacup Pincushion

Teacup Pincushion

A pincushion is, in practically, a utilitarian object. It doesn’t have to be pretty or cute, and if you’ve had one for ages, it might have been once, but it sure isn’t anymore. The fact remains, though, that despite the fact that there’s no reason for it to be cute, it’s the one tool that almost EVERY crafter needs in their studio, no matter what they do. And if it’s always going to be there, it might as well be adorable, right?

There are, of course, oodles of cute pincushions out there. If you’re not really feeling the skully pincushions, or even the hedgehog ones, and are looking for something a little more elegant and whimsical, I have just the thing for you. Something with all the cuteness of a tea party but none of the crumbs and crumpets. 

I am of course, referring to the super cute and very popular teacup pincushion! All you need is a cute little teacup you don’t need anymore (maybe it’s chipped? or maybe you just thrifted it for cheap) and a few more supplies...

  • Your teacup and saucer
  • Needle and thread
  • Small swatch of fabric (8 inch square maybe?)
  • Sheer cutaway stabilizer (I’m using Sulky Soft 'n’ Sheer)
  • Super cute and light scribbles design
  • Hot glue gun
  • Polyfill stuffing

The teacup you use can come from anywhere. Preferably, it’s an old teacup that chipped so you can’t use it for tea anymore, but hunting through thrift stores and home decor stores can yield great cheap finds too. This little cup and saucer set was $3, and it’s so darn cute I was almost just tempted to keep it for tea. But it will make the world’s most adorable pincushion. Trust me.

So, let's talk a bit about embroidery and stabilizer. For this project we’re going to do something a bit different. We’re going to make our own embroidered fabric!

To make your own embroidered fabric, there are a couple things to keep in mind. We’re using sheer cutaway stabilizer so the fabric will remain soft and drapey, otherwise you won’t be able to do much with your new fabric. You’ll also want to pick a nice light embroidery design that doesn’t make your fabric too dense when you repeat and overlap it.

So! Hoop up your fabric with some sheer cutaway stabilizer.

Start by stitching out your first design. (I'm using a pretty pair of scissors.) We’re going to want to repeat this randomly to create an embroidered pattern. You can do the repetitions in two ways: un-hoop and re hoop, or rotate the design.

With the un-hooping method, once your first design is done, un-hoop it, rotate the hoop so you’ll get a nice overlap with the next design, and start stitching again.

If your software allows, you can also just rotate and move your design in your hoop. This method works well, but eventually you will want to re-hoop your fabric so you can cover more area with your embroidery, instead of just embroidering the area within your hoop.

Repeat your design as many times as you wish to get a nice embroidered pattern.

Here’s my pretty patterned fabric! I could do more, but honestly, you’re only going to see a little bit once we turn it into a pincushion. Still, this is a fun and easy way of making your own embroidered fabric for anything!

Such as, say a teacup pincushion...


So, let's prepare our pincushion. Place your fabric right side down. In general, you’ll want to cut your fabric in a circle about twice as wide as your teacup opening. This isn’t a scientific measurement, just eyeball it.

Cut out your circle, stabilizer and all...

Once you have your circle ready, grab a little poof of polyfill stuffing, and place it in the middle of your circle.


Using a needle and thread, sew a quick long stitch around the edge of your circle, about 1/4 of an inch away from the edge. Keep the thread loose at both ends. These can be longer or shorter stitches -- I started with long stitches to get the gather faster, but you can always go back through with tighter stitches later.

Once you’ve gone all the way around, grab both ends of the thread and gently tug to gather the edges inwards, creating a little ball. Gather it a little, and then begin to add more stuffing. Stuff it as much as it will hold, and when you’re happy, pull the gather tight. Tie the end off so your little ball stays in place.

Now it’s just a quick assembly, and we’re done!

Grab your hot glue gun, and run a bead of glue around the bottom edge of your cup. Carefully place it in the middle of your saucer, gluing it in place.

You don’t have to glue your cup to your saucer, you could just leave it as a cup, but I think it makes it more stable plus the saucer makes a nice pin catcher.

Finally, put a line of glue all around the inside of your teacup. Don't put anything too close to the top edge or the glue might squeeze out and not look so pretty.

Carefully push your little poof ball of stuffed fabric down inside your cup, letting a little of the poof sit outside of the cup.

Your simple and adorable pincushion is ready brighten up your studio on any day. Whimsical and bright, it’s a classy touch too. Let's face it, a craft room is usually a chaotic space.

Plus, your subtle tone-on-tone embroidered fabric adds a wonderful bit of style to an already delightfully crafty little piece. Who knew it could be so easy to add a touch of class?

Teacup pincushions are always a delicious little crafty treat, and the recipes for them are endless! Shelley Rodgers whips up a swirly cupcake using scraps of piping. Finding Beauty @ Home garnishes a pincushion with felted roses. Tipnut shares a frilly button-covered pincushion. And Gingham Cherry keeps it simple, letting a fun fabric print show its stuff. Mix some stitches into your own teacup and let us know what you come up with!

Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Special Shears_image
Special Shears $1.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.29"w x 6.10"h | 2.72"w x 3.86"h | Hand Embroidery