If you've been following along with Good Migrations for a while, then you know that I've been fretting over an accumulation of four-patches ear-marked to become four-patch pin cushions. I've only glossed over the how-to-make-them in my posts, and with a bunch of recent requests, I thought it might be fun to provide a more detailed tutorial over the next few weeks.
For my example, I'm starting with two sets of two matching (sorta matching) 5" scrap squares from my ScrapTherapy Scrap bins. I could also have started with 8 'light' and 8 'dark' 2" squares from my bins.
For more details on what's in my scrap bins, check out any of my three ScrapTherapy books . . .
Stack 'em up and cut into two stacks of 2x5" strips and one stack of 1x5" strips. The 1" strips are not used.
Keep the matched strips together, and sew into strips sets.
I am using two different 'light' scrap prints, but two of the same 'dark' print.
Set two matching strips sets aside for the pin cushion sides.
The remaining strip sets are will be come the top and bottom of the pin cushion. Press both of these strip sets toward the 'dark' fabric.
Cross cut to make four 2x3-1/2" two patches.
Arrange two pairs of two-patches and place them right sides together.
Place them on your work table so the seam on top (the one you see) is coming toward your on one set and away from you on the second set.
Sew a scant 1/4" seam as shown to make the four-patches. Each four-patch will measure 3-1/2" square
Nestle the seams so they nest and oppose. If the seams overlap or if there is a gap between them, the next step won't be as successful.
Remove the last 2 or 3 stitches of the two-patch seam between the longer four-patch seam (the one you just sewed) and the fabric edge as shown.
This will allow you to 'furl' the seams. This technique goes by about a million different names - pop, twist, turn, etc.
Notice that the seams will rotate in opposite directions on each four-patch.
That is on purpose, so that when one four-patch becomes the top of the pin cushion, and one becomes the bottom of the pin cushion, the seam direction will match at the edge.
Retrieve those two strip-sets you put aside earlier and press one toward the dark fabric and one toward the light fabric.
Then sub cut into 1-1/2x 3-1/2" two-patches (four of them) to make the pin cushion sides.
As shown below, arrange one of the four-patches (the top) and the four sides on your work table. You have two options - the first one is to create corners where the fabrics on top, bottom, and sides match (like the finished one on the right). As you arrange the side pieces, make sure the seams oppose on each side.
Note that adjacent side two-patches will be pressed differently - a side pressed toward the dark fabric will be next to a side pressed toward the light fabric.
OR. . . you can make your pin cushion so the checkerboard effect continues around the sides. Top and bottom corners match, but sides are opposite fabrics next to each other as shown below with a finished example on the right.
Working one side at a time, sew the side two-patch to the top four-patch as shown. Be sure to stop and start each seam 1/4" from the fabric edge with a back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam (at the red arrows).
Replace the sewn unit back into the arrangement before adding the next side. I like to sew one side, then it's opposite, then the two remaining sides.
Nest and oppose the seams as you sew the sides to the pin cushion top, but there is no need to press at this point.
When sewing seams adjacent to existing seams, pull back the sewn side so the stitching doesn't come into contact with the already sewn sides. I like using pins to secure the layers.
Remember to start and stop sewing 1/4" from the fabric edge (the red dots) with a back stitch.
I like to add a short reinforcing basting stitch over the seam on the back four-patch and the side it will eventually be sewn to (red arrows on the right).
This will be where the pin cushion is turned and stuffed, so a little extra reinforcement there will keep the seams from splitting.
Embellishment is next. Surface embroidery? Color? Buttons? Beads? Fun decisions ahead. . . More to come!