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project // fall leaf applique pincushion

Applique Leaf Pincushion

I really didn't need another pincushion. In fact, I made another one earlier this year, so I REALLY didn't need another. But I had this idea to make one that would fit in my travel case. It would look like what you see in the photos, but smaller.

In case you haven't guessed, mid-project I forgot about why I was going to make it smaller, and ended up with a pincushion that won't fit in my travel case. Oops! I guess I'll have to make another.

But I do love this one. Even with the hand-stitched details, it's quick to make and perfect for the season. Want to make your own? Here's how!

Applique Leaf Pincushion

You will need:

- Nine scraps for leaves
- Linen (at least 5 1/2" square)
- Quilting cotton (at least 5 1/2 x 11")
Fusible interfacing like Wonder Under
Batting (at least 5 1/2" square)
Embroidery floss
Pincushion filler of your choice (I used fiberfil and walnut shells)
Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
Sewing machine

Leaf Template

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Iron pieces of the interfacing on to the back of the fabric scraps, then cut them out using the leaf template. You will need nine leaves.

Since this interfacing has a paper backing, I removed the paper before cutting. I don't always do that, but in this case it helped a lot.

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Arrange the leaves on the linen however you like. I pulled out my ruler and tried to get the layout as straight as possible, without actually marking the fabric. I failed. But close enough is, well, close enough.

When you are satisfied with how they look, iron them down.

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Layer the leaf piece, batting, and a square of the quilting cotton to make a mini quilt sandwich. Pin the layers together.

Applique Leaf Pincushion

With three strands of embroidery floss, stitch around each leaf with running stitch. This will quilt the top a little, while securing those leaves and adding a pretty detail (three functions for one bit of stitching? nice!).

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Trim down the top and a second piece of quilting cotton for the backing. They should both be a 5-inch square.

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Place the backing on the quilted piece, right sides together. Pin around the sides. My sideways pin is where the opening will be.

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Sew around the sides, and back stitching on each side of a 2-inch opening. Trim the corners as shown.

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Turn the pincushion right side out and poke the corners so they look pretty. Lately I've been using the handle of a little paintbrush for this!

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Fill the pincushion with your favorite filler. There are lots of options for this! Since this is a good sized cushion, I did a combination so it was solid, but not overly heavy. My friend Ellen suggested alternating walnut shells and fiberfil and that worked great! (We have no nut allergies around here, so I'm good with the walnuts.)

Stitch the opening closed with ladder stitch.

Applique Leaf Pincushion

You're finished, so get your pins ready to jump in these leaves!

Applique Leaf Pincushion
Applique Leaf Pincushion

This cushion would be a wonderful fall gift for a sewing friend...or a gift for yourself! And you don't need to limit it to fall colors. Make it in springy greens and yellows, or all in one color, or a whole rainbow!

Do you need a new pincushion? I bet you do now!


  1. Very cute (and useful, too)!

  2. That pincushion is so sweet!!

  3. how cute. Love this pin cushion. need to make one.

  4. I love this so much! I always wonder about pin cushions for sale in stores - who buys those? Don't the people who need pin cushions know how to make them? :)


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