Sunday, January 31, 2016

Pin Cushion Thread Catcher Tutorial

pin cushion thread catcher

Usually, when I make these, I make several at at time.  These are very popular at my Family Reunions, with all the stitchers.

Supplies Needed:
1 Fat Quarter for Thread Caddy
1 Fat Quarter for Pin Cushion
1-2 cups Play Sand or Crushed Walnut Shells
19"-20" Package Strapping
Non-Slip Shelf Liner

Cutting Directions:
Thread Catcher Fabric - cut 2 - 9"x18" pieces
Pin Cushion Fabric - cut 2 - 6"x8" pieces, cut 1 - 4"x7" piece for straps
Non-Slip Shelf Liner - cut 1 - 3.5"x6" piece


Walnut Shells
 You can get this at pet stores. 

Package Strapping
Ask at stores if they have any strapping that they haven't thrown away yet.  I usually get mine at Sams, or, hubby brings it home from the office.

Strap Construction:
Fold 4"x7" strap fabric, right sides together, and stitch on the 7" side.

stitch along the 7" side
Turn right side out and press seam along the center.
Cut strap in half, creating two 3.5" straps.  Lay aside.
cut in half
Pin Cushion and Lining Construction:
Layer lining fabric to wrong side of the pin cushion fabric (I use the same color fabric for both parts).
lining fabric against wrong side of pin cushion fabric

Place shelf liner along one 6" end of pin cushion fabric. Place both straps, seam side against top of shelf liner, about 1" from the edges, and baste.
pin shelf liner & straps (seams against shelf liner)

baste along edge (less than 1/4")

Fold straps in half and pin (see picture below).  This will keep them out of the way when you zig zag stitch the other end of the shelf liner to the pin cushion fabric (I use a straight stitch machine, so, I stitch 2 lines of stitching instead of using a zig zag).
Pin shelf liner to fabric in several places, since the shelf liner will want to 'walk' with your sewing foot. *(You can also put a piece of paper over the shelf liner, making sure to tear it off after you have stitched the end.  The paper will only tear easily if you straight stitch, not zig zag).  **Make your stitch length small so that the paper tears away easily.
pin well, since the shelf liner 'grabs' your sewing foot

stitch close to edge of shelf liner

**you can use paper along the edge, so that the shelf liner doesn't 'grip' your sewing foot
Fold pin cushion fabric, right sides together, to measure 4"x6".  The straps will be on the inside.
Sew all three sides, leaving a 3" opening along one 4" side.  This is where you will place the sand at the very end of constructing your project.
leave a 3" opening on the side
Turn right side out.  Set aside.
top of finished pin cushion

bottom of pin cushion
Thread Catcher Construction:
Fold one 9"x18" piece of bag fabric, right sides together, and stitch along the 9" side, creating a tube. 
stitch along 9" side
Press and refold so seam is centered along the back.
seam centered along the back
Sew along the bottom edge.

sew along bottom edge
Square the bottom by bringing the bottom up to the side seam, creating a triangle.  Mark seam line.
bring bottom up to the side seam

measure 1.5" from the point, mark the line to stitch
stitch along line
Trim to 1/4".

trim to 1/4"
Repeat with the other side.
bottom of bag with boxed ends

turn right side out.
Repeat with the bag lining, leaving a 4" opening along the center of the long seam.
leave 4" opening in center of seam

Pin right sides of straps to right side of lining, along the back.  Baste.
right side of straps against right side of lining (piece with open seam)

baste (less than 1/4" from edge)
Place outer fabric inside lining, right sides together, matching and pinning raw edges.  Sew.
pin right sides together, lining up seams

pin well


sewn seam
Turn through opening in lining.  Press seam.
press seam

press seam
Insert package strapping.
insert strapping thru unstitched seam

Pin strapping WELL!
pin well before sewing
Sew as close to the edge of the strapping as you can, starting and stopping at the back seam, by the straps.
stitch close to strapping
Stitch lining closed by hand.

Fill pin cushion with sand.  Sew the opening closed by hand, using small stitches.
*I find it easier to fill if I use a funnel.

You've finished your pin cushion thread catcher.  Enjoy!
finished pin cushion thread catcher

 **I use a straight stitch machine.  I have a 1/4" foot  for my machine.

regular foot, and 1/4" foot
I switch between both feet for this project.  If you look closely at the pictures, you can tell which foot I'm using.  The regular foot is great for basting close to the edge (less than 1/4") and for stitching close to the strapping.



  1. Thanks for the great tutorial. I use the 1/4" foot too. It makes a world of difference with my quilt piecing.

  2. Thanks! I have one of these thread catchers but one more would be nice. I'm thinking that boning would work for the package strapping. It's almost free since I have a little leftover from the nursing aprons I made my DIL. ~Jeanne

  3. Great tutorial. I always wanted to make one, but I never take the time to do so.

  4. Thanks for the great tutorial, I've always wanted one of these.

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. This might be just what I need to keep my sewing area tidier.

  6. I'm trying this again. Google, I want my comments back in my inbox!!!!


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