Pin Cushion,  sewing

Inside the Pin Cushion

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I am a lover of the pin cushion and don’t think that you really could have too many.   After you pick out the pattern thought the next big decision is what’s going inside the pin cushion!

what is inside a pin cushion

There are a few products that I use all the time.   Polyfil is usually the one that hits the top of the list and is easy to find, use and works great for all pin cushions.

Beyond that thought there are a few other fun options.  One of my favorite is crushed walnut shells…. oh how I love my shells.  I even like the way it smells!  (some can’t stand it, which is so funny to me!)

what is inside a pin cushion

Inside a Pin Cushion–

What are other people using as filling for pin cushions?  After digging around and asking a few of my sewing friends….

Here is what I found:
1. crushed walnut shells (sold in pet shops as bedding for reptiles)(This is my all time favorite!!!)
2. fine bird gravel
3. sand, fine not coarse– this stuff is awesome!
4. wool roving (the natural lanolin is good for your pins and needles)
5. hair from your hairbrush (the natural oil in the hair is good for pins and needles)
6. yellow split peas  or lentils
7. dryer lint
8. steel wool
9. bran from a pet shop mixed with lavender (bran has natural oils and lavender has a good scent)
10.  water softener rock salt
11. bar of soap
12. polar fleece cut into tiny bits
13. smashed coffee beans
14. old ground coffee
15. pencil shavings
16. fine sawdust,— but not from pressure treated or exterior wood!
17. dry grass clippings
18. husks from oats, buckwheat or wheat
19. thread and fabric clippings
20. “raw” cotton (from the boll)

I have found with a few of these that they might need their own little container before putting them into the pincushion.  Especially with the small grains– like the sand and sawdust or shavings.  They tend to sneak out of seams easily and will not make you happy.

Another thing is keeping them dry.  You don’t want any of them to get wet or they will cause problems with your pins and needles.

crushed walnut pin cushion

Just in case you are pincushion crazy like me…. here are a few you might want to give a try and make!

free pincushion patterns. Perfect project to sew anytime and give as gifts.

What do you prefer to use in your pincushions?

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I'm the creator and designer behind Patchwork Posse. I will not deny fabric or an opportunity to turn on the sewing machine and sew. Learn. Create. Share. That's the theme this year! Glad you could join me. Follow me here: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube


  • liz n.

    For pincushion innards, I use ground walnut shells or rice to weight the bottom so that the pincushion doesn’t fall over, then pack with super-fine grade steel wool (0-3), and add a layer of batting on top of the steel wool. This general formula works for every size and shape pincushion I’ve ever made.

  • Becky

    liz- great suggestions to mix them up for different purposes. the weight is a great thing to keep it from scooting all over!

  • Cherie L.

    I swear by felt. Plain acrylic felt works just fine. Holds the pins like a magnet so they don’t fall out.

  • Chris

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