I’m sure most of you will already be familiar with our friend and super talented quilter Brioni Greenberg. Aka @FlossyBlossy, as you’ll find her on IG & Twitter. She is also one of the founder members of Fat Quarterly.
Today I’m bringing you a run through of the pattern Fairytale Pins ‘n’ Things from her book – 25 Ways to Sew Jelly Rolls Layer Cakes & Charm Packs. If you’ve not seen this book then go on, treat yourself.
I love the book as it has a great chart giving different fabric options for each of the projects within the book. So if you only have a jelly roll to hand you can look down and see which are the best projects to try.
If you’ve not already spotted it, this particular pattern out of the book is actually available as a free download for the Kindle. We’ve included a link in case you’d like to try this before you buy the book.
Hopefully I’ve taken lots of photos to help guide you through the pattern and I’ve added points where I have done something slightly differently.
Use a ¼” seam allowance unless stated otherwise.
1 mini charm pack (40 squares)
2 pieces of muslin or scrap fabric 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm)
1 fat eighth for lining the pincushion base
1 fat eighth of medium weight fusible interfacing (I used fairly stiff interfacing)
small quantity of play sand
⅓ yard (0.3m) of polyester boning, ½” (1.3cm) wide (can use package strapping as a substitute)
Step 1: Preparing and Cutting
Lining fabric: cut one piece 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm) & one piece 14½” x 6½” (36.8cm x 16.5cm)
Muslin/scrap fabric: cut two pieces 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm)
Interfacing: cut one piece 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm) & one piece 14½” x 8½” (36.8cm x 21.6cm)
Polyester boning: cut one strip 14” (35.6cm) long
*Note: I cut the larger lining fabric piece 1 inch longer, so 14½” x 7½” as I found on my first attempt the lining did not quite sit well inside the bag.
Step 2 – Preparing the thread catcher
Layout 28 of the mini charms in four rows of seven.
The end columns will be joined together to make the thread catcher and will be at the back, if you’ve any favourite fabrics in there remember to put them more in the middle as these will be at the front.
Chain stitch the charms in rows and then sew the rows together. Making sure you press as you go as they are quite small pieces.
Press onto the larger piece of interfacing and trim to 14½” x 8½” (36.8cm x 21.6cm).
Step 3 – Preparing the pincushion
Lay out six mini charms into two rows of three. Sew these together in the same way as the thread catcher and then press onto the smaller piece of interfacing.
Next make the tabs that attaches the pincushion to the thread catcher. Take two more charm squares, fold each in half and sew down the side, then turn right side and press with seam to the centre.
Step 4: Making the pincushion
With the pincushion charm top (from point 3) facing right side up, place the tabs with raw edges aligned to the long top edge and the seam side facing up. This makes the pieces right sides together. It’s needs to be about 1” in from each edge, but I just matched it so it covered over the vertical seams either side of the centre mini charm.
Sew a holding line ⅛” (0.3cm). This will be hidden within the pincushion seam next.
Now place the smaller piece of lining fabric right sides together with the pincushion top. Making sure the tabs are folding in.
Sew around the edges leaving a 3” (7.6cm) opening at one end to squeeze in the sand filling.
Step 5: Making the thread catcher
Take the charm pieced thread catcher (step 1) and match up the shorter edge seams and sew together to make a tube.
Then with this seam running down the middle flatten the and sew along the bottom edge.
To give it a squared bottom I placed a pin down the edge seam that I’d just flattened,
Then pop the bag open and align this flattened line down the side with the bottom seam. I then use a pin to pop through the centre of the bottom seam and line it up with the pin on the other edge. This ensures that my corners should be perfectly square and all match up neatly.
Once you’re happy the are lined up flatten this seam and draw a line 1½’ (I actually did 1¼”) from the point and sew along this line. Trim off the excess and press.
Repeat with the other side.
Turn right side out.
Repeat all of step 5 with the lining fabric, except leave a gap of 3” (7.6cm) in the bottom and leave inside out.
Step 6: Assembly
Attach the pincushion to thread catcher by laying the tabs with seams down onto the back of the thread catcher, so the pincushion is just positioned half way over the back seam. The tabs will be approximately ½” from the centre back seam.
Sew a holding line ⅛” (0.3cm) to secure the tabs to the top of the thread catcher. This will be hidden within the seam next.
Now place the thread catcher and pincushion inside the lining bag made in step 5, they should be right sides together.
Also make sure that the pincushion is tucked inside.
Pin so that the back seams match up, pin around the top and then sew all the way around the top edge.
You should now be able to pull the thread catcher and pincushion gently through the hole in the bottom of the lining.
To make the pincushion insert, take the two pieces of muslin or scrap fabric and sew around three of the edges leaving one of the short ends open.
Now fill with the sand so it is quite firm, but there is enough room to sew shut. I tacked a line of stitches about ¾” from the edge then put it gently through the overlocker. If you don’t have one do not worry. I would maybe recommend folding it over and stitching it closed with a very close stitch to secure the sand in place.
Now gentle ease the sand pouch into the pincushion and sew the opening shut.
Step 7: Finishing
Finishing off with the polyester boning is the step I skipped in preference for quite sturdy interfacing, but the instructions do appear very simple.
Press the top edge of the thread catcher and pin in place if necessary to hold the layers in place. Then top stitch all the way around ⅛” from the top edge.
Tape the ends of the polyester boning together and insert the loop into the hole of the lining. Manipulate the ring so it sits at the top of the thread catcher bag next to the top stitching you’ve just done, between the lining and the outter fabric.
Pin around the bag just below the boning and stitch here, to form a channel to hold it in place. Fold the thread catcher in half to crease the boning at each side and make it into an oval shape.
Finally, sew up the opening in the lining to complete your pincushion and thread catcher.
I hope that some of the extra tips I’ve put in have been useful and you enjoy this lovely sewing room make.
As a little bonus we’ve put together a kit to help get you started. The kits include:
Mini charm pack (of your choice from available stock)
FQ of fabric
Fabric for Pincushion inner
Pack of sand
Some strapping to use as boning
You can go ahead and purchase the kit over in the shop, here’s a quick link for you.
We hope this tutorial guide has been useful and if you’ve any questions just drop us a note in the comments or on the contact page.