Scrappy Armrest Pincushion Tutorial

Ever since I first visited Karen Griska’s inspirational Selvage Blog, this project has been brewing in the back of my mind. Sew, Mama, Sew is holding a scrappy tutorial contest for the month of October so that gave me the extra push I needed to get it done.
This pincushion hangs over the armrest of your couch or armchair while you sew. The side pockets hold scissors, measuring tapes, thread or bobbins. For this project, I used many kinds of scraps, including the scrappiest of all scraps, selvages. All seam allowances are 1/4″.
1. To begin, we will create the selvage pockets. I cut two 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ squares of muslin and drew a few diagonal lines across them in pencil to help while lining up and sewing the selvages. I chose to sew the selvages along the diagonal rather than horizontal rows because this allowed me to use even the tiniest, short, little selvages. I began in one corner, with the raw edge of the fabric facing the center of the block and the selvage edge in the corner. I stitched along the selvage edge. Then I layered the next selvage on top of the raw edge, stitched the selvage edge, and repeated until the square was complete. Turn the square over and using the muslin square as a guide, cut off the excess. Then set your two selvage pockets aside.

2. For the bottom of the pincushion, you will need 3 very scrappy 6 1/2″ square blocks (finished size 6″). I made a nine patch, a split log cabin and a log cabin, all using many small scraps. Sew the three patchwork squares together with a 1 1/2″ strip of fabric dividing them. Next cut a piece of solid colored fabric 6 1/2″ x 19 1/2.” As you will see, I even pieced this section together with my seams in the center where they will not be visible. Find a scrap of batting the same size and create a quilt sandwich. Quilt as desired. I used a simple stipple. Set this piece aside.
3. To create the pincushion, cut two pieces of fabric and one piece of batting to 7 1/2″ x 10″. I used unbleached muslin. You can embellish this piece if desired. I used a favorite selvage and appliqued it onto the muslin. Then create a quilt sandwich and quilt as desired. I used my walking foot and made a few straight lines. You don’t want a lot of quilting here because it will get in the way of the pins when you are putting them into your pincushion. With right sides together, stitch the 7 1/2″ edges to eachother, and turn.
4. Create about 65″ of binding. There is no reason why this binding couldn’t be scrappy too, though mine is not. Attach binding to the top edge of your selvage pockets. Set aside the remaining binding.

5. Assemble your pincushion by pinning the selvage pockets to the solid colored side of your quilted piece. Then center the pincusion in the center and pin along one edge. Stitch along this edge and then stuff. Once stuffed, stitch the other edge and trim excess material. Finally, bind the edges.

Enjoy your scrappy pincushion!


  1. I LOVE this! I am always looking for a place to put my pins and needles while embroidering and have, one too many times, used the poor armrest as my poking spot, much to dh’s dismay.

  2. I love this tutorial. I’m definitely making a few of these. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. i’m bookmarking it right now as i so need one! beautiful and thank you!!

  4. That is a great project, soft and cheery! Thanks for the tutorial. I’ll put it on the Selvage Blog. I hope you enjoy this artistic creation for many years.

  5. I love this. My friends and I have been talking about setting up a crafting circle, and this seems like just the thing to start with. Because, you know, it would be useful on down the line. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Excellent project and tutorial, thank you!

  7. I LOVE this! I will definitely be making one for myself. My husband will be happy that I can finally contain my quilt binding mess that takes over my side of the couch.

  8. Wow! Great tutorial, I’ll bookmark it and will so be making one! I spotted this on the Selvage blog.

  9. A very nice little selvage project! I think I am going to make one too!

  10. Off to cut the selvadge–cottonreel

  11. What a great idea. I am fed up with things sliding off the arm of the chair. This is just the solution, thank you.

  12. This project looks like it was a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing it here on your blog. I also love the selvage blog with its inspirational ideas.

  13. W-a-y cute girl!! You did a wonderful tutorial
    as well!!

  14. i just love seeing these selvedge projects. this one is great, thanks for the tute!

  15. Super cute! I love the selvages!

  16. I love this! What a great idea, and this will make a great Christmas gift for my MIL. Thanks for sharing–I’ve added it to my favorites!

  17. Brilliant and beautiful!!

  18. This is great. I love the salvage idea! Wish I could make one for myself but my little scottie would grab and run with it.

  19. This is great…I love it..I have added a link to your tutorial on my freebies blog if thats okay..hugs Khris

  20. I agree with everyone above me. I love this as well. I will be making one of these for myself and a friend of mine who just said, not too long ago, she wished she had one. Great idea for a xmas gift for her.

    Again, I love these tips we all get and I really do look forward to opening my mail and finding one. I save a lot of them.

    Keep them coming.

    have a wonderful evening,


  21. So clever, will use this for a Christmas gift, check out my blog for more ideas, I love the ideas out there for easy to make Christmas gifts.

  22. I just finished two of these pin cushions – one for a swap and one for me! When doing hand sewing I was always sticking the pins and needle into the arm of the sofa or chair – now I can use this pin cushion. Purr-fect! Thanks for putting out this pattern and tutorial.


  23. I love this tutorial. I’m definitely making a few of these. I love it. Thanks for sharing.


  24. Very ingenious, cute and useful. Your radiators look JUST like some of mine… circa 1914-Detroit. 🙂


  25. Hi, I’m a french woman and I made a similar pincushion :
    have a good day

  26. This was a GREAT idea….I love it! It might be a future gift for all my sewing friends! Thank you for sharing!!!!

  27. Jeannie says:

    Love it!! so nice and easy.

  28. Thank you, I have this on my long list to do…it is perfect!

  29. thx for the tute! this looks like it whips up pretty fast. made need to make one for me and a few for friends. such a clever idea this is.

  30. I absolutely LOVE this! I like to have pin cushions everywhere because I sew everywhere! : ) This one I can see getting alot of use by far! I’m making one today!!! Think I’ll make one for my daughter too. Thank you!

  31. I love this!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! I am deluged with remotes, so I am planning on modifying this with adding pockets for all the remotes I’ve gathered. A remote for the t.v., the cable box, the stereo, the vcr/dvd player, the air conditioner, the fan, then I can’t forget my cell phone! One can’t possibly keep the all on the table next to their chair or on the coffee table all at once! Well, they could but what a site! So I am going to add pockets behind, I’ll try to post pictures when I am done. Judi

  33. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE this pattern! I made one for a pincushion swap in one of my quilting groups and of course everyone wanted it! One of my best friends wanted it really bad so I made one for her birthday too! Now I’m getting ready to make another one…for ME! Its so fun and easy to make! Thanks for sharing your pattern!

  34. Love this idea. Someone shared your blog on our group and I enjoyed this tutorial a lot.

  35. Anonymous says:

    super Idee!! und es wird auch alles verwertet. Das Maßband einzuarbeiten ist eine geniale Idee, ich suche meins immer.

  36. I just love your pincushion. Your idea for the material used is great to.

  37. This is pretty. LOVE it!!

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. After christmas i will make me one …… Thank you.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family

  40. I just found your website today and love this tutorial. Thank you for the pattern. Can’t wait to make one!

  41. What a clever idea 🙂

  42. I love selvedges. Thanks for the idea.

  43. I made a pincushion from your tutorial today and I just love it! Thank you for posting this. Now I want to make one for several quilting friends as a gift.

  44. great way to use those selveges.

  45. Great tutorial! You’ve been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

    We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for the home sewist.

    Grab a brag button!

  46. I love this! May I share it on Maybe some of your other tutes as well? Please drop me a line and let me know. Thanks so much!


  47. I like your idea,Thanks for the tutorial it will help a lot to start the project.Hope that I can make it successfully.

  48. Wow, funny you should post this today. I was browsing last week and came upon this item. It inspired me to mke this.

  49. So cute!! TFS

  50. Great tutorial, thank you for sharing:-)

  51. Wonderful tutorial

  52. shirley tener says:

    Gotta make this

  53. Loved this pattern, good instructions, made it real quick, perhaps I won’t keep losing needles thank you

  54. Christine says:

    Love this. It’s so cute, and your instructions are very clear. I’ve been saving selvedges and now know what to do with them. Thanks for the tuts and the inspiration!

  55. I really like this tutorial it’s easy and elegant as well and it’s so easy as well using selvedges, how clever, thanks for sharing .

  56. Amy. This is an interesting sewing caddy. Would you mind if we print enough instructions for our National Quilt Day in March, 2015? We expect to need 80 copies. We would of course reference your blog.

  57. Lindsay says:

    I’ve made several of these, but I make pockets on the outside of the part which goes on the outside of the chair, making 2 seams from top to bottom. That way I have scissors, a seam ripper and a place to put my thread. Makes a nice gift as well.

  58. SANDRA HAWN says:


  59. Anne Marie Phillips says:

    Great way to use those narrow strops I have been keeping


  1. […] Scrappy Armrest Pincushion Tutorial. Ever since I first visited Karen Griska’s inspirational Selvage Blog, this project has been brewing in the back of my mind. […]

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