Introduction: Wrist-watch Pin Cushion

There's always time for sewing! This Instructable teaches you how to make a pin cushion that attaches to your wrist with Velcro so you can keep your pins nearby at all times. To make it even more fun, we made the pin cushion so it looks like a watch and you can decorate it anyway you want! This project is also a great way to learn simple stitches and techniques like basting, straight stitch, and blanket stitch. You can also practice almost any embroidery technique to make the face of the watch. I originally made one of these because I am a child at heart but this is an easy, fun project perfect for kids and adults alike! If you are working with a very small child, you may want to sew steps one through eight and then just let them decorate the pin cushion as some of the stitches can be challenging.

I first started getting interested in pin cushions that attach to your wrist watching Project Runway. I realized that a lot of people on the show had really unique fully-customized pin cushions and that attaching a pin cushion to your wrist made this sewing tool into a sort of fashion accessory. From this line of thinking I somehow settled on a pin cushion that looks like a wrist watch.

This is an entry for the Singer Kids Crafts Contest. Please vote for me if you like it!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

The complete cost of materials for this project should be less than $5. You might even be able to find everything in your house already!

For this project you will need:
1. At least two 8.5" x 11" sheets of felt, preferably in two colors. One color is for the watch face and the other is for the body of the watch and the strap. You can have more colors if you want!
2. A small ball of fiberfill stuffing.
3. Some scissors
4. A small embroidery needle.
5. Some embroidery floss in your favorite colors. You want to get the kind of embroidery floss that is made of 6 strands of cotton thread.
6. A plastic bottle top. The wider the top the better! It should also be at least 1/4" deep. We used a cap from a 20 oz soda.
7. Fabric glue.
8. Velcro--make sure it is not self-adhesive. Self-adhesive Velcro may not be strong enough to stay attached and is difficult to sew through because the adhesive gums up your thread.
9. Some pins to put in your finished pin cushion! These are also helpful for making the project.

Optionally you may want to also have:
  • Glitter paint, fabric markers or anything else you could use for decoration.
  • Regular cotton sewing thread (this may make the basting easier--Don't worry you will learn about basting very soon!). It doesn't matter what color the thread is because it will be hidden inside the pin cushion.

Step 2: Making the Pin Cushion: Cut and Stuff a Circle of Felt.

The actual pin-cushion part of this Instructable is based on pin cushions like the one made by MonkeyBoy3217 (see Hand-Sewn Mini Pin Cushion ). This wasn't the first example of this style of pin cushion I found on the internet, but I can't find where I originally heard about pop top pin cushions.

Cut a circle of fabric
Using the color you would like for your watch face, cut a circle about three inches wide. The circle doesn't have to be a perfect circle, mine certainly wasn't. Here's a trick: it is easier to make a circle if you cut a square and then cut the corners off of it.

Next you are going to baste around the outer edge of the circle. Basting means that you sew very loosely, making long stitches. You can use regular cotton thread or you can simply unravel one single strand of your embroidery thread. You want to sew about 1/4" from the outer edge of the circle. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, no one will see this part. Start by making a big strong knot and then start making big loose stitches. Once you get all the way around the circle don't make a knot or remove the needle! You are going to need it to make your circle close into a ball shape!

Stuffing the bag
Take a pinch of fiberfill stuffing and roll it into a ball. Put it in the middle of the circle you just basted around. Now take your needle and use it to pull the thread. Your basted stitches should close up and the circle should start to wrap around the fiberfill, kind of like a bag. You may want to add more stuffing. When you think there is enough stuffing inside, tighten the thread even more and it should form a little ball. Wrap the extra thread around the opening of the bag and sew several times in one spot until a knot forms. Then you can cut the thread.

Step 3: Making the Pin Cushion: Attaching to the Bottle Cap.

Get out your bottle cap! Turn it upside down like a little cup.

Put some glue (a blob about the size of a dime should be plenty) in the bottom of the cap.

Take the opening side of your stuffed bag and put it facing down into the cap. Push down hard to make sure it is really in there!

Now you have to wait for the glue to dry. In the meantime you can start work on the watch strap!

Step 4: Making the Watch Strap

Grab another color of felt--whatever you think would make a good watch-band color. Cut a strip of fabric a little wider than your bottle cap from the longest side of the felt.

Take the strip of felt and wrap it around your wrist. Wrap it around your wrist snuggly, but comfortably. You want your strap to be about two inches longer than is required to wrap around your wrist. (Have a grownup help!) Cut off any excess felt.

Put the wrist strap aside for now.

Step 5: Wrap the Bottle Cap

Next you want to cut a strip of felt to go around the sides of the bottle cap (this part of the cap is usually ridged). This piece of felt can be cut from the strap color or from a totally new color of felt. You should be able to eyeball how wide of a strip you need by resting the bottle cap on the felt. Make the strip wide enough to overlap the fluffy part of the pin cushion slightly (shown here in green). Once you cut a strip, wrap it around the bottle cap. Trim the strip so that the two ends of the felt piece meet exactly (or with a fraction of an inch overlap).

Using a straight stitch--this is what most people think of as sewing, just regular up and down, back and forth stitches--sew the two sides together so the felt wraps around the outside of the bottle cap.

Ok, you got that? The next two steps are the hardest, but the fun part (decorating your watch!) is really coming.

Step 6: Putting It Together: the Sides and Face of the Watch

Next we need to sew the side strip we just made to the face of the watch. To do this I chose to use a modified blanket stitch. As the name of this stitch suggests, it is often used around the edges of blankets. If you think it is too difficult you can just sew back and forth using straight stitches. This website explains the blanket stitch.

First make sure the glue you used in step 3 has dried, otherwise this will be really hard.

Preparing the thread
First take some of your embroidery floss (about an arm's length of it) and separate it into two bunches of three strands. Straighten out each bunch and twist until the embroidery floss looks like one big thread again. This 3-ply will be the thread you sew with.

Whether you use the blanket stitch or the straight stitch you want to sew all around the top of the face and connect it to the side pieces.

Step 7: Putting It Together: Attaching to the Wristband

Next using a straight stitch you want to sew the bottom of the pin cushion to the middle of your wristband.

Step 8: Velcro! Almost Done!

Cut about two inches of Velcro and using a straight stitch and regular thread or one-ply of embroidery floss sew it to the watch band. Sew along the outside edges of the Velcro for the best attachment.

First, take the scratchy side and place it on the right side of the watch band. Sew it on!

Next take the fuzzy/soft side and sew it on the complete opposite side of the watch band.

Yay the fun step is next!!!

Step 9: FUNTIME!

Now you get to design the face of your watch anyway you want. You can choose to make it a digital or analog watch. We made the faces on our watches using backstitch, straight stitch and satin stitch. We learned about embroidery from Sublime Stitching, but you can probably learn more about embroidery from the internet or maybe even from Instructables! Don't forget to customize your wristband too! You can decorate it or taper it as we did with this green analog watch.

If embroidery is too difficult you can also decorate your watch with fabric markers or fabric paint. If using paint be careful not to make it so thick that it becomes difficult to put pins into your pin cushion.

Now you have a new pin cushion watch, what will be your next sewing project?

And remember, even this watch will be right twice a day!

SINGER Kids Crafts Contest

Participated in the
SINGER Kids Crafts Contest