I really do love these cute little chicken pincushions. My mother has one that she bought at a Martha Pullen Heirloom Sewing event made out of Liberty cotton. Mine isn’t so refined, but she’s cute – don’t you think?
It only takes a couple small rectangles of fabric, tiny scraps of felt, and two button eyes to make. You can stuff them with polyfill, but I prefer a more substantial hen. Mine are stuffed with ground walnut shells. You can find them at the pet store, usually packaged up for reptile or bird bedding. Finer is better, so go for the smallest particles you can find.
I’ve made a .pdf of the pattern for you, if you’d like to have the shapes and placement taken care of for you. It’s available here.
Cut out your two small rectangles, and your felt.
Then, lay your next piece of fabric on top, right sides together. You can secure the layers with some pins if you like. I generally just use a little dot from my basting glue stick. Sew around three sides, beginning at what will be the back of the chick, across the bottom, to the front, all the way along the front, then back across the top. Secure your thread, then zig-zag the edges for security. Use a small stitch length for both, to prevent any of the ground walnut shells from coming out.
Now, turn your rectangle rightside out. Use a bamboo skewer or other small tool to poke the corners out. Fill your hen with walnut shells. These pincushions work better if they’re tightly stuffed, so pack them in. When you think you have enough, tap them down and pack in some more.
Once you have your hen stuffed as much as you can, match up the seams together, and nest them with the seam allowances going in one direction on top and the opposite direction on the bottom. Turn in the edges about a 1/4″ and sew up with a ladder stitch. When you’ve nearly sewn the whole thing up, use a small funnel to add a little more of the ground walnut shells. Finish the seam and tie off your thread securely.
The very final touch is to take two tiny round buttons and sew them on, one on each side of your hen. I go back and forth between the two buttons, sewing them both on at the same time, and pulling the pincushion together between them. If you’ve got enough stuffing, you won’t pull it flat.
And there we are! Enjoy your little pincushion. She’ll hold your pins easily, and will stay where you put her, because of her weight.