Quick & Easy Faux Patchwork Project

patchwork projectcate pratoLast week I talked about substituting gluing for sewing, and asked what you thought of it.

I got a huge response, with most people very much in favor of gluing whenever it made sense. Hurray!

To reward you for your enthusiasm, today I'm going to give you a project that is fun, useful, easy, and has a contemporary patchwork look that is accomplished with glue.

This Patchwork Pincushion project by Lucie Summers is taken from 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts, our new, largest-ever special publication.

I think this is such a fun project. You can vary the look of the pincushion by your fabric choices, and it's a great way to introduce young crafters to hand stitching. It would make a terrific gift, too. And boy, would a bevy of these use up fabric scraps.


  • Small, straight-sided plastic or cardboard jar for base (such as a yogurt cup)
  • Strip of white paper
  • Paper glue
  • Assorted fabric scraps cut into thin strips
  • Permanent craft spray glue or fabric glue
  • Piece of craft felt (max. 10" square)
  • Embroidery thread
  • Strong, thick sewing thread
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • A few smaller scraps of craft felt
  • Compass


1. Trim your cup down to your desired height. For yogurt cups that have a diameter of 1 1/2", I went with a height of 1". For a larger cup with a diameter of roughly 3", I used a height of 2". Try to cut the cup edge as straight as possible.

2. Cut a strip of paper the same height and length as the cup and carefully glue it to the cup using paper glue. This gives a nice base to glue your fabric onto.

3. Cut the assorted fabric scraps into strips. Use a rotary cutter and ruler to ensure the pieces are perfectly straight. Make them 1" or so longer than the height of the cup.

4. Spray the craft or fabric glue on the backs of the scraps and carefully stick them around the pincushion cup base. Line the fabric up well and stick the strips next to each other (try not to let any of the white paper show through), but don't let the fabric overlap (this will make the cup base lumpy). Fold the strips over the top of the cup and stick them to the inside. This isn't a difficult task, but done badly it will look unprofessional, so take your time.

5. When you get to the last piece, measure the space and cut a strip of fabric to fill it exactly. Set aside to dry.

6. Take the larger piece of craft felt and draw a circle with your compass. The size of the circle depends on the diameter of your cup base. As a general rule, make the circle 1 1/2" bigger all the way around.

7. Cut a few more smaller circles from the felt scraps and hand stitch them to the middle of the larger craft circle using a buttonhole or straight stitch.

8. Thread a sewing needle with a good length of strong thread, double it, and knot the end twice. Do a small running stitch 1/4" from the edge of the large felt circle.

patchwork projects9. Place fiberfill in the center of the wrong side of the felt circle and pull the thread to gather the edges. Securely tie a knot so the felt stays gathered. Add more fiberfill, if necessary, to make the pincushion nice and firm.

10. Twist the pincushion into the cup base. If it's too tight, remove some stuffing; if it's too loose, add more stuffing.

11. Once you're happy with the fit, remove the pincushion from the base and squeeze some fabric glue into the base. Spread the glue around the bottom and sides of the cup, reinsert the felt cushion, and leave to dry. 

In fact, 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts is filled with quick and easy contemporary sewing and crafting projects that young people would enjoy, from baby toys and doll quilts, to headbands, coin purses, and cool friendship bracelets and fabric cuffs. And if your "young people" have four legs, there are plenty of projects for them, too.

Whether you sew a little, a lot, or use glue instead, you'll find something you just can't wait to make in 101 Patchwork Projects + Quilts, available now.

By the way, what do you think of the contemporary patchwork revival? Have you made any patchwork projects lately (sewn, glued, painted, collaged, or knitted)? Tell us what you think in the comments section below, and if you have a link to a picture, share it!


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