A home for pins
A plump cloth pouch held in a decorative container creates a pretty cushion for safely storing sharp needlework essentials
“Like any good performance, sewing needs its props, and the tools used by women to prepare and execute their work were often objects of art in their own right”
s iTTing secureLy in a loved item of crockery, a stuffed pad provides a home for various pins and needles. A jug, mug, small teapot or even a tin are ideal holders, and making the pincushion is a pleasing project to while away an afternoon. The amount of filling required will depend on the size of the chosen container, but a round steel kitchen scourer keeps its shape well and can ensure needles remain sharp. A mixture of one part sand and two parts sawdust is a traditional filling, suitable for smaller pincushions. First, the filling is placed in the centre of a clean white handkerchief or scrap of material. The corners are pulled up together and a piece of string tied tightly above the stuffing. At this point, the pincushion can be placed in the opening of the container to test for size and filling added or removed until it fits. Once satisfied, a second, colourful piece of material is wrapped around the pouch and secured as before. If the cushion does not entirely fill its container, some scraps of fabric are stuffed in first. Enough is used to support the cushion and ensure it does not drop to the bottom of the pot when pressure is applied. Finally, it is inserted into the top of the holder, to stand slightly proud, and filled with pins and needles for later use.
Letter from Mrs Trench to Mrs Leadbeater, May 1811