Elizabeth’s Fabric Focus ~ Pincushion and Thread Catcher

on March 23 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 94 Comments

Each month Elizabeth from Oh, Fransson! shares a new project featuring one of our current fabric collections. Don’t miss her series of excellent, free tutorials on Oh, Fransson! and PDF patterns in Elizabeth’s Etsy shop. Today’s Pincushion Organizer Project is a free PDF download for you to enjoy.

From Elizabeth: This month we’re focusing on the Moondance collection by Jenean Morrison. Moondance combines subtle warm neutrals and soft pastels. These small to medium size prints feature all manner of interesting circle-centric patterns resembling everything from sand dollars to Spirograph drawings. I think they would look great paired with solid twill to make a Spring bag or skirt! I can also see them making a beautiful gender-neutral baby quilt.


My favorites are Galaxy Brown, Miranda Tan and Oberon Green and I’ve used all three to create a handy little pincushion organizer. My lightweight pincushion and small tools like my seam ripper and thread snips were constantly being swept off my worktable, so I designed this pincushion to keep them in one place.


The weighted pincushion holds a little pocket for my small tools and a removable scrap bag for gathering loose threads. The pincushion is an oblong rectangle so it can easily fit between your sewing machine and the edge of your worktable, or on a chair or sofa arm.


I also tend to lose my needles among the pins in my pincushion, so I added a little wool-felt strip to keep them in one place.


So far this new pincushion is working out wonderfully for me. Hopefully some of you will find it useful too. Don’t forget to share photos of anything you make with the Moondance collection or this free PDF tutorial in the SMS photo pool!


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94 Responses to Elizabeth’s Fabric Focus ~ Pincushion and Thread Catcher

  1. Liz P. says:

    I have made several of these for gifts and for myself. Thanks for such a great tutorial

  2. Mimi says:

    This is perfect! The tutorial is awesome! I am going to make myself one of these and if it turns out nicely and I had fun doing it, I’ll make definitely make one for my sister and possibly a few quilting friends. Thanks so much!!

  3. shannon says:

    Made one today for my sister’s birthday present. Came out great! Thanks for the great instructions! I added some dried lavender to the rice bag and it smells wonderful too.

  4. Cynthia says:

    I just completed mine this morning and did a post of it along with pictures on my blog. Thanks for the tutorial.


  5. Alexandra says:

    I can’t seem to find my mistake. When I go to put the Scrap bag facing on, it’s WAY too big and my scarp bucket seems so small around. I double checked everything! Are they supposed to be 9″ x 17″ for the scrap bag?

  6. Tasha says:

    Thank you so much for this tute!

  7. Such a great tool for both machine and hand sewing. I am going to make one straight away.

  8. I totally am loving this web page!!!! totally gonna have got to put this on my bookmarks.

  9. Tricia says:

    oh WOW, I love projects just like this! I could go crazy and have one in every room of my house. Thanks so very much for sharing such a fabulous tutorial – it’s going to be a classic.

  10. Donna says:

    I just love your tut and the detail is marvelous! Have been looking for this pattern for a while for a gift for my sister-in-law. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Darla says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. Very well done and love the idea and the way it is put together so the thread catcher can stand alone if desired.

  12. Jean says:

    Fantastic, I am always looking at different pincushinos to make. This one just fits all my needs, machine and quilting.

  13. Bonnie says:

    This is fantastic! Exactly what I need to put beside my sewing stations for my kids, AND my own of course! A great hand sewing station for quilting on the sofa as well. Thank you!

  14. Tricia says:

    I just now found out about “thread catcher and pincushion” combos, and was looking around for instructions when i found yours. This does indeed look like an improvement over the first designs I saw, in many ways. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  15. Melissa says:

    I have been searching for a pattern for one of these! Thanks! This will be so handy to have right by me while sewing!

  16. Trina says:

    Thank you SO much for this tutorial. It was so well done that if a quilter-but-non-sewer like me can make one, anybody can. Just need to do exactly what the instructions say and stop thinking. I filled mine with play sand instead of rice due to the possible problems with bugs, and it’s nice and heavy. Exactly what I needed to get my sewing space a bit more organized.

    Thanks again!
    Trina 🙂

  17. Betty says:

    Thanks for the pattern. I found it easy to follow. Just finished one for myself today.

  18. Laurie says:

    Im in the middle of making this and STUCK. Page 7…lay one of the pincushon bottom pcs on your work surface…..but which way??? wrong side up or RS up? Whats the pc of felt for??????

    I love all these patterns.

  19. Nick says:

    Gorgeous project-I’ve just made my second one and put it on my blog. Very easy to follow the instructions, thank you so much!

  20. Nesta Johnson says:

    Thank you! What a great idea, and adorable too. I found this after Googling “losing needles pincushion” – I had given up on keeping my needles in the pincushion since they kept getting swallowed up and then stabbing me, but the felt strip will solve that problem.

  21. Susan F says:

    Loved this project! It is the first one from my new machine…I have sewn for over 50 years, why didn’t they invent these sooner?

    The 9 pages of instructions seemed daunting until I actually read them and realized that they were very detailed and easy to follow.

  22. Lulu says:

    Thank you so much for this pattern. I was forever leaving threads and needles all over my house. I didn’t mind until my little one became mobile. This pincushion has been a life (and feet) saver. Thanks again.

  23. judy s says:

    This looks wonderful, but I cannot seem to download the pattern, I get a message that the file is damaged and could not be repaired! It may be my poor internet skills, so I’m curious as to if I’m alone or this has occured for others. Thanks

  24. Brenda C. says:

    This is a wonderful pattern. So useful.
    Instead of sand or rice, you can use CRUSHED WALNUTS (found at pet stores in the bird section). Birds use the crushed walnuts to sharpen their beaks, and it will also sharpen your needles. I got this tip from Quilt Granny’s Shoes—
    quiltgrannyshoes.blogspot.com (she stuffed her beautiful chicken pincushions with it).
    Brenda (in Texas)

  25. Eleanor says:

    I’m new to quilting and have wanted one of these pincushions, but the required sand weight was undesirable. Rice is the perfect substitute. Best of all, is the concise, easy to comprehend tutorial. Something near and dear to a novice’s heart. Thank you, Elizabeth!

  26. andrea says:

    I really need to make one of these!

  27. rolande57 says:

    Thank you very much for the “pdf”
    I’m french and don’t speek very good english
    Kisss & thanks a lot
    Rolande 57

  28. Spotty says:

    Gosh, what a wonderful design. I was wondering about adding an emery bord or similar to help keep my pins sharp? Would like your opinion and also (as I can’t think of the words – damn getting older) what would be better than emery – something like a kitchen scourer?

  29. nehmah says:

    Thank you for the .pdf. I have stopped “losing” ripers, needles, etc. since this option became more common on the net. The button is a grand idea. I would be losing everything not nailed down if I had to turn the entire unit up-side-down to empty out. Cordially, nehmah

  30. Leslie says:

    You can also add a magnet strip to collect hand and machine needles when you change them out on your sewing machine.

  31. brigitte68 says:

    it’s a very good idea! thanks for sharing this tut: I love it

  32. Mrs. B says:

    I absolutely love this I have been looking for a cute pattern for a scrap bag/ organizer and this is it! even better, it’s free!! Yay! I am SO very excited. I will be making this tonight!

  33. lisa says:

    Just lovely !!

  34. Wanetha says:

    This is great! Just a little improved from the standard pincushion/thread catcher that I currently use. Thanks for posting it!

  35. raajia says:

    This is a really good idea , thank you so much for this tut and for sharing.

  36. Very handy and a must for most if not all sewists.
    Thank you for sharing the tut, i desperately need to make one.

  37. M says:

    Love Love Love it. I have been wanting something like this and cannot wait to create it.

  38. Gwen says:

    I tried to download the PDF file for the pincushion organizer and received a notice that
    the file was damaged and I was unable to download the instructions. Could you please
    It is just the design that I have been looking for. Thank you.

  39. AmyP says:

    Wonderful – thank you so much! 🙂

  40. Rachel says:

    Very helpful, thanks for the quick answer!

  41. Elizabeth says:

    This project is pretty small already, so I’m not sure it would be a good idea to shrink it. If you’re having a hard time envisioning how to cut the pieces from your fat quarters, it may be helpful to cut the pieces out of paper (basically making pattern pieces) first and lay them out on your fabric before you cut.

    There’s only one piece for this pattern (the one for the Pocket) that’s too long to be cut from a standard fat quarter. You could either cut this piece from a different fabric or sew a couple of pieces together to make a big enough piece. (The bottom of the pocket — 3.75″ including seam allowance — is probably a good place to “hide” a seam like this.)

    I hope this helps!

  42. Rachel says:

    Ooooh, awesome. Thanks, Elizabeth. So, I love this and want to try to make it, but two of the fabrics I want to use are in fat quarters. Is there a way I can shrink the dimensions to fit fat quarters without messing everything up? (Sorry if this is a stupid question. I just started sewing recently and I can’t always wrap my head around the fabric math yet).

  43. I love our scrap bag! That’s a great addition!
    -Sarah from Create Studio

  44. Krista says:

    This is fabulous – a much improved design over my current pincushion/thread catcher bag combo. I’m heading off on retreat in 2 days and am going to my sewing room to make one asap. I will be the envy of all retreaters this weekend!! Thanks so much.

  45. Gina says:

    I love this fabric! It is exactly the feel I am looking to use in a special project!

  46. christine says:

    what a wonderful idea. i have a patter for a scrap keeper that i wanted to make but this thing does so much more. thanks!

  47. Jodieth says:

    This is a really good idea. I have a small car vac which gets filled too quick from the floor.
    I am not real good about making it to my trash can.

  48. Kim D. says:

    thank you so much for this tut! I’ve wanted to make one of these for ages and I love all the little things you’ve added to it. It is on my list of things to make THIS WEEK now!!!

  49. Mirza Marim says:

    Awesome idea!!!! Gotta make this one!

  50. Pam says:

    this looks great! I am going to give this a try.

  51. Maria says:

    oh my oh my hope to get going on the quilt along and now this…I don’t know what to do first. But one thing is for certain I have a MIL and SIL that are sewers and this would make a wonderful Mother’s Day present. Thank you so much Elizabeth. Just got to get outta this spring fever and start looking for fabrics, holiday is just around the corner.

  52. Joy says:

    A million thank yous!

  53. Sara says:

    That is so cool!!!!!

  54. Carrie says:

    I’ve been totally looking for something like this. I love it!!

  55. Nancy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. A friend of mine was looking for the pattern for one of these just last week.

    Quilty Hugs!

  56. Katie in Texas says:

    This is exactly what I needed! My rolling chair will appreciate all of the threads not being on the floor. I’m bad about missing the trashcan! This is so cute. I can’t wait to get started.

  57. hayley says:

    Clever! This would really help me with the lost-pin-in-the-couch/floor/bed situation. And, it will lessen the “I can’t find my #$%^ __insert small sewing notion here__” Thanks, Elizabeth! Between this and the quilt-along, I am convinced you don’t sleep.

  58. Maria says:

    This is great! I know I’ll have to make at least two.

  59. knitteresq says:

    What a cool project! Love it!

  60. Maggie says:

    I am really loving this! I can never seem to find my needles, or seam ripper when I need them. And the threads all over the floor drive my husband batty.

  61. Margie says:

    Such a wonderful idea. I could really use one of these! So pretty too.

  62. lynn whelan says:

    This is fantastic!

  63. Heidi says:

    So great! Thank you!!

  64. Bette M. says:

    I love this! What a great way to use up some scrappy fabric too. I’m going to make some of these up for our Project Linus volunteers. Thanks for sharing!

  65. min says:

    I love the thread catcher.

  66. that is very cool, I need to make one of those for sure!

  67. Lisa says:

    I love the slim design, and the felt needle keeper is genious. Thanks Elizabeth [I am also an avid reader of your blog] and SMS.

  68. Carrie P. says:

    Great little project and such lovely fabrics.

  69. Jon says:

    Very clever project!

    Oddly, I’m currently quilting along with Oh, Fransson!, and I’m using the MOONDANCE series of fabrics.

    The quilt-along is challenging, but Elizabeth’s tutorials are perfection. I’m learning so many techniques from Elizabeth and my fellow quilt-along-ers. The moondance fabric rocks! Each print is an independent work of art, and the term “moondance” is pretty cool.

    I’m having a great time quilting-along, and I dig the moondance

  70. Cheryl says:

    Beautiful fabrics! And a pretty ingenious organizer!

  71. Maple says:

    Really cute. Love the fabrics. I just posted about how my Great Grandmother used to stuff her pin cushions with hair.

  72. Shannon says:

    This is a great project! I was just having that problem last night. This is going to come in handy!

  73. Cecile says:

    This is a great pincushion ! Thank you.

  74. Great idea! I love it! it looks so cute in that earthy fabric, too! I love the blend of colors.

  75. I love this so much. I love “caddies” and “organizers”. The little scrap bag makes me miss my grandpa. He used to have little paper lunch bags, the edges turned down, that he’d carry around to pick up random garbage where ever he went. 🙂

  76. Lara says:

    I adore this Elizabeth. You are one clever woman!

  77. Chris Davis says:

    I have been eyeing these on etsy but I wanted to make one so I can pick the fabric. Thanks for the tutorial.

  78. Tara says:

    i love it!!!

  79. Coralee says:

    This is so great!

  80. April says:

    That is a neat project! I will definitely have to make it at a later date! That material though… OMG… I think I found the collection I am going to covet.

  81. Southern Gal says:

    I love this. So unusual.

  82. helena says:

    That is so great. Love those fabrics.

  83. Samantha says:

    Oh I need one of these! Thanks!

  84. Kris says:

    Oh, thanks so much! I already have some colors in mind….

  85. Thank you for this project! I am looking forward to making these items for gifts!

  86. Camdy says:

    This is fabulous – just what I need!!!! Thanks!

  87. jm says:


  88. JulieFrick says:

    Wow- Elizabeth. What can’t she do? She’s currently hosting a quiltalong and she comes out with this? Fantastic!

  89. Susan says:

    I love this pin cushion – I made one similiar with a small bag for scraps – I think I will redesign mine – I like how this one buttons on – how smart is that – thanks for the wonderful ideas and the inspirations – Susan

  90. Cassandra says:


  91. Kat says:

    I found my next project! Can’t wait to get started.

  92. Eily says:

    Girl – you are crazy busy! I’m making this first thing tomorrow morning…I’m forever leaving pieces and parts all over my living room. Thanks for the great tutorials.

  93. MaryAnn says:

    This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  94. Jane says:

    Brilliant! Thank you.

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