Sunday, March 25, 2012

Babushka Pin Cushion

I have been singing Babooshka Babooshka ya ya,  all afternoon (Kate Bush  1980) as I put together this little tutorial.  (I think I made my first one, some time in the early 1980's and I still have one, but she is currently in hiding).  My preference is for a large pincushion - there is then some hope that it will be seen amongst the debris that is "My Sewing Room".

SO, lets begin.

These dolls are made from oddments of fabrics and can be as decorated or plain as you like....

From some sturdy cardboard or template plastic, cut a circle 3 1/2 inches in size.    Using a strong glue ( I used E6000 - now available in Australia in Spotlight if you need it) glue together 4 washers  (1 1/4 inch dia)and then glue to the cardboard.  Use washers, nuts (from bolts).  It really doesn't matter what you use or whether you stack or stick them straight to the cardboard, it is all about the weight. The pin cushion will then stay in the upright position!   
 Next cut a piece of wadding a little bigger than the cardboard circle.   Run a glue stick around the top edge and roughly stick the wadding to the cardboard.   This just gives a nicer look to the bottom.  
Your base circle will need to be cut at 14 1/2 inches.   Center the cardboard and washer base - again use a dab of glue stick to keep in position whilst you stuff.     Cut a piece of thread long enough to fold in half and thread through the needle eye and then knot so you now have 4 strands for gathering.   Using a running stitch, sew around the edge of the circle  - don't make the stitches too small.   I usually finish by putting the needle through the knot end of the thread so the stitches don't pull through as you gather.   Pull and start gathering up.    Using a generous amount of polyfil - start the stuffing process.   Use small bits to combat lumps.   The base needs to be firm enough to hold pins, but doesn't need to be rock solid.    Pull the thread tighter now and adjust the folds and pleats to make them even.   Add a bit more stuffing if needed.
Now run the needle and thread around again, to keep everything tight and do a few "criss cross" stitches.  Once you are happy with how the base looks, move on to circle number 2.
The upper body circle should be in another fabric, either co-ordinating or clashing - your choice - and should measure 10 inches across.   Repeat the stuffing process as for the base - this time there is no cardboard.
 To stitch these two balls together,  place the gathered edges together and using a ladder stitch,  tack together.    I did a larger ladder stitch for the first round and then went around again, making the join neat.
 Next we need to make the arms.   The hands are made by cutting two circles at 3 inches.  Gather and stuff as before.  The arms were made by making tubes - press the seam to the middle - the seam will then be on the back.  To make the tubes, cut a piece of fabric 3 1/2 inches and use a 1/4 inch seam.  The length is 6 inches, which can be cut back if requires.   At one end of each tube, turn a seam allowance of 1/2 an inch to the inside.   Poke the "hand" into the sleeve/arm.  Now do a small running stitch, catching the hand and finishing off the  sleeve.  Pull tight.   A small amount of stuffing can be added to the bottom of the arm to give it a little shape.

Position the sleeves, slightly to the front of the body.   Once you are happy with their placement, put in a few stitches to hold them in place.  Now for the head.  Using skin tone or white fabric this time,  you will need a circle cut to 8  inches.   Gather and stuff as before.   Filling should be firm enough to hold your pins.     The head is placed on the body, towards the front of the chest.     You will need to stitch the head so it looks like it is tipping forward  (I hope that makes sense).   When stitching the back of the head area, I stitched closer to the gathering stitches, and at the front, I stitched closer to the edge of the ball - it seemed to make the head tilt a little.

Now make a ruffle for her voluptuous waist.  Cut a strip of fabric  28 inches long by 6 1/2  inches wide.   Stitch into a tube.  Now fold both edges in toward the centre but have the raw edges overlap.    With needle and thread, stitch a row of running stitches to gather.  Place around the waist and gather tightly.

To make the head scarf, cut a square 14 inches x 14 inches.   Edge how you like - some ideas, do a row of small zigzag about 1/2 an inch in and pull the edge threads to make a fringe, attach lace to the edge or simply do a tiny hem.     Press in half to form a triangle.  I then folded a further 1 inch on the long edge.   Now tie and adjust until you are happy with the way the scarf sits.    It is now time to give the old girl a face - I drew mine, but you could also embroider if you choose.
The finished size of this pincushion is about 10 inches tall.      She consists of circles and tubes, feel free to make her up in any size you like. 

Have a great week and remember.....she signed her letter, "All yours, Babooshka, Babooshka ya ya, All yours, Babooshka, Babooshka ya ya.............
Bye for now.
Sue xxx