New This Month

Why We Love Collecting Pincushions (and You Will Too)

You may ask, why is the tomato variety so common?

pincushions
Photography by: Chelsea Cavanaugh

Let's say 2018 is your year to sew more (or to finally learn how.) A pincushion will be your trusty sidekick, so why not pick one that'll make every stitch sweeter?

 

The 20th-century pincushions shown here are a combination of homemade gifts and mass-produced styles. The household helpers came in a variety of shapes, but fruits and vegetables were most common, and are also the most affordable — costing five to 10 dollars at antiques stores and flea markets. Chances are, your grandmother had the garden-variety tomato (attached to a strawberry filled with emery, for sharpening needles).

 

[LEARN: The Mysterious Origin Story of Tomato Pincushions]

You can, too, since these are the easiest vintage ones to find. But consider branching out as well: Oranges (top, with white strip) are extra-handy, since many hide a retractable tape measure in the stem, while geometric puzzle balls (upper left) take a cue from quilting patterns. Look for insects and flowers, like the ladybug (center), or keep your eyes peeled for a carrot — or a canoe! If you start a project with one at the ready, we bet you'll stick to it. So settle in, get cozy, and let one of these cute cushions help you tackle your to-do list.

 

Feeling inspired? Watch how to upcycle a mason jar into your sewing kit. (P.S. It comes with a pincushion lid):