Herringbone Pincushion Tutorial


Hello Stitchers! I have a scrappy secret, but I think it's one that a lot of us share—a lot of times when I need a little snippet of fabric, when I *should* reach for my scrap basket—I pull a brand new piece of fabric off the shelf instead. Shhhh—I won't tell!

However, I am trying to break that habit, and hope that I might help inspire you to do the same! I challenged myself to make something using ONLY scraps from previous projects, and I came up with these super scrappy pinnies! I've written up a tutorial so you can make some, too! Let's get stitching!

Herringbone Pincushion Tutorial

(2) Muslin, cotton voile, or solid quilting cotton rectangles for foundation piecing 2-1/2" x 7-1/2"
(1) Backing fabric (linen or quilting cotton) 4-1/2" x 7-1/2"
Lots of quilting cotton scraps 1/2" to 3/4" wide x 4-1/2" long
(4) Quilting cotton scraps 1-1/2" to 2" wide x 4" long for ends
(2) 100% Cotton quilt batting 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"
Machine piecing and quilting thread or other 100% cotton thread
Crushed walnut shells (affiliate link) or other weighted pincushion fill
Hand quilting thread to finish the pincushion

Sewing machine, cutting mat, rotary cutter, quilting ruler, erasable fabric pen, iron and ironing board, chopstick or other tool for turning corners, hand sewing needle, small funnel, spoon

Right side: the side of the fabric with the design printed on it
RST: Right sides together


1. Place the foundation piecing rectangles side by side as shown. Using a quilting ruler and pencil or erasable fabric pen, draw a 30 degree line on the left-hand piece, and a 30 degree line going the opposite direction on the right-hand piece, somewhere around the middle. The lines do not need to line up since we’re keeping this scrappy!

2. Place a quilting cotton strip along one of the lines, right side up. Place another quilting cotton strip RST on top of the first strip, matching the long sides along the line. The ends should overhang the sides of the foundation rectangle. Sew the strips together with a 1/8” seam allowance. Press the top strip open. If your machine doesn’t like sewing such a narrow seam allowance, then use one that is slightly wider—we don’t want those pieces pulling apart!

3. Continue adding strips in this way until you have covered the end of the foundation material, then sew strips to the other side of your first strip to finish it. Use wide strips for the last corners of the patchwork, mine are about 2”—remember that you will lose a bit of fabric in the seam allowances so it’s okay if they’re a bit wider than the other strips.

 Retro Mama :: Herringbone Pincushion Tutorial

 Retro Mama :: Herringbone Pincushion Tutorial

 Retro Mama :: Herringbone Pincushion Tutorial

A few tips:

* It helps to do a few stitches beyond the sides of the foundation material, you’ll get a cleaner fold when you press the strips open. Backstitch right on the edges of the foundation rectangle.

* I did not repeat very many fabrics because I didn’t want to accidentally have the same fabrics next to each other!

* I mixed up the widths between 1/2" and 3/4” for an extra scrappy look.

4. Turn over the patchwork panels and trim to the original 2-1/2” x 7-1/2” size.

5. Place the two patchwork panels RST and sew them together along one long edge with a 1/4" seam allowance, backstitching on both ends of the seam. Open up the panel and press the seam allowance open.

6. Place the patchwork panel on a piece of batting and press*. Secure with a couple of pins if necessary. With your quilting ruler and erasable fabric pen, draw quilt lines following the herringbone pattern, spaced 1/2” apart or as desired. Quilt the panel. I used a walking foot and a stitch length of 3.0, with cream colored thread.

7. Place your linen or print backing fabric on a piece of batting and secure with pins if necessary*. Quilt as desired. Trim and square the quilted pieces, making sure they are the same size.

* I do not use backing fabric underneath the quilt batting—omitting it helps reduce the bulkiness of the seam allowances.

8. Place the top and bottom pincushion pieces RST, secure with pins, and sew around the outer edge with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 2” space on one long side for turning and stuffing.

9. Trim the corners and turn right side out. Press with an iron, making sure the unsewn edges are turned under neatly.

10. Fill the pincushion with crushed walnut shells or other weighted fill. I used a homemade cardstock funnel and a spoon. Leave just a little bit of space for the fill to move around. Sew the hole closed with little ladder stitches (you can see a photo of this in Step 3 of the Finish section of my house ornament tutorial).

If you make these pincushions, be sure to tag me @retro_mama and use the hashtags #herringbonepincushion #retromamapattern and #stitchupyourscraps on Instagram!

And a little scrap storage tip: I have tried a few different ways of storing my scraps but my current favorite method is to keep scraps of all the same color, regardless of size, in a zip closure plastic bag. It makes finding the perfect prints for these monochromatic projects so easy! I keep all of the bags on a little cart that I bought at the craft store. What's your favorite way to store scraps?

Happy Stitching!

Winter Tales Blog Tour


Hello, Stitchers! Today is an exciting day because I get to share a beautiful new wintery fabric collection that was designed by my talented and sweet friend, Minki Kim! I hope you are following Minki on Instagramher feed is full of amazing designs, gorgeous bouquets, and loads of sunny optimism!

 Retro Mama | Winter Tales by Minki Kim
Winter Tales features Minki's signature colors and cute illustrations: delightful foxes, penguins, and bunnies frolic together in the snow and they almost make me miss snowy weatheralmost!

For my first project, I made a pouch using the zipper installation from my Bound-All-Around Pouch. I altered the shape of the bag to make it HST friendly.

 Retro Mama | Bound-All-Around pouch HST with Winter Tales fabrics by Minki Kim

 Retro Mama | Pouch detail, Winter Tales fabrics by Minki Kim
The cream tree print is such a gorgeous low volume backdrop for this HST project pouch. I love the sweet, uplifting sentiments in the design! The deep blue snowflake triangles are such a happy pop of color.

 Retro Mama | HST pouch with Winter Tales fabrics by Minki Kim

 Retro Mama | pouch back
:: Bound-All-Around Pouch pattern from my shop ::

Of course I had to make a few pear and apple ornaments with this cheery stack of prints! (A little reminder that all my patterns are 20% off in my Etsy shop until August 1!)

 Retro Mama | pear ornament with Winter Tales fabrics by Minki Kim

 Retro Mama | apple ornament with Winter Tales fabrics by Minki Kim

 Retro Mama | apple and pear ornaments with Winter Tales fabrics by Minki Kim
:: pear and apple bundle from my shop ::

And to wrap up this post (hah!), I made some sweet drawstring gift bags. I used the Weebrawbag pattern by Laura ZuckerkussI've seen these bags all over Instagram and could no longer resist! The pattern is easy to follow and I was able to stitch up both bags in an afternoon. These are the small size and I made the pockets a little shorter than the pattern directions suggest to show more of the pretty floral vines prints.

 Retro Mama | weebrawbag pattern by Laura Zuckerkuss with Winter Tales fabrics

 Retro Mama | weebrawbag pattern by Laura Zuckerkuss with Winter Tales fabrics

 Retro Mama | weebrawbag pattern by Laura Zuckerkuss with Winter Tales fabrics

 Retro Mama | weebrawbag pattern by Laura Zuckerkuss with Winter Tales fabrics
:: weebrawbag pattern by zuckerkuss on Craftsy ::

Good news for those of you who do their holiday sewing earlyMinki’s Winter Tales collection for Riley Blake is available now!

Many thanks to Minki for inviting me to join her blog tour and to Riley Blake for sending me these gorgeous prints! To see more Winter Tales projects, visit Christopher at The Tattooed Quilter and Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane, and check out #wintertalesfabric on Instagram.

Happy Stitching!

Bound All Around Pouch Pattern and SALE!


Hello fellow scrap hoarders! I'm popping in to let you know that my brand new zipper pouch pattern is now in the shop! And because I know you're already planning your holiday sewing, all patterns are 20% off until August 1! No need for a code, prices are already marked down. The sale is over, thanks so much!

 retro mama | Bound All Around Pouch

I know you can't bear to waste those little treasured bits of your favorite fabrics, so let's make some super scrappy zipper pouches with them! These quilted bags are perfect for gifts or swaps, carrying projects, or organizing your purse or suitcase. The pattern includes instructions to make 3 sizes and features a linen back, binding around the top, and a machine sewn zipper.

 Bound All Around zipper pouch by Retro Mama

 Bound All Around Pouch by Retro Mama

 scrappy zipper pouch by Retro Mama

 scrappy zipper pouch by Retro Mama

 retro mama zipper pouch pattern

The Bound All Around Pouch pattern is recommended for intermediate stitchers. While the zipper is sewn by machine, the binding on the top and inside is finished by hand. Experience with zippers and quilting is helpful but not necessary.

The finished sizes are:

Large pouch 8" W x 6" H (20 x 15 cm)
Medium pouch 7" W x 5" H (18 x 13 cm)
Small pouch 6" W x 4" H (15 x 10 cm)

Share your finished pouches on Instagram with the hashtags #boundallaroundpouch and #retromamapattern – I love to check in so we can chat about your projects!

Happy Stitching!

Notions Pouch Sew Along Grand Prize Winner!


The Notions Pouch Sew Along has come to a close and I had such a fabulous time, which abruptly came to an end when I realized I had to choose a grand prize winner from all the amazing entries! How would I ever decide? Seriously, how to choose:

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Roundup
1. Mary @misspuppycostura 2. Jennifer @crimsonconfection 3. Mareike @mareike76 4. Maryvonne @sonnevonne 5. Saru @sewaftersix 6. Lindsay @linzentart 7. Michelle @coleandtaffy 8. Gracey @burlapandblossompatterns 9. Katharina @raab.art 10. Donna @djnelson1973 11. Lesley @berry_birdy 12. Dawneika @dawneika 13. @maddie_sews 14. Lauri @laurispringer 15. Mike @zmama03 16. Sam @samanthamackie31

But first, here are the winners from Week 3, hosted by Kim @robotmomsews and Mary @sunnydaysupply (Sunny Day Supply shop)

Week 3 winners (Photos by Kelly and Julie)

First is Kelly @pinkadotquilts with her gorgeous sugar sack notions pouch. The binding is wonderful, and the words just fit on the front, perfect!

 retro mama | Notions Pouch Sew Along Week 3 winner Kelly @pinkadotquilts
And second is Julie @julesopotamus and her adorable Little Red Riding Hood pouch with that cute flower button and cherry zipper pull!

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Week 3 winner Julie @julesopotamus
Congratulations to all of the weekly winners, and thank you to everyone who entered their pouches in the #notionspouchSAL! I loved every single pouch--truly there were so many outstanding pouches that it caused me actual distress to have to choose--and I'm so grateful for your support and for inviting me and my pattern into your sewing rooms over the last several weeks! I’m going to miss the sew along, but I'm excited to see what all of you will be stitching up next!

Grand Prize Winner!

The pouch that I’ve chosen as the winner is one that I couldn’t get it out of my head--the vintage camper pouch by Cindy @freida_fritz. My retro-loving heart is in love with this amazing pouch--and bonus sweet floral pouch! I think Cindy got a lot of our imaginations going with her creativity! Photos are from Cindy's Instagram.

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Grand Prize winner Cindy @freida_fritz

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Grand Prize winner Cindy @freida_fritz
Her prize package includes the following:

*2 rolie polies from Riley Blake Designs (Mae Flowers by Lindsay Wilkes and Berkshire Garden by Lila Tueller)
*Small Mae Flowers bundle
*A huge stash of zippers from Zipit Zippers (not all pictured)
*An adorable wood button collection from Zipit Zippers
*Vintage style scissors from Warm Crochet
*A $50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop

 retro mama | Notions Pouch Sew Along grand prize

And because I just couldn't resist, I've chosen two runners-up who will also receive prizes (prizes TBD)!

#1: With four incredible entries, Saadia @yasahandmade won me over with her beautifully detailed pouches, each showcasing her incredible sewing skills.

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Saadia @yasahandmade
#2: Melanie's @soupandsunshine notions pouch features the coziest little hobbit hole! I love the layered appliqué and quilting and basically I want to live there!

 photo NotionsPouchSALRunnerUpSoupAndSunshine.jpg
Photos by Saadia and Melanie.

Prizes will be mailed as soon as I can, considering that my kiddos are home for Spring Break this week!

Congratulations to Cindy, Saadia, and Melanie!

Happy Stitching,

Notions Pouch Sew Along Week 3


Wow, this sew along is flying by! We are already in the middle of Week 3 and you guys, I cannot stop making pouches! I've heard a lot of great feedback about how easy the zipper installation has gone for you, and I'm thrilled that so many of you are enjoying all of the hand stitching on these bags! I've caught up on some favorite shows and new shows (did I just age myself?) while hand sewing the zippers and bindings. What have you been streaming or listening to while you sew?

I've got a new pouch to show you this week, as well as the SAL winners for Week 1 and 2!

 retro mama | pinwheel quilted notions pouch
I revisited a fun technique for this pouch, using the Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel Ruler from Primitive Gatherings (you can find the pattern at Fat Quarter Shop, Etsy, and check your LQS too, that is where I found mine!). I made a mini quilt with this a while back and the scale is perfect for the medium sized pouch. The panel I made for this bag was 7 squares wide by 11 squares tall and I alternated blue and cream (or low volume blue) prints.

 retro mama

 retro mama | patchwork pinwheels

You can see the leftover remnants on my previous blog post—and spoiler alert: it's a fair amount of waste, so I do not recommend these pinwheels for your expensive or rare fabrics! I did have to hand stitch a seam back together a time or two as folding the bag stressed the seams a bit. I suggest using a short stitch length and handling the panel as little as possible. If you are braver than me a bit of FMQ would help as well.

I just had to add a little stamp from a piece of Kokka fabric I recently bought, even though it covered up a precious pinwheel or two.

 retro mama | pinwheel quilted notions pouch

 retro mama | pinwheel quilted notions pouch

 retro mama | pinwheel quilted notions pouch

We kicked off the SAL with so many incredible pouches! Heidi @fabricmutt (Heidi's blog) and Minki @zeriano (Minki's shop) chose the winners and generously awarded the prizes for Week 1

Week 1 Winners (photo credits to Deidra and Susan)

Deidra @quiltyobsession

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Winner Deidra @quiltyobsession
What a cute pouch—isn't that Dresden plate to die for? So much fussy-cutting goodness! Deidra recently hosted the #tinydresdenparty sew along so check out that hashtag for a ton of gorgeous (and bitty) Dresden projects.

Susan @3redtulips

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Winner Week 1 Susan @3redtulips
The colors are so pretty, and I love the phrase on the front of the bag! You really can't go wrong with Bonnie and Camille fabrics, and Susan used rick rack to great effect on her sweet pouch.


Our hosts Cat @tincatsew and Stephanie @sissybellesews (Stephanie's Etsy shop) chose the winners and awarded prizes for Week 2, thanks so much, ladies!

Week 2 Winners (photo credits to Polina and Sue)

Polina @polina.lisitsyna

 retro mama | Notions Pouch Winner Week 2 Polina @polina.lisitsyna

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Winner Week 2 Polina @polina.lisitsyna
Polina used such beautiful prints and multicolored Kantha stitching on her red pouch. Check out #libertysocietykanthastitchalong for more projects with gorgeous Liberty fabrics and hand quilting. Polina's teal pouch from Week 1 was outstanding as well!

Sue @suefromtexas

 retro mama | Notions Pouch SAL Winner Week 2 Sue @suefromtexas
This floral print is so lovely, and how perfect is the binding print on this pouch?! I love the three dimensional flower embellishment, too. Sue did a beautiful job stitching up her bag!

Congratulations to all of our winners so far! If you'd like to join us, you can find the pattern here. Follow this week's hosts, Mary @sunnydaysupply and Kim @robotmomsews and post your pouch photos with the hashtags #notionspouchSAL and #retromamapattern to enter. And remember, there is still another week left for your chance to win the Grand Prize!

Happy Stitching,