Blackberry Heart: Pincushion Project


In my February 2018 Pop-Up Shop I’ve included a new product – the Blackberry Heart: Pincushion Project.  It’s essentially a scaled down version of the Blackberry Heart: Anatomical Embroidery Sampler that I’ve paired with a beautiful night sky blue velvet backing for you to create a pincushion or sachet.  This simple stitch, sew and stuff pincushion can be completed in under an hour (perhaps longer if you opt to embroider the image) and makes a beautifully macabre Valentine for you or a loved one.  Printed instruction are not included with your purchase, but I’m providing a full tutorial here!

When you purchase this item in the pop-up shop, you’re purchasing the custom printed linen cotton canvas fabric measuring approximately 6″ square along with the same size piece of velvet backing.

To complete the project, you’ll need to provide the following materials and tools:
sewing machine
dark blue or black sewing thread
pinking shears
sharp hand sewing needle
stuffing/filling (options discussed in step four below!)
chopstick, pencil or dowel

Optional materials and tools:
4″ embroidery hoop
embroidery floss
embroidery needle


If you’d like to embellish the image with embroidery, do so before beginning construction of your pincushion. The linen cotton canvas square fits best into a small 4″ embroidery hoop. Consider this a free-form sampler that allows you to select the placement of your favorite embroidery stitches. There’s no right or wrong way to approach this! However, do keep in mind that you’re working with a smaller image than my standard samplers – so, consider separating your embroidery floss and work with fewer strands – thus creating smaller, finer embroidery stitches.

The sample pincushion I created uses the following:

  • the arteries are outlined in 3 strands of blue floss using a back stitch
  • the centers of the blackberry blossoms are clustered with variegated yellow french knots using 2 and 3 strands of floss
  • the ventricles are outlined in 3 strands of red floss using a reverse chain stitch

New to embroidery? Take a look at these video tutorials I created with my friend Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching: Embroidery 101 and The Five Most Common Embroidery Stitches. (PRO TIP! Sublime Stitching offers an amazing array of materials to get you started – hoops, floss, needles and more!)



Position your fabric pieces face sides together and pin in place. You may find that the linen cotton canvas square is slightly smaller than the velvet backing. No problem! Simply make certain that it is centered on top of the velvet before you secure it with pins.



Using a sewing machine sew a 1/4″ seam around the edges of your pinned fabric, leaving a 2″ opening along one edge.



Trim the edges of the fabric with pinking shears, making certain not to cut any of sewn thread. This makes the seam allowance less bulky so that your edges will look neat when turned right side out. However! Do not trim the fabric along the edge of your unsewn opening. See the photo for reference.



Next, turn your pincushion right side out through the 2″ opening you left along one edge. Utilize a chopstick, pencil or dowel to assist in the process, running it along the interior seams. You’ll find this makeshift tool especially useful in turning out the corners.

Stuff your pincushion with the filling of your choice:

Once filled, turn the unsewn edges of the opening inward and pin in place.



Thread your hand sewing needle and sew the opening closed using a ladder stitch. Not familiar with the ladder stitch? Find a great tutorial here!

Once the opening is sewn shut, your pincushion is complete!