This felt cactus pincushion by Carolyn Letten is sure to be a great addition to your sewing space. Make sure it’s stuffed full of silver pins for an authentic look! Why not pair with fabric planters for a great way to add pattern, colour and texture with minimum spend? Make a single stand out one or group them on a shelf for a more cohesive look.
- Cotton prints, selection
- Green felt, three shades
- Felt scraps, pink, yellow, orange
- Small ceramic plant pot
- Medium weight fusible interfacing
- Toy stuffing
- Blu Tack
- Cactus pincushion: 10cm x 20cm (including pot)
- Square planter: 12cm square
- Fold over planter: 12cm x 16cm
Sew a cactus pincushion
1 Download and print the cactus templates. Use to cut six small leaves from felt; three bright green, three mid green. Pin one of each shade in pairs. Machine or hand stitch using a darker contrast thread all around the curved edge, leaving the straight side open.
2 With the bright green sides facing up, lay all three stitched leaves on top of each other and sew through them all, from the top of the curve to the middle of the straight edge, creating six segments. Stuff each firmly and hand stitch around the bottom. Pull tightly and fasten off.
3 Using a dark thread, knot a few stitches at random to suggest prickly spines. Stitch a small felt flower to the top with a bright pink centre secured with a yellow cross stitch. Set aside. Use the larger template to cut six leaves from darker green felt, pin them together as before in pairs and stitch in the same way around the curved edges, leaving the straight ones open.
4 Pin all three pairs together as before, then stitch, stuff and fasten off. Cut out tiny flowers from pink felt with yellow centres and stitch, as shown. Using two strands of white embroidery thread, sew several French knots.
5 Place a weight in the bottom of a plant pot, we used Blu Tack. Apply small amounts of adhesive to the felt and press down into the pot until dry. Decorate with a strip of fabric tied with string. Add wood chips around the base of the cactus.
Make a square planter
1 Cut four 14cm squares of fabric, in two different prints. Machine stitch them together alternately in a row using a 5mm seam allowance. Press the seams open. Cut lining fabric to the same size, then iron-on fusible interfacing to the reverse.
2 Pin the lining and main fabric right sides together. Leaving a gap of 7cm, stitch all the way around. Turn right side out. Press and close the seam. Topstitch a 3mm seam along the edge of each join.
3 Cut two 14cm squares for the base, one from interfaced lining and another from the main fabric. Pin right sides together and leaving a gap, sew with a 5mm seam allowance. Clip the excess and turn right side out. Press.
4 Take the single square and lay it lining side up. Take the first square of the patchwork panel and lay lining side down aligning the edges. Using a 3mm seam, stitch one side, stopping before you reach the end. Leaving the needle down, carefully manipulate the corner of the second side. Repeat until you have stitched around all four. To join up the ends of the panel, stitch with a 3mm seam.
Stitch a fold over planter
1 Use the template provided to cut two from main fabric, two from lining and two from interfacing. Iron the interfacing to the reverse of the lining. Place the two lining pieces right sides together and pin. Using a 1cm seam allowance, stitch across the bottom. Repeat this for the outer pieces. Press the seams open.
2 Stitch down the side seams. To sew up the corners that form the base, pull the two pieces of fabric at each corner apart so that the side seam matches up with the bottom one. Stitch across with a 1cm allowance. Repeat for the lining.
3 Place the lining inside the outer, right sides facing, making sure the top edges of both match and the side seams align. Pin around the top. Leaving a 7cm gap. Stitch with a 1cm seam. Turn right side out through the gap and push the lining inside. Close and press. Fold the top over. Topstitch to finish.