Couchside sewing caddy

I put a lot of pins and needles in our couch’s armrest, and it doesn’t seem fair to the poor thing. We do celebrate its birthday, after all, and it is just rude to be poking it all the time. So I made a little pincushion and sewing caddy to keep all my sewing and cross stitching supplies in one place, and out of the cushions.

A photograph of a sewing caddy with pockets and a pincushion hanging over the arm of a couch. There are pins stuck in the pincushion, and a pair of scissors and pens in the pockets.

a photo of a quilted sewing caddy with a pincushion and pockets. Inside the pockets are embroidery thread, small scissors, and pens.

I roughly followed this tutorial that I found on a blog called During Quiet Time, with some extra inspiration from Poppyprint’s rendition of this armrest pincushion.

The thing I like most about this is the big pocket for holding bags of embroidery floss while I cross stitch. No more will they be strewn all over the table next to the couch!

Pictures of the work in progress, and notes on what I changed from the original tutorial, are under the cut.

a photo of a large pile of many different colors and patterns of cotton fabrics

First, I had to decide on fabrics to use, which apparently required taking out all of my quilting cottons and laying them out on the ironing board. I have a lot of fabric, and I have a lot of fabric that looks terrible together. Finally I settled on these.

photograph of pieces of fabric laid out on a cutting mat

The multi-colored leaves and the mustard print are both fat quarters purchased from The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, OR. Unfortunately, I managed to get sections with no printed selvage, so I have no idea what they’re called or who makes them. A reverse image search was fruitless — Google’s best guess was that they’re a “pattern,” which is technically true and absolutely unhelpful. If you recognize them, let me know. The solid gray fabric is Kona cotton in Medium Gray.

I also use some batting and a piece of muslin from my stash. I cut my fabrics a bit differently than the During Quiet Time tutorial. My pockets are a bit shorter and I didn’t piece anything together. All together I cut:

  • 2 pieces of fabric for the pockets, 6.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches tall
  • 2 pieces of fabric for the main body of the caddy, 6.5 inches wide and 19.5 inches tall
    • 1 piece of batting slightly larger than 6.5″ by 19.5″ in all dimensions
  • 2 pieces of fabric for the pincushion, 7.5 inches by 10 inches. One piece will be visible on the outside, so it should be something you want to see. The other can be anything because it is completely hidden inside.
    • 1 piece of batting slightly larger than the pincushion pieces
  • strips of fabric for binding, I used 2.5 inch wide strips

The construction was mostly very simple and straightforward. I layered the batting and fabrics for the body and the pincushion, and drew a few guidelines for quilting.

photograph of gray fabric being quilted on a sewing machine

photograph of yellow fabric pinned to batting and white backing fabric in preparation for quilting

After quilting, I trimmed off the excess batting and fabric and sewed the short sides of the pincushion fabric together. I turned the top edge of the pockets down and topstitched them in place, then attached the pockets and one side of the pincushion to the gray fabric.

photo of multicolored leaf fabric pinned in place on top of gray quilted fabric

top-down view of the sewing caddy in progress, with pockets attached and pincushion partially attached

I stitched a few sections into one pocket to hold a pen or seam ripper. Next step was stuffing the pincushion — and I got to use many of the little thread tails and scraps that I’ve saved!

pile of tangled threads and scraps of fabric

photo of inside of pincushion, showing it stuffed with thread scraps

Just shove that embroidery floss way up inside your pincushion. I wanted to get steel wool to stuff the cushion, because it can help keep pins sharp, but when I went to the store all I could find was steel wool impregnated with soap. No thanks.


Then I sewed all the way around the edge to close up the pincushion and began attaching the binding (with binder clips of course). Then I realized I forgot how to bind stuff, had to tear it all off, and do it again — correctly this time. Apparently, I just need to print out a binding tutorial and tape it to my sewing machine anytime I’m thinking of doing a project with binding, because I always forget the right way to do it.

It was hard to get around the bulk of the pincushion, so if you’re making this, make the binding wider than you think it will need to be, and go slow around the pincushion part.

I stitched the binding to the back by hand, which took a million years because it is a million degrees here and my hands were too sweaty to grip the needle. But now it’s done and there are no more pins and needles sticking out of my couch!



Filed under 2017, Finished Projects, Sewing, Sewing/Quilts, Tutorials

2 responses to “Couchside sewing caddy

  1. Sarah

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with a lot of fabric that looks terrible together. It looks great!


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