Antique Bonnet Pin Cushion

New Cushion

This picture is my rendition of the antique pin cushion shown below. 

Old Cushion

I often buy things that other people wouldn't touch because of their condition.  This one is drab and dirty but I thought the design was well worth saving.  I prefer a softer look so I left off the trim around the brim and flattened out the crown a little.  I hope you enjoy making one for yourself. 

Hat BrimPhoto As

  • Cut a 6 1/2" dia. circle of cardboard and a piece of Wonder Under.
  • Iron Wonder Under to one side of cardboard circle and remove paper.
  • Cut a 13" dia. circle of fabric (I used silk shantung.)
  • With Wonder Under side of cardboard up, center fabric and iron it to the cardboard.
  • Turn over and hand pleat the fabric to the other side, pinning as you go.  It should look like this photo.  Baste fabric to hold near the center of the circle.

Hat Crown

  • Cut a 3 1/2" dia. circle of cardboard and put a 1 1/2" dia. hole within it (this will be where the stuffing for your pin cushion goes in.)
  • Cut a 7" dia. circle of fabric that matches your brim and a 7" dia. circle of fabric to use as a liner (I used muslin.)
  • Place the two fabric circles together and run a gathering stitch 1/4" in all the way around the edge.  I did this by hand, but machine stitching will do fine.
  • Start gathering this edge up and as it forms a pocket, place the cardboard with the hole inside.
  • Continue to gather until the 1/4" edge of the fabric will go around the edgePhoto Bs of the cardboard circle.  Glue this edge down to the cardboard and set aside to dry.  Stuff firmly through the 1 1/2" hole.  (Use wool roving when you start filling as it is better for the life of your pins and needles and fill in the bottom with Polyfil to save on expense.)  Put a small hole in another 3 1/2" dia. cardboard circle and glue this to the bottom and allow to dry thoroughly.  It should look like this photo when finished.

Tufting:  Thread a button through one hole and leave a long tail.  Using a doll making needle, go up through the hole in the cardboard and through the center of the stuffed crown.  Use a very strong thread for this (I used dental floss.)  Rethread into a needle that will go through your button and rethread to the doll making needle again to go back down through the other hole in the button you started with.  Do this one or two more times for strength.  At the bottom, tie the tail you left earlier with the end of your thread, pull tightly and tie a firm knot.

Assembly:  Center and Photo Csglue the crown to the pleated side of your brim and allow to dry.  You can now slip stitch the crown to the brim around the edge.  This photo shows how it will look before embellishment.

Finally, decorate your hat pin cushion as desired.  Add lace, ribbon, flowers to make it truly your own.  Because the bottom is flat, you can add a pretty cording or a ring to the back for hanging.  Hang it in a special place and you'll always know where your pin cushion is.

New CU


  1. My hat's off to you Maureen! Yankee ingenuity is flowing up there in CT! Your hat pincushion is the pleated base and the simpler approach...I can see how it could be embellished in so many different ways. Did Gracie like it? *smile

  2. I have not seen one of these in years. When I was in high school we made pin cushions just like these for our mothers for Mothers day. That was back in the 70's. We used small butter bowl lids for the base, as there were no cds back then. Seeing this brought back memories for me. My mom still has the one I made somewhere in her things.

  3. Hi Maureen,
    I just found your blog and wanted to say - your work is amazing!!! The pin cushion is so gorgeous... Thank you for the tutorial!


  4. Aha! I have a bonnet pincushion like this I've had since childhood (I'm now 63). The only difference is that the base is made of two circles that tie together with flannel sandwiched between to store store your needles -- an easy addition.

    Nice work, Maureen.

  5. WOW WOW WOW these are so Victorian like, just beautiful work my dear.

  6. I love the technique for pleating the brim! That could be very useful on a smaller scale....
    What a lovely project, and a great tutorial. Kudos, and Thanks!

  7. This is so lovely thank you for sharing how you made it!

  8. Maureeen,
    I loved your little hat. Thanks so much for the tutorial.
    Much love....

  9. A beautiful pincushion. My sister has a no= frills orange one, which has not been inspiring to copy but your one certainly is.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Maureen,

    I love your hat, it's the cutest I have seen. Thank you for the tutorial. Would you be willing to tell us where to purchase the flowers you used. I love them and would love touse them on some of my projects.

    Julie Cistone

  11. Just love all the things on this site SO BEAUTIFUL ..CAN WE PRINT THE TUTS OF WOULD LOVE TO DO HAT FOR MY DAUGTHERS ...Regards Jean

  12. Absolutamente magnifíco!!!!

  13. Amazing!
    Thank You for sharing.

  14. Really a beautiful hat! I like it very much.

  15. Very sweet pin cushion hat. I have one I purchased, a newer one, and have wanted to make another. Thank you for your post. Mine feels like it has a plastic lid for the base and maybe a tuna can for the top but I don't want to take it apart to find out.