Just Stick It

English: A pincushion (sewing), with pins. The...

Have you ever wondered why the tomato pin cushion is such a traditional form for a pin cushion? My mother had one, so did my grand mother and as far as I know, anyone who owns a needle has one. Why? I get why we need pin cushions, but why a tomato?. Well, I Googled it the other day to find out. Little did I know such a simple curiosity would lead me to a new obsession.

First let me explain how I even came to be curious about this tomato pin cushion in the first place: For Mother’s Day I received a sewing machine. I’d been expressing my interest in getting a simple, inexpensive sewing machine for basic sewing tasks. And as is pretty typical in our house – ask and you shall receive. (Yes, my hubby spoils me.)

The last time I used a sewing machine was waaaayyyyy back in tenth grade home ec. Later, I would discover the very handy and versatile glue gun and would never give much thought to owning a sewing machine.  But now that I’m a grown up I’d like to learn how sew with an actual machine.

Of course, this is just one more interest to add to my list of interests. And of course, I can never start a new hobby without first reading about it, researching it, organizing for it or other wise over thinking it.  So after opening my gift, I had to take inventory of my existing sewing supplies.

My sewing supplies consisted of a plastic shoe box full of tangled dollar store threads, and a handful of loose buttons, needles and what nots. I would have to organize this mess before I could start a sewing project. I thought I’d start with making a simple pin cushion for all the loose pins which eventually led me to Google the historical significance of tomato shaped pin cushions. One thought led to another and I was eventually led to this: Aren’t they absolutely adorable? I found them at craftstylish and I want them. I want a room full of them. After discovering these, I spent days searching for and looking at pin cushions on-line. I even created a board on Pinterest dedicated to pin cushions. What’s wrong with me?

I also came across these mason jar pin cushions at crafter.org. They aren’t nearly as fun and delicious as the cupcakes above, but I would be able to fill them with lots of colorful little baubles and buttons and have a place to stick all my loose pins too. 

Since I have a habit of saving containers I had a jar on hand, but it wasnt a mason jar. No worries, I was sure with my handy glue gun I could easily construct something similar. So in an effort to organize my sewing kit I thought this would be a great project to start with.

The jar I used was a Classico pasta sauce jar. Here is the quick step by step on how I did this (if you care)

1. Trace an 8 inch diameter circle onto the wrong side of fabric.

2. Cut circle out and sew a loose running stitch around the edge of circle. (when you are done sewing around the circle don’t cut the hanging needle and thread.)

3. Pull the needle and thread gently and the fabric will begin to gather:

4. You should end up with a little pouch. Stuff the pouch with fiber fill; an old wash cloth could work to. When the pouch is full, pull the hanging thread tighter and sew a few stitches across the pouch opening to close it up.

5. Glue the pouch (opening down) onto the lid of the jar.

6. To trim the edge of the lid I used piping. The “hem” of the piping was then covered with a bit of ribbon I found in my stash of loose ribbon (which also needs to be organized). It just so happened the piping and ribbon were the perfect width to cover the edge of the lid. How often does that EVER happen? – NOT often.

After about an hour of work I had this:

Not bad. I’m not crazy about it, I think I’d like it better if the jar was a smaller,  and a whole collection of them in various sizes would be just absolutely perfect. So now that I have a place to store my pins and other loose sewing objects and now that my pins are all organized (yes, there really is something wrong with me) I can focus on creating those precious little cupcake pin cushions! I just cant wait to get started on THOSE. But first, I should probably get my felt organized.

Oh by the way, the tomato was a good luck gift given to a new home owner who would place it on the fire-place mantle to ward off bad luck. Sometimes a ball of saw dust wrapped in red fabric would be used instead. It wasn’t long before the lady of the house discovered this was a handy place to stick pins as well. And no, I’m not being stereotypical or sexist here. It was the Victorian Era after all and though there were male tailors, it is a known fact that women were left to do the house hold sewing, so most likely it would have been the lady of the house who was the first to stick it to the tomato. K?


  1. How on earth do you come up with such ideas???!!! Absolutely love it!!!! I’m still stuck with the ottoman idea & bow to copy you… one day… I guess… if I ever attain such creativity!!!


    • wow – you are so fast. I just published this. Thank you so much for your nice comments. I’d be happy to help you. Even from here. Do you have a glue gun or can you sew? I really can’t sew at all, but a glue gun is so easy to use.
      Is the ottoman square or circular? It would be pretty easy if you found some nice fabric you love to cover a square ottoman. Let me know what you have in mind and I’d be happy to offer some advice.


    • Hi thank you for having a look at my blog. I had discovered the purpose of the strawberry when I was looking up the tomato. good Idea. I had always wondered what that was about.
      BTW thanks for the pingback on your post. Nice to be recognized that way.
      Looking forward to more of your posts as well. I’m just learning to sew and I’m feeling a little over whelmed by all I don’t know.


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