Monday, June 25, 2012


 "These pincushions are extremely useful when it is necessary to pin down your work to keep it steady; for instance, in quilling ruffles, covering cord, sewing long seams, hemming or tucking. Being so heavy that they can only be lifted with both hands, they sit firmly on the table, and cannot be overset by accident. Screw pincushions, it is true, answer the same purpose; but it is difficult to fasten them to a circular table, or any table that has not a very projecting edge; and the screws frequently wear so smooth as to become useless. A brick pincushion, when once made, will last to an indefinite period (occasionally renewing the cover), and can be used on any table, in a window ledge, or even on a chair or stool. In a chamber, they can be employed on the toilet like any other pincushion.

Get a clean new brick of a perfect shape, and cut out a piece of coarse linen or strong domestic cotton, of sufficient size to cover it; allowing enough to turn in. Lay the brick in the middle of the linen, which must then be folded in at the corners and sewed tightly with coarse thread all over the brick; making the covering as smooth and even as possible. Then cut out a bag of coarse linen, and fit it to the top of the brick, allowing it, however, about two inches larger each way; or more, if you intend it to rise very high in the middle. Stuff the bag with bran, till you get it as firm and hard as possible. It will require at least two quarts of bran, perhaps more. While doing this, you had better have the whole apparatus on a large waiter to catch what falls. Put in the bran with a spoon, and press it down hard with your fingers. When the bag is completely stuffed, and cannot possibly hold any more, sew up the open end. Fit the bag evenly all round to the top of the brick, and sew it fast to the linen cover; taking care to have it of a good shape, sloping down gradually on all sides from the middle.

Sew a piece of thick baize cloth to the linen on the bottom of the brick, and then put on the last cover of the whole pincushion. This outside cover may be of velvet, silk, or cloth. Fold it under at the corners very neatly, and sew it all round to meet the baize at the bottom. Then cover the seam with a binding of narrow ribbon or galloon. If you choose, you can make the cover for the top (or stuffed part of the pincushion) of a separate piece of silk, always taking care to cover the seam with a binding.

A small pincushion may be made in the same manner, only using for the foundation a little flat block of wood, instead of a brick."

From  The American Girl's Book 1831

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The first step is to find a nice brick and cover it with fabric. I used common utility muslin and wrapped it like a gift. Then stitched it firmly closed.

Then make a pillow and stitch it firmly down. The above directions say to fill it with bran but I used cotton.

The next step is to attach a piece of "thick baize cloth", which is the felt material used on modern pool tables, to the bottom. I don't have any on had so I skipped this step.

 I then used wool to cover the sides and silk to cover the top. I figured that a two piece cover would be easier to attach and the silk can more easily be replaced.

The final step is to cover the raw edges with silk ribbon and we have ourselves a pretty little sewing brick. :)

I left in some pins around the blue silk, thinking that it made a cute decoration.

I would love to see your finished sewing brick. Comment with a link!