Chicken Pincushion Tutorial

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Jenny Doan shows us how to make an adorable chicken pincushion out of quilting fabric.

Find details here: http://land.missouriquiltco.com/chicken-pincushions

Video Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

Hi! I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  One of my favorite things when I go and teach a workshop is all the different pincushions.  There are so many amazing and fun ideas out there, and I love these chicken pincushions and so I have quite a few of them and I, I just love to make them.  They’re just fun. They all have their own little personality and they’re super easy.  So people ask me all the time how I do them.  So I thought I’d take a minute today and do a little chicken pincushion tutorial for you so you could see how to make these yourself.  

Now, believe it or not, these are based on two squares.  So, this one, this one is made with two squares of fabric that are the same.  This one is made with two different squares of fabric, and this one is made… and this one also with an orphan block.  You know how you’ll finish a quilt and you’ll have this one block left over? Well, these are just made from leftover log cabin blocks.  So the log cabin is a really easy and quick block to make, and I happen to have a couple of extras right here.  You can actually make these any size you want.  You just need two matching blocks.  

Now, if you’re doing an orphan block, what you want to do is lay them on top of each other and make sure that they’re the same size.  Just square them up so that they’re the same size and they just, you know, you just want them to go together perfectly, because basically what we’re talking about here is two squares.  So, you can use plain fabrics or a block.  I happen to have these two little log cabin blocks, so I thought I would show you with these.

So what we’re going to do is, we’re going to decide what the top part of our block is, and this chicken is going to need a beak and a headpiece.  Now, these little beaks right here, this is just a prairie point, which I’ll show you how to make, and this is just some folded fabric.  This one has felt on his little, his little red thing up here and he has a little felt beak.  And this guy even has two prairie points for his beaks and he has yarn in his fluff up on top of his head.  And so, you know, you can just use your imagination and have a lot of fun with these chickens.

So, to make this chicken, what you’re going to need is two squares that are the same size, and I have made little log cabin blocks, but they’re the same size, you’re going to need a one and a half inch square for your beak, a two and a half inch square for your tail, and then you’re just going to need a little piece of scrap to make your, your little top fluff piece up here.  I’m going to show you a whole new way how to do that.  And I’m actually going to do that right now.  I’m going to cut a little one and a half inch or one and a quarter inch strip and I’m just going to cut it, oh let’s see, about maybe two and a half inches long.  Hahaha, see? There’s so much here that’s just fun and creative.  And then I’m going to fold this in half right here.  So I’ve got it in half and I’ve ironed it.  So, so that’s going to be my little fluffy part on the top of the chicken head.  And then I need a tail.

So to make a prairie point out of this tail, what you’re going to do is take your square just like this.  You’re going to fold it in half like this diagonally and then you’re going to fold that over again, one more time.  So you have this triangle, but all the parts on the outside are now folded seams and this little seam, the only open seam, is going to go inside.  So, he’s not going to show.  Then you need to do the same thing with his beak.  

So, I have a one and a quarter inch piece here and I am going to, wait a minute, let me measure that, ooh it’s one and a half inch, so we’re going to have a one and a half inch square for our beak.  You just need a little square and it really can be any size.  So, again, I’m going to make this into a prairie point, which means I’m going to fold it diagonally this way and I’m going to iron that.  And then I, once I have it folded in half like that, I’m going to fold it in half again this way so that all of my open edges are right on the…

So since my little squares are only four and a half, you’re going to need a littler beak and so that’s why I’m using a one and a half inch square and we’re folding it both sides.  Because you want, you want a little tiny beak like this, you don’t want a great big beak, but I guess you could if you wanted to.  It’s, so much of it is left up to personal preference.

Now what I’m going to do when I put this on, is I’m going to put it about a quarter of an inch from the top and lay it so it points inward to the block, just like this, and I’m going to put a little pin in here to hold it.  Then, I’m going to put my top, this is my top over here and, actually, it looks a little long compared to this block.  You want to keep things in perspective for the size of your block.  If I was doing a bigger block, then I would want to put this, make this bigger.  But this is a pretty small, little chicken block.

So then I’m going to lay it on the other side so the raw ends go in.  My fold is at the edge.  On this little beak the raw edges go out.  So, then, I’m going to put my two blocks right sides together like this and I’m going to go ahead and pin those right through so they’re holding each other down ‘cause I don’t want them to shift when I sew.  So, there’s one side and I’m going to take my pin out of this beak and put it on the outside.  So, again, the beak goes down about a quarter of an inch and the, the little top piece also goes in about a quarter of an inch.  Lay your squares right sides together and we’re going to sew down this side and then down this side.

So, let’s go to the sewing machine and do that.  Make sure my stitch is in the middle.  Going to be really careful not to sew over my pin.  Make sure that my corners stay lined up.  I’m going to pivot, and I’m going to sew down this other side. Do a back stitch on a little bit on this corner.

Alright, so we have these two blocks right here and what we want to do is, we want to open them and look and make sure that all of our beaks and our top piece are going the right direction.

So, there’s our little beak right there and our top piece and to finish off this top piece, I’m actually going to take it and just clip it a whole bunch of times, like this.  Here we go. And this you can do after you’re done or before and I’m just going to kind of ruffle it up so it gets like a little curly top.  That’s different from my other tops.  It’s just a whole different way of doing it.

So here’s our little guy, and we realize that this part right here, we need to sew down too.  So we’re going to flip him back in and then this seam right here, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to sew about an inch and a half, leave about an inch and a half opening, and then sew this closed right there.

Alright, so let’s go do that.  So, I’m going to start and sew about an inch and a half.  I’m going to backstitch that because I don’t want it to come apart.  Then, I’m going to take this right here and about an inch and a half from the end, sew it down.

So, we have this one piece down here like this now.  This is the, this is the other side that we didn’t sew.  Here’s our opening, but we’re going to leave that alone for now.  And so this tail piece right here, we’re going to pull so that the seams meet, just like that.  And then we’re going to slide our tail in here, with the point going in, and we’re matching it up on that middle seam.  And we’re going to line that up along that edge, make sure it’s centered.  I’m going to put a little pin in there.  I know, I don’t usually use pins, but I, I want to make sure this stays in there really good.  And then we’re just going to sew straight across this one, right here, quarter of an inch.

So, here we go.  Pull out my pin.  

So now what we get to do is, now we get to turn our chicken right side out.  So this will, this will let us know if we did it all right.  So, basically, just to recap before I turn him:  you’re going to lay your beak in and your top piece in and you’re going to sew on this side and this side.  You’re going to come down on the bottom and you’re going to sew a little seam about an inch and a half, leave an opening, and sew the other inch and a half closed.  You’re then going to take the back part and pull it aside, like this.  So that… and then slide your tail ends and sew all the way across there and then we’re going to turn this from here.

Now I’m going to go ahead and clip these corners a little bit, ‘cause I want a little less bulk in there.  But not too much, ‘cause you don’t want them to come undone.  

Alright, let’s see if we got him right.  I sure hope so.  There’s the beak.  Ha alright hang on, we’re coming, wait for it.  Alright, there we go.  Going to take my scissor point, push out his little points, little corners.  Huh, look, there’s his little beak and his little top.  Here’s his little tail. Oh, we got him.

And then we need to talk about stuffing a little bit.  So, I just want to talk. I just want to tell you what, what’s in these guys.  So this guy has soybeans in him.  I have a guy over here with rice.  I have this one that has like, I think this has those lizard litter, it’s like crushed walnuts shells only they’re finer.  This one has lizard litter inside with fluff on the outside.  Really, you can put anything you want inside these.  The, the crushed wal-, the crushed walnut shells are supposed to be really good for keeping your needles sharp.  Soybeans are what I had when I made this guy, haha.  So we just, whatever you want to put in there.  You can also put some fluff in there.  But they make darling little chickens, don’t you think? And then if you want to put eyes in him, I just used my pins and put a, put a black pin in there for his eye, and it just works perfect and he has sight.

So, I hope you we’re able to do this and have some fun and use your imagination, use up some of those orphan blocks.  But, remember, it only takes two squares that are the same size.  We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the “Chicken Pincushion” from the Missouri Star Quilt Company

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  • Annie McIntyre

    Thought you guys needed a really good laugh today. I’d have posted yesterday, but couldn’t see threw the tears of laughter! So I watched the tutorial of the Chicken Pincushion over and over so I could make me one (all my stuff was burned in my house) and I though I had it, but just in case I was doing it WITH Jenny on YouTube. Well, this is a wonderful example of….printout the instructions Old Woman, it’s what you are used too!! So enjoy “My Chicken Pincushion”! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!

    Notice the “butt” is on wrong side And this puts the “tail” on the wrong side!!!! I was watching Jenny, and boy did I screw up! I now have the talk of my Condo Community!! A Chicken with a DICK!!! WOW! Can’t wait to make another one WITHOUT Jenny on TV to distract me!!!All of us are Widows or Divorced! LOLOLOL!
    I have been Divorced for 19 years! They are hooting and hollering about this here Chicken Pincushion! What a funny thing I did without even thinking about it!!!
    I hope you guys got as good a belly laugh as we all did!!!!!

  • Iaci Flanders

    I had a small ceramic chicken with metal feet that dropped and broke. After several years of keeping the feet, I decided to try making one of these chicken pincushion to use as the body needed for the feet. It turned out so cute! I used left over pineapple blocks I had from another project. Now it stands on my kitchen counter!

  • Tascha Burton Smith

    I am a chicken mama and was so excited to make these for the ladies at my quilt retreat this summer, but I bought way too much ground walnut shells. So, I decided that I should make them for the ladies at church. They were so cute and such fun to sew and wonder who would pick which. Thanks for this little gift of love!