drawing up the cutting pattern
Ever since the Great British Sewing Bee’s Heather’s little pin cushion dog appeared on the last series, I have fancied one for myself.
Heather’s is very stylish and made in full 3-D so it really looks like a dog. His tape measure collar is particularly fabulous I think.
sewing the undercarriage to the body
I wanted something a bit retro that was a cross between Gromit from Wallace and Gromit fame and our dog Max and although it needed to stand firm, I wasn’t too fussed about it being too realistic.
I sketched out what shape (at full size) I thought I wanted and made a pattern for a body with a central back seam and a 3-d underside so that there were 4 legs.
the ears need to be sewn inside the right side and all the seams notched
Tip – The base centre seam is where it will be stuffed but I like to sew this up first and iron the seam open. The reason I do this is to make sure that I get a nice neat and sharp join to hand sew at the end (I sew up to the gap I need from both sides and then do the gap in a larger stitch and don’t finish off the ends. That means I can pick it out easily when I turn it the right way for stuffing).
getting a nice share finish
Getting a neat and even join where the base and top meet is tricky but if you are accurate with your sewing and don’t leave it short of where it needs to finish or over sew it, you should get the perfect join.
opening for the stuffing
When all the seams are joined and you have your ears attached, unpick your base middle seam between the finished points (see tip above) and turn it the right way (your sharp ironed join will make sewing up at the end much easier and neater).
Push out all the corners and points like the nose and tail with a nice fat knitting needle or similar and start stuffing these extremities.
seam join at the rear where the legs and the body meet
The stuff needs to be firm and so fill the pointy bits and the ends fully first before you start working your way back to the seam that needs sewing up.
I started with the tail, then the head, followed by each leg and finally the body. Be careful not to leave any loser cavities which might leave your legs floppy.
leg join at the underside of the chin
When you are happy with the stuffing and how tight it is, pin up the stuffing hole ready for sewing and stand your pin cushion up to check the fill and also to see that it stands straight. Now is the time to adjust the fill if you are not happy (it needs to be a very firm fill for the pins to slide into the body. Too lose and they dog will give way underneath).
Once it is stuffed it is ready to use or ready to decorate and finish as you see fit.
stuffed and ready to use or decorate
I wanted to see eyes and nose and a collar.
eyes nose and collar
We have a JRT and he has a few spots on his back which made me think what a good idea to have one place to pop all your pins (Heather uses her dog’s head as well as his torso in Great British Sewing Bee).
pins on the spot
Our JRT wears a red collar that would have looked very smart but I love the turquoise in my logo so a turquoise collar it had to be (when my tape measure becomes too tatty to use, I think he will get that too).
finished pin cushion pooch