How to finish a pincushion or small needlepoint pillow

You've finished your needlepoint and want to tackle turning it into a pincushion or pillow on your own.   Hurrah!  We've set forth the tools and techniques needed to tackle the job - with or without a sewing machine.
Animal Fayre Little Panda
Animal Fayre Little Panda

So to start, you will need:

1) finished needlepoint-- yes you won't be able to finish it after you've turned it into a pillow, so check it over for any blank spaces.
2) backing fabric - if you've purchased a pincushion from Animal Fayre - they provide the fabric.  Otherwise, you'll need a piece about 1.5 - 3" wider all around than the finished canvas.
3) thread - matching the backing color
4) embroidery needle (one with a sharp point -- our tapestry needles will poke large holes in your backing fabric)
5) filler

FIRST STEP - cut the needlepoint canvas

Little Panda by Animal Fayre
This is the scariest step  -- what if I cut it too close to the stitched needlepoint?    Here's the rule, regardless of the size of your finished product, or the size mesh - leave 5 rows of blank canvas (unstitched) all around the needlepoint.

SECOND STEP -- Cut the backing fabric

Little Panda by Animal Fayre
If you've purchased a kit with the backing fabric they've already cut it the appropriate size.  If not, cut it about 1/2 inch larger all around than the finished needlepoint.  You want your backing fabric a tad bit larger than the cut piece above (needlepoint & 5 rows around) - definition of "tad" - about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

THIRD STEP - Pin & baste the 2 pieces together- RIGHT SIDES FACING EACH OTHER (see picture above).

finishing a needlepoint project
Pin the pieces together first - right sides facing each other.  Now baste with a sewing thread, using larger (about 1/2" ) stitches in a DIFFERENT color than the backing fabric. 

FORTH STEP -- Stitch together around 3 sides - leaving most of the bottom open.

You will use a running stitch for this step.  A running stitch is like a basting stitch, but closer together.  Take small stitches with the needlepoint canvas facing you.  Use the holes as a guideline so that your stitching is a straight line or you will have a wobbly pillow.  Stitch up against the finished design.
You will stitch a bit into the bottom of the pillow on either end, just enough to turn the corner. (You can see it clearly in the basting picture above.)
If you have a sewing machine - this is the step to use it -- especially if on a larger piece.

FIFTH STEP - Clip the corners

Carefully clip the corners of the fabric.  You will want to cut both the needlepoint fabric and the backing fabric.  Be careful you do not cut into the stitched part - you just want to round the corners. 


Turn the fabric right side out through the opening.  Now insert the stuffing - as full as you'd like it.


slip stitch for your needlepoint finishing
Stitch the opening with a slip stitch.  You must do this part by hand. 

VOILA you're finished.

Did you enjoy this article?

Share it on Pinterest or Facebook...or both....or any other social media platform you "enjoy".

How to finish your needlepoint pillow or pin cushion