Another use for the pincushion pattern: A soft ABC block

January 16th, 2009

As I was cutting out squares for my pincushion, I realizes that I would be making a cute stuffed cube. And so I thought it would be really cool to make a “soft ABC baby block”. I wanted to make it slightly smaller and without the raw edges showing. So It was a bit of a different process. Here are the steps I took…
Cut 6 3″x3″ squares. I recommend wool.


Next you’ll want to embroider letters on the pieces. There are a few choices for embroidery. An embroidery machine (which I used), embroidering by hand, and some sort of iron on transfer.

Since I had already cut out my squares, they were too small to fit in the embroidery hoop. So I stretched some thin cotton and pinned them in the center of the hoop 

square pinned to cotton in embroidery hoop

square pinned to cotton in embroidery hoop

Then I just set the embroidery to do one letter, in the middle of the field as big as I could — which was 40 mm. I would have loved to do them bigger, but I only have the stock designs that came with the machine.

embroidering the "A"

embroidering the "A"

 After the “A” was all embroidered, I trimmed the cotton backing that it was attached to. I just trimmed fairly close to the letter, It doesnt have to look perfect because it will be hidden. 


backside of the now-embroidered square

I followed those same two steps on each of the squares, embroidering A-F. You could also embroider numbers or images. I think embroidering by hand would give you a lot more flexibility… however it would take much much longer!


I went through the same steps as my first project. Sewing 4 squares side-by side, then to each other, followed by attaching the top and bottom:



4 sewn side-by side. This would be extra cute if it spelled baby.

4 sewn side-by side. This would be extra cute if it spelled baby.

sewn into an "open cube"

sewn into an "open cube"

Now you’ll notice that I have the wrong side facing out. On this cube, different from the pincushion, I want to hide all the raw edges. So I’m sewing the whole square inside out and then reversing for the final soft block. You could do it with the edges showing like yesterday — it saves a bit of hand stitching in the end.

sewing on the top square

sewing on the top square

the bottom square is sewn on 3 sides waiting to be stuffed

the bottom square is sewn on 3 sides waiting to be turned inside out & stuffed

Once you have sewn the bottom square on three sides, you will need to turn your cube inside out. As you turn it inside out, you will have to push the corners out as much as you can so it does not look sloppy. Then go ahead and stuff it really really full! You’ll need some thread and a needle to finish the cube up nice and clean.

_dsc0168 Once you have your needle threaded. You’ll need to fold the raw edges into the cube and start stitching. You can pin them along the way, but this was such a small edge that I just held it in place as I stitched. I used a “baseball” stitch to get a smooth corner. That basically means that I sewed from the outside of one square to the inside of the stitch and then sewed from the outside of the opposite square again to the inside of the stitch. This makes a pattern similar to a baseball stitch.


the completed stitched side

the completed stitched side

And there you have it! My completed Soft ABC baby block next to my cute pin cushion! I think the baby block would be so cute as a set – you could do one with numbers and one with pictures and give them at a baby shower. Such a sweet handmade gift! 


109 responses to “Another use for the pincushion pattern: A soft ABC block”

  1. I’m a day late from SITS. I love this blog! Put it in my Google Reader yesterday.

  2. brandy says:

    How cute! Stopping by (a day late) from SITS!

  3. Dawna says:

    Happy Belated SITS Day! I tried to pop in yesterday and my browser went postal. Beautiful blog and great projects!

  4. Charmaine says:

    I love these! So cute!

  5. Charmaine says:

    Oh, by the way, stopping by SITS – still getting caught up this week!

  6. Sophia's Mom says:

    So creative! I wish I had one of those machines!

    Happy Belated SITS Day!

  7. I have always considered my self crafty but I am terrified of sewing machines!

  8. When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments
    are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
    Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service?

  9. Jen Allyson says:

    I don’t know if I have the admin ability to do that. Is there anything at the bottom of the notification emails that allows you to unsubscribe?

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