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. Janelle says:

    Your blog looks really great and so do your projects! I’ve got you bookmarked now!

  2. jenallyson says:

    Thanks! That is so sweet of you 🙂 I’m hoping to get more stuff up. I’ll be sure to check out your blog too!

  3. I love that little ABC cube! It is adorable! So jealous of your embroidery capabilities, though…that is way out of my league. Way to go! 🙂

  4. Colleen says:

    I just found your blog through 2Peas and I’m so impressed. That little block is just too cute too.

  5. Beautiful job! I’d love something like this for my daughter.

  6. {leah} says:

    cute idea!!!

    with or with out the letters this would be a fun thing to make

  7. Alicia says:

    what a great idea!! i’m so going to make these!

  8. the girl says:

    My goodness! That takes some serious talent 🙂 So impressed with the quality and inventiveness of your work. Enjoy the fun and madness of your SITS day.

  9. MrsM says:

    Wow-how sweet! I could totally make some of these for my little ones!

  10. Yaya says:

    Wow, that looks great! If only I knew how to use a sewing machine! 😉

  11. Preston says:

    How cute is that block! Unfortunately, I couldn’t sew my way out of a paper bag. Enjoy your SITS day!

  12. Courtney says:

    I love these little blocks. But I don’t think I have the ability to make these.

  13. Robin says:

    so cute…..

  14. Sandy says:

    This is adorable and looks pretty easy! Thanks for sharing:0)

  15. Okay, I’m insanely jealous of your talent to both create such beautiful projects and to explain how to do them with such finesse and ease! You make it look so easy! Perhaps this could be a mother-daughter craft project for my 11 yo and I.

  16. Renee says:

    This is adorable! I don’t have all the tools needed to make one (a sewing machine) but still adorable! Happy SITS day!

  17. Astrid says:

    Great tutorial! I’m a beginner sewer. I’m still working up the nerve to try more sewing (I tried making a child’s dress from a super easy pattern which resulted in my daughter crying once it was finished- she didn’t like it). 🙁

    Happy SITS day!

  18. Cher says:

    how cute is that, seriously!! LOVE IT!!

  19. dani keith says:

    super cute idea! thanks for sharing!!

  20. Joy says:

    What a beautiful pincushion!

    Congrats on your SITS feature!

  21. That’s so cool. I love the way the letters look.

  22. Miranda says:

    This is ADORABLE! I’m off to the craft store to buy some fat quarters to make some toys for my son! Thanks for the idea!

  23. Jen says:

    I wish my machine had the embroidery on it. Happy SITS day!

  24. Melissa says:

    This is such a cute project! You are very creative….

  25. Wow! This is so cute. You are very talented!

  26. Rhiannon says:

    Oh how fun!! What a clever idea 🙂 Happy SITS Day!

  27. Just stopping by to say hello from SITS. Congrats on being the FB. Your blog is adorable and full of great ideas.

  28. Ani says:

    How fun!!
    i love the colors you chose!

  29. Teresha says:

    This is soooooooo CUTE! I wish I could sew!
    Happy SITS day!

  30. Jacky says:

    That’s really cool! It would be a great gift to make a set of those for a baby/toddler!

    Happy SITS Day! =)

  31. Love the crafty projects, I could add that to my stepson’s room!! Thanks for the great idea, thought it would even be cute to spell his name out!!

  32. That is probably, no it IS the coolest pincushion I have ever seen!

  33. Mama Mel says:

    Hi from SITS! This is so cute! I would love to try this once I get better with the sewing machine! 🙂

  34. Danemama08 says:

    Thats too cute,
    happy SITS Day by the way!

  35. Katie Lane says:

    The blog is cute!! You could also do a big die like that 🙂

  36. Bella Crafts says:

    Absolutely love your soft baby blocks! Now I must run out and buy an embroidery machine. Thanks for posting this fun little project!

    Have a fun day,
    Your fellow SITS member 🙂

  37. Rachel says:

    How cute! I wish I could sew!

  38. Cassie says:

    That is a great idea! Thank you so for posting it! Happy SITS day 🙂

  39. BlogBaby says:

    Adorable! Now if only I could sew…that might be helpful in making one of these myself.


  40. mariah says:

    Love. It. Love the colors. Love the block! Good job SITSta.

  41. Visiting from SITS today.

    These blocks are VERY cute. You could make them so individualized!

  42. Gwyn says:

    I love this. I can’t wait to give it a try! Happy sits day!

  43. That is such a great idea!!

  44. Sandy says:

    How cute! And WOW someone who stills knows how to sew.

  45. Rabacal says:

    I love this idea. Just to take it a step further you could hide a bell in the middle of the baby block. Cute blog.

  46. B.o.B. says:

    Very cute! Can you mail it to me? Not so crafty over here. JK Happy SITS day!

  47. Laura says:

    Cute blocks…if I only knew how to sew.

  48. Amy says:

    Wow I so wish i had an ounce of talent that you have. Those are beautiful and I would love to make a whole set for my toddler! Saddly I don’t own a sewing machine or have any sewing talent. One day though. Thanks for the tutorial.

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