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. Tonya says:

    What a cute idea! I love all your birdies on your layout!! Happy SITS day!

  2. That is absolutely adorable! I don’t sew at all but I wouldn’t mind having that embroidery machine, just to play!

  3. oh now I NEED a sewing machine like that one!!

  4. Mama Kat says:

    Look how creative you are!!! Now you only need five or six more to complete the alphabet…how long would THAT take you!?! 🙂

  5. Kristal says:

    That is so cute!

    Happy SITs day!

  6. Rita says:

    These are super cute! TFS!

  7. Amy says:

    What a talent you are.

  8. Okay, you are making me feel really lazy! You are so creative..

  9. Mary says:

    How great is that?! Thanks!


  10. If I wasn’t worried about stitching right over my fingers I’d SO do this. This is a great idea. I’m going to send this link to my mom who’s super crafty with a sewing machine.

  11. Sarah says:

    These are so cute! I wish I could sew better!

  12. Sarah Jensen says:

    Hi from SITS!
    This is sooo cute!
    My kids are too big for this, but my girls would love to make it for cousins. And my sis has little ones.
    I’ll pass your site on!

  13. Type A Mommy says:

    Wow, I am ridiculously impressed. I so wish I were the crafty kind of person who could do these kinds of things. I once tried to knit a square coaster – it turned out round. This is how un-crafty I am. Beautiful blog, love the layout!! Happy SITS FB Day!

  14. SO very found another sewer thru SITS! I’ll be back! 🙂

  15. Janna says:

    What an adorable idea. This makes me wish I was much more crafty than I am!

  16. MochaTrina says:

    Too cute. I wish I knew how to sew. Cute, cute, cute. Happy SITS day!

  17. Mary says:

    That is so precious!

    Happy SITS Day!!

  18. Judi Bentley says:

    Great project for a baby gift. Stopping by from SITS.

  19. Monica says:

    Stopping by from SITS and love your blog! I am definitely going to bookmark it for great project ideas!

  20. Kristen says:

    How cute is that?! Stopping in from SITS!

  21. Suzi says:

    Looks cool. Happy SITS Day!

  22. Jeannie says:

    Cute project and cute site!

  23. Jackie says:

    Stopping from SITS – too cute! I love patterns that are multipurpse – AND this gives me a chance to work on my machine embroidery skills.

  24. Love.Love.Love these!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  25. DSL Kids says:

    Hi from SITS!! Love the blocks:)

  26. Andrea says:

    That’s such a cute idea! I have lots of pregnant friends right now, and this would make a great gift.

  27. I thought about doing something like this when my nephews were born, but never got around to it. Now I wish I had, that is so cute! Happy SITS day!

  28. Tranquility says:

    That is such a great idea – that little block is so cute!

  29. Rachel says:

    What a cute project! I love it.

  30. lisa says:

    So cute!! I love this idea!

  31. Misty says:

    Happy SITS day! Very cool!

  32. These are adorable! Happy SITS day to you!

  33. You’re so talented. When I lose a button on my shirt I just throw the shirt away. You think I’m kidding don’t you?

  34. Rachael says:

    That is absolutely adorable! I can only imagine the trouble I’d get up to if I owned an embroidery machine!

  35. Teri says:


  36. Lynn says:

    I really like this. On lazy days, I like to just sit and hand sew things. This would be something I know I could do – thanks for the detailed instructions too!

    Happy SITS day…

    My best, Lynn

  37. Jen says:

    Visiting from SITs and wishing I had your sewing machine. Cute blocks.

  38. Jill Scott says:

    Super cute ABC block. I love it. Congrats on your SITS day.

  39. Now that I have grandchildren I’m going to be back crafting quite a bit!
    Bookmarking your site!

  40. Forgot to mention I’m new and stopping by from SITS!

  41. Camille says:

    How super cute!! I’ll bet if I tried to make it, it wouldn’t come out as a square…

  42. emily says:

    That is fab!!!!

  43. How cute is that! I love it! Have a great day being the FB!

  44. Beautiful ABC block.

  45. Tara B. says:

    Stop it!!! that is wayyy too cute!

  46. Vickie says:

    Happy SITS day!

    That block is so cute! I wish I could sew.

  47. wendy says:

    So cute! If I could find my sewing machine cord, I’d be all set. Happy SITS day!

  48. greedygrace says:

    Cute! And you make it look so easy!

    Happy SITS day!

  49. zeemaid says:

    Wow, what a sweet project. Love your blog!

    Happy SITS day!

  50. Kristin says:

    What a fabulous gift that would make! I think my bambino would have lots o’ fun with those too.

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