Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sushi Pin Cushion (Pincushion?) Tutorial

I had another highly unproductive day yesterday. It's like a bad habit that I just can't kick. Poor hubby. He comes home, looks around and asks "Soooo... what did you do today?"

Me "I made sushi."

Him (suspiciously and hopefully) "Really?! You did?".

Me "Uh. Yeah. I wouldn't say I had if I hadn't would I?"

Him "Yes. Yes you would".

Ha! I proved him wrong! I did make sushi. Unfortunately for him it just wasn't of the eating variety. It was more of the stab it with tiny sharp pointed objects variety. One thing I learned is that my husband is not nearly as interested in the latter variety as he is in the former.

I did document my latest sewing adventure though. I'm not sure why. Maybe because Thing 1 wandered past just as I sat down to sew with my camera in her hands. It worries me when she has anything breakable in her hands so I rescued the camera and then proceeded to become the world's biggest dork. Not only because I actually made a sushi pincushion, but because I documented it as well.

First thing you're going to need to do is decide approximately how big in diameter you want your pincushion to be. Then you'll need find something circular that is roughly the same size to trace. Or you could be all fancy schmancy and use a protractor or something along those lines. I used a vintage mug from the Hippie era. Once you've found your tool of choice trace and cut two circles from a piece of white felt.
You have rice.
Bet you didn't know you could make rice this way, did you?

The next step involves math, so don't attempt to do this early in the morning without coffee. You need to multiply the diameter of your rice circle by pi in order to find out it's circumference. Whee!

For those of you who insist on doing this without coffee that means you need to measure across the center of your circle, multiply that by 3.14 so that you know how long around your rice is. Then you need to add another inch to your calculations and write it down somewhere so you don't forget it and have to repeat this step over and over and over and over.... like a certain somebody you know.

Now cut out a green piece of felt that is as long as the above measurement and half as wide. If you came up with (for example) 9 inches in step two then your rectangle should measure 9" by 4 1/2".

Now cut two identical circles and one rectangle out of a good lining fabric. I used a heavy cotton for mine.

Figure out which sides of your felt you want to be the "wrong side" and pin the matching piece of lining to each shape. You could possibly use something like fusible webbing for this step but I didn't because I thought it would leave a minute amount of residue on my pins once the pin cushion was finished and in use.
Next you'll need to take one of the circles and the rectangle and place the right sides together. Sew the circle to the long side of the rectangle. This part is a little tricky depending on the size of your sushi so just keep adjusting it until you get to the end. You should end up with an inch of fabric rectangle left over. Just go ahead and keep sewing that and overlap the first part you sewed on.
Hooray! You have seaweed!

Okay, the above picture I took without the lining on to show you what I was doing. As you can see in the next picture the white thread didn't show up on white cotton very well, which is why I did it that way for a few stitches. Don't do it that way, that was for picture purposes only, I pulled those stitches out and did it the correct way after I took the photo.

Now you need to turn the sushi right side out. Puff your green felt up at the edges just a bit around the white rice circle and do a running stitch around the edge. Make sure you stitch in the ditch of the seam created by sewing the green and white felt to each other. This will form a small lip around your sushi so it doesn't look a puffy tube. You can skip this step if you really want to since it's only for aesthetic purposes anyways.

Just a picture to show you how I'm stitching around the edge of the green and up through the ditch created by the seams. Then take the needle back down through the ditch and repeat til you get to the end.

Next you need to get a few little clips of various colors of felt for your veggies and raw fish. Have fun playing around with it until you find a design that you think resembles real sushi. You'll have to delude yourself a bit for this step, as it's nearly impossibly to make felt resemble raw fish.

Just squint really hard and use your imagination.

Once you've gotten your design the way you like it stitch it onto the right side of your rice circle. You could use matching thread for each piece but I didn't because I didn't want a ton of knots lurking on the under side of my fabric to catch my needles on once I started using the pincushion.

You need to line up the sides of green felt with one side overlapping the other. Fold the lining fabric under slightly and then pin everything in place down the length of the side seam. You'll need to turn it inside out again for the next step.

Roll down the bottom of the green felt and lining until you have your pincushion at a height that you like and pin it all in place. Double check to make sure you have everything even the whole way around or you'll end up with some lopsided sushi once it's all said and done. Next you need to match the right sides of the second white circle/lining to the bottom of your green rectangle and start to sew it together the same as you did for the top.

Only sew it about halfway around for the time being and then stop!

Now that you've gotten your bottom rice circle partially sewn on and you're certain everything is lined up the way it should be go ahead and remove the pins that are along the side seam of felt. These are the pins that are currently inside your project. I left the very bottom pin in mine just to help hold everything in place. Next finish sewing the rest of the way around your white circle to attach it.

Depending on what height you decided for your cushion you may need to trim off some excess green felt and lining material at this point. Just make sure not to accidentally cut into the the actual cushion.

Or your fingers either. That wouldn't be good. You probably wouldn't be able to finish the project if you did that, which would be a tragedy since you've gotten this far.

Okay, now gently pull apart your side seam a bit and poke your cushion into it so you can turn it right side out. FYI: This is probably the easiest step of the whole project

Remember the whole stitch in the ditch thing we did way up there in step... er... 6? I think it was? Well, you get to do it again. It's a little bit harder this time but a little more necessary. It helps to give your sushi a flat bottom so it doesn't wobble all over the place and roll off your work area onto the floor.
Doing this step doesn't guarantee that it won't end up the floor though, especially if you have children, or a kitten, or even if you sneeze. It just helps to prevent it from happening as often.
Unless you have children. If you have children you might as well just get used to the idea of it being on the floor. In fact before you even use it for the first, before you stick even a single pin in it, you should probably toss the cushion onto the floor, kick it around a bit, stomp on it, roll it under the stove and then drop it in the dogs water bowl.
You know, just to sort of get it all out of the way so you don't have to worry about it happening or to waste time futilely trying to prevent it from happening.

Poke just a tiny bit of stuffing inside your sushi to give it a bit of shape. Rearrange your side seam until it looks good remembering to keep the inner lining folded in a bit. Next sew down the seam about 3/4 t0 1 centimeter in from the edge. After you've sewn half way down your seam stop. Now finish stuffing your cushion. Poke in enough stuffing so that it's firm but not so much that it's bursting at the seams. Try to find a nice medium between the two.

Once you've done that finish sewing down the seam and then turn the whole thing and sew back up the side seam to the top. The double line of stitches helps to reinforce the seam but also gives it a neater appearance by hiding whatever little bit of lining that would otherwise be visible.

Knot your thread and trim any loose ends and your done!


Annoying little project isn't it?

Now you can take goofy pictures of your creation to show others. If you do this last step don't be surprised if you get an odd look or two. I mean, in all honestly it is a little strange to run around taking photo's of faux cuisine with little pins sticking out of it so you can hardly blame them for looking at you that way.

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