Novelty Pincushions Make Sewing Fun!
Pincushions come in many novelty designs, and no longer just for sewing, they have now become collector items, as well.
Pin cushions make it easier to pick up pins, and they make pinning a project quicker. That’s their practical side.
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Today, you can purchase pincushions that resemble vintage ones or new novelty pincushions with fun designs.
In fact, collecting different pin cushion designs from manufacturers like Dritz has become a popular pastime for many people who don’t even sew!
RED HAT–Dritz Collectible Pin Cushion A cute gift for someone in the RED HAT group. It’s a Dritz Collectible Pin Cushion.
Dritz(R) Tomato Pin Cushion – Large 4 InchThe large size classic tomato/strawberry-shaped pin cushion.
Dritz Velvet Tomato Pin Cushion 5 Inch Diameter X 3 Inch Large, bright and easy to spot.
Fons and Porter Dresden Plate Novelty Pin CushionDivided colorful sections are great for keeping pins and needles separate.
Original Large Multi-Color Ewesful Felted Wool Pincushion Pin CushionUnique, colorful and compact.
Clover Magnet Pin Caddy, GreenInstead of a pin cushion, try this magnetic caddy that gathers and stores pins safely.
Pin cushions have a long and interesting history. It all began with metal pins in the 1300s. These were very expensive to produce, so people searched for good storage containers to keep them nice.
By the 1400s pin carriers (storage containers) were available in extravagant materials like silver, ivory and bone. They were called a tuffet (remember little Miss Muffet who sat on her tuffet?) a pin keeper or a pin case.
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Development of Novelty Pincushions
Three hundred years after tuffets were invented, pin pillows, made of cloth, appeared. The switch to cloth allowed these pincushions designs to become more elaborate, and they were fashioned out of satin, linen, and canvas, with beautiful and precise embroidery.
Seamstresses hung the new pin pillows on their walls in their sewing parlors, and eventually bases for the pincushions were developed, so that a cushion could sit in a handy location near the sewer. Most of the new stands were made of wood or silver.
After pin pillow stands came into common use, novelty pincushions were not far behind. The shapes of the little pillows reflected everyday items like baskets, eggcups and shoes and they were had metal, china and glass in their designs.
In particular the people of the Tudor and Victorian eras seemed quite captured by pincushions, making them with tassels, beads or jewels or fashioning them like umbrellas, fans, animals, fruits and flowers.
Perhaps the most popular design was a simple tomato design, believed to bring prosperity to the home. In fact, the tomato design is still a popular one with sewers.
Pin Cushion Collectors
The more fanciful pincushions designs fell off for a while during the early 1900s when people were focusing on utility over fashion. Some pincushions during this time even had clamps that could attach to your sewing table, and they would help keep fabric neatly in place.
After the Great Depression, when the economy and the overall mood of the country improved, companies once again started making whimsical and beautiful pincushions, with as many different themes as you can imagine!
This paved the way for collectors to get involved. Collectors generally focus on a theme, like fruit or shoes. And companies like Dritz, who since 1999 has outpaced competition in novelty pin cushions, have produced all kinds of pincushions, including a vibrant red hat that matches a red hat sewing box and reflects the interest in the over 50 group that calls themselves the Red Hat group.
So (or sew) if you’re looking for a fun and relatively inexpensive hobby – take up collecting pincushions that suit your fancy. You don’t have to sew to enjoy them!
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