Uptown Debbie Brown Blog

Thread Bag and Modern Pin Cushion


This little thread bag and pin cushion set is fun to make and very easy.

The special features that set it apart are:

  • It uses Hooks and Eyes to allow for easy removal of bag to empty contents
  • It creates a stylish accessory for your sewing area
  • It uses speed sewing techniques
  • Debbie Brown Bag makes a darling child’s purse

Supply List:        

  • Fabric: Body, lining, contrasting, accent, and medium interfacing           
  • Notions:  Loops and Eyes, Piping, 2 Buttons, 3” needle and heavy thread, ribbon            
  • Sewing Supplies:  needle and thread, zipper foot for your sewing machine, scissors, bodkin     
  • Pin Cushion Filling:  Ground walnut shells           
  • Pattern:  Uptown Debbie Brown

Making the Debbie Brown Bag

The first step is fabric selection. It is not your ordinary set so don’t use ordinary fabric!   Find a main fabric you love that has several coordinating fabrics/colors.  Try bold new prints that you may have not known what to do with before.

If it would look good in a purse, it will look good in the Debbie Brown Bag. There should be high contrast for the band (ribbon casing) fabric, and a tone-on-tone coordinating fabric for the lining and top curve.

Strip Piecing Technique Used

The Debbie Brown Thread Bag uses a quick technique that may be new to some.

1. We start by strip piecing the body of the bag. Show the backing has interfacing already fused.

2.Next, lay the pattern piece onto the fabric to trace the curve then cut on the wrong side.

3. Once that is done, we add piping around the top edges of the bag unit, then sew on the lining.

4. Next, turn the bag right side out and like presto, the bag is nearly done.

5. Stitch in the ditch on either side of the casing strips.

6. Sew up the side seams, add two seams to square up the bottom  and you’re ready to gather the bag, tie bows on the sides, and of course.

7. Add hooks to attach it to our Uptown Pin Cushion.

8. For bows: Use a safety pin or bodkin to thread ribbon through casing. Leave 6" inches on each side of bag for tying bows.

Making the Uptown Pin Cushion

To make the Uptown Pin Cushion we will create a simple strip pieced block.

Making the Block:

Sew nine 1⅜" x 10" strips together to make one big block.

Sew them in the order you prefer, arranging an assortment of light, medium and dark values. Keep in mind that the center strips will be the top of your pin cushion where the button will be sewn. Emphasize the strip you like best in the middle.

Tracing the Template:

The sewing lines of the pin cushion are traced onto fusible interfacing which is then ironed to the back of the block.

  • Lay smooth side of interfacing on top of pattern and trace. All lines for seam allowance, miters, and outside edges should be clearly marked. Mark dots and button position.
  • Once fused, the block is squared up.

Sewing the Pin Cushion:

1. Fold the block in half along Fold Line 1, right sides together. Secure open side with pins.

2. Stitch on outside edge of the unit with a ¼" seam allowance. Pivot at dot and continue sewing on Miter 1 line. Back stitch seam.

3. Repeat for other side, sewing Miter 2.


4. Open the pin cushion and match center seam. Pin 1¼" on either side of center (the opening to turn the pin cushion right side out).

5. Sew Miters 3 and 4 just as you did for Miters 1 and 2.

6. Turn right side out, finger press corners.

Filling Pin Cushion:

To hold the weight of the Debbie Brown Bag, the pin cushion must be heavy enough to keep it from sliding.


The filling material I recommend is finely ground walnut shells or craft sand. These fillings create a hefty-feeling pin cushion that will not scoot around when you use it.

Tip: Fill pin cushion over a cookie sheet to catch spills.

  1. Sew on button before filling pin cushion. Leave the threaded needle attached to the button to sew on back button after filling is complete.
  2. Set pin cushion, button side down on a flat surface, and place funnel in opening. Hold funnel and pour in filling, distributing evenly.
  3. Stitch the back opening by hand using a blind stitch.


Once the pin cushion is securely closed, you are ready to add the back button.


  1. Apply gentle pressure to the top and bottom of the pin cushion by pressing against the top button to create a little dip (tuft) in the middle.
  2. Holding the pin cushion firmly, and using the attached needle to the top button, push the needle through to the back and sew on the bottom button, then bring needle to top for another stitch.
  3. Pull tightly on the threads to keep the tuft accentuated, pulling button-to-button (not button-to-fabric).

Adding eyes to the pin cushion:

  1. Refer to Uptown Pin Cushion A diagram for eye position. Mark position on the bottom of the pin cushion.
  2. Hand stitch eyes securely to pin cushion making sure they extend ¼" past the base of the pin cushion to allow the thread bag to hang free