Adventures of a Pincushion by Mary Ann Kilner Mary Ann Kilner published book "Adventures of a Pincushion" in London in 1783 or 1784. Pincushin tells story how he was made by ten years old girl Martha, how she used him, what he has seen, passing from one child to another, and finally how he was left in the garden and rotted. Beside simple story and morals for children we learn interesting details about everyday life and using of pincushion.

Adventures of a Pincushion - making pincushion Adventures of a Pincushion - with little girl
Adventures of a Pincushion - dangerous cat Adventures of a Pincushion - pasing from hand to hand
Adventures of a Pincushion - found by maid Adventures of a Pincushion - lost in the garden

First of all, pincushion has nothing to do with sewing but was important when dressing up. Gowns, kerchiefs, aprons and even caps were hold in place with pins. When pins was necessary during sewing, they should be taken from pincushion, not from dress - it was consider bad habit. In book girls carry their pincushions in pockets, not in sewing bags. They also can be hung on tape from waist, near pocket and under upper petticoat or skirt.

pincushion hanging from waist pincushion hanging from waist

Some pincushions were made round from woven or knitted fabric, with or without metal ring, other rectangular (pincushion starring in book has tassel in each corner) and a lot od them were heart shaped. When pincushion was flat, pins were placed into its sides (even in patterns and letters) not right in the middle and it make sence - this way you will not be stabbed by pins.

round pincushion round knited pincushion
pincushion with tassels rectangular pincushion
heart shape pincushion heart shape pincushion

Pins were made from brass covered with tin and look almost same as todays pins. They were sold stucked into paper and they weren“t bargain. When little Marta finished her new pincushion, she riped the old one on to old newspapers and search for pins lost inside.

selling pins extant 18th century pin

When making first pincushion, I used cream colored silk sateen and very quickly it went dirty and full of holes. Next time I choose scraps of linsey woolsey which seeems more practical. Inside it is suffed with woolen fleece, but Martha in book used bran.

making loop on the top of the pincushion finished pincushion

When cutting heart shape I made two pieces connected with one side - same as on book ilustration - it saves time. Some heart shaped pincushions did have tape sewn right inside, other did have loop in form of "bridge". I tried make same bridge sewing cotton cord inside linen tape and I“m happy how it turns out.

pincushion under the petticoat

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