I recently designed this William Morris Sunflower Pincushion for the How.Do iPhone app. It was based on an Arts and Crafts movement William Morris sunflower wallpaper design.
The tutorial allows you to draw your own petals or download this PDF for instructions and pattern templates for the pincushion.
You can use new or repurposed materials for this project. I have used upcycled wool sweater and blankets for the pincushion shown in this tutorial.
Wool fleece is the preferred stuffing for pincushions because it has a bit of weight and the lanolin keeps pins and needles from rusting.
6 1/2” (15cm) diameter repurposed sweater or other stretch knit fabric circle
3 colors of wool felt or felted wool blanket:
1 – 7” (18cm) square for inner petals;
1 – 7” (18cm) square for outer petals;
1 – 10 1/2” x 1 1/2” (27cm x 4cm) strip for base
2 1/2” (6.5cm) diameter cardboard circle
Stuff with a ball of wool fleece and top with a cardboard circle.
Pull your thread tight and sew your gather shut. Tie off securely. The cardboard now makes the base of the ball a bit flatter.
Wrap the inner petals around the ball with the gathered side inside the petals. Pin petals in place for now.
Use the same method to draw outer petals (or download the pattern). Make these more ornate and as similar to William Morris' style as you can.
Don't worry about being perfect. Nature's petals are varied and unique. Yours can be also.
If you center your ball on the outer petals you can see how the sunflower is starting to emerge.
Using 3 strands of embroidery thread, attach the inner petals to the central ball with two or three long stitches up and down each petal. Pull tightly enough that it holds the petals close to the ball but not too tightly that the petals pucker.
Using 3 strands of embroidery thread, embellish the outer petals similarly but this time use a stem stitch to embroider your accents. Vary the number of accent lines per petal to create a more natural look. Keep the thread knots trimmed short and at the back of the petals.
Turn the ball over and center the petals over it, back side of the petals facing up. Use 2 strands of matching embroidery thread to sew the outer petals to the ball with a simple running stitch. I've placed a black thread around the ball to show where to sew.