Old Treasure New Again!
Silver Spoon Pincushion

Julie O. Yonge 2007

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I love to stroll through antique shops and flea markets as do many crazy quilters. One, because I love Victorian and vintage things and enjoy imagining the history of each piece; two, because crazy quilters love to find vintage fabrics, lace, buttons and other treasures for their craft; and third, because often I find a beautiful little treasure that challenges me to rescue it and revitalize it. I have always appreciated lovely silverware and you see so many beautiful pieces in antique shops although rarely are there complete sets available. I recently rescued an old tarnished silver spoon and began to ponder on what it could become.  


Once I polished the spoon, a beautiful pattern appeared on its handle and I knew it would have to be dressed up to remain as elegant as the fancy dinners I imagined it had served in the past.  


I decided that with a little embellishment, it could become a pincushion that I would treasure and enjoy. I recalled that Victoria Adams Brown, a friend and published SRE artist, had done this before, as well as, making beautiful little pin cushions out of vintage salt cellars found on antiquing excursions.

Antique or other silver spoon
4" square of muslin
4" square of velvet or other beautiful fabric
E6000 glue
A few small embellishment items of your choice
Needle and threads (regular sewing thread and Nymo or other strong thread)
Filler (such as emery, crushed walnuts, sawdust or fine sand)

I knew I would need a muslin insert to hold emery powder or whatever would be used to fill the pincushion. I chose velvet as the outer fabric for the pincushion because of its luster, softness and its luxurious appearance. Then I gathered a few embellishment items such as ribbon, beads, and lace and began.

I laid the spoon (cup area) on the piece of muslin and with a pencil, outlined the area on the muslin. I then added about an inch and a half allowance all the way around and cut out the muslin piece. This would be the insert for the pin cushion that would hold the emery powder. I ran a running or gathering stitch around the edge of the muslin with Nymo thread and gathered the muslin up a bit to form a little bag. I then filled the muslin bag with the emery powder, pulled the gathering stitch tight and knotted it off. I placed the little muslin bag into the cup of the spoon to test the fit.


I then moved on to the piece of velvet which I would use to cover the muslin bag. I used the same procedure for the velvet cover; gathering the velvet and then placing it over the muslin bag, pulling the gathering stitch tight and knotting it off making sure that once placed into the cup of spoon the muslin was completely covered by the velvet.


When I was happy with the fit and plumpness of the bag, I then glued it into the cup of the spoon with E6000 glue and let it dry. Once the glue was dry, I began to embellish. I suppose that fabric glue could be used for some of the embellishments, but I prefer to stitch all my embellishments into place. I added tea-stained lace, hand-dyed silk rolled ribbon roses, Mokuba trim, beads, small pieces of hand dyed motif and gold metallic threads. Sometimes the stitching could be a little fiddly, but I believe it turned out well worth the challenge.

I have been collecting some additional spoons to embellish and have begun work on a silver demitasse spoon. I found two silver toddler spoons and am intrigued by the toddler spoon that has the handle curved back for the toddler to grip - wouldn't this spoon (once cleaned, polished and embellished) make a lovely pendant pincushion that could actually be worn?


Here are a couple of pictures of beautiful silver spoons embellished by good friends, Victoria Adams Brown and Barbara Blankenship, and a couple of pictures of a crystal salt cellar I found at the same antique shop that I also turned into a small embellished pincushion. I again made a muslin bag which I filled with emery, enveloped it with velvet and embellished it with tatting, trim, pearls, and an antique button.

by Victoria Adams Brown

by Barbara Blankenship

Close up of Barbara's spoon

I hope this will encourage you to rescue fun items that you may find while strolling through shops filled with vintage treasures and adapt them to beautiful sewing tools.

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