Tomato Sewing Pincushions

1. Cut a rectangle of fabric on the bias that’s twice as long as it is wide (the largest we made was 3 1/4 inches in diameter and required a 10-by-5-inch piece).With fabric facing right side up, fold in half as shown, and join ends with a 1/4-inch seam. Sew a running stitch around the top edge; tightly pull thread to cinch fabric, and secure with stitches.

2. Turn pouch right side out. Stuff with batting (cotton batting is firmer than polyester). Sew a running stitch around the open end; pull thread to cinch fabric. Tack shut with a few stitches and knot. To flatten, double-thread a cording needle with crochet thread and pull it through the “core” a few times. Mimic a tomato’s fluted details by wrapping the thread around the cushion and back through the core several times. Knot thread at top to finish.

3. For heirloom tomatoes, cut a circle of fabric (the largest we made was 3 1/2 inches in diameter and required a 10-inch-diameter circle). With fabric wrong side up, sew a running stitch around perimeter. Place batting in center of fabric, and gather into a pouch. Stuff with more batting, pull thread to cinch, and tack with stitches. Flatten cushion and apply details as in step 2.

4. For tops, photocopy template, enlarging or reducing as desired; cut out. Trace template onto green felt with a disappearing-ink pen; cut out. Using a single-threaded needle, sew a loop onto top. Glue top to tomato.

Note: To sew cherry-tomato pincushions, start with swatches of fabric that are 2 3/4 by 4 3/4 inches. Follow steps 1 and 2 below, but don’t flatten cushion or add fluted details. For tops, cut symmetrical, six-pointed stars from green felt. Add loops, and attach them as in step 4.