Sewing Space Station Mission 4: Cargo Bay & PinPod

Aug 2023

Every sewist needs a pincushion & a pouch, so let's make those small but mighty little extras that make this pattern super functional

Welcome back if you're here from 4th and final mission in this series of posts in making the Sewing Space Station!

If you've just landed here and missed the earlier episodes, you can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

I hope you're enjoying this journey of creating a simple mat with so many useful parts to organise and simplify your sewing life!

Well done for making it this far!

Now, we’re sewing up those small but mighty little extras that make this pattern unique and super functional.

Let's Make the Cargo Bay Pouch

I must admit I'm sucker for a good pouch - they have so many uses and look just, well, really cool!

I've named this the 'Cargo Bay' because a good Space Station needs room for extra modules that come and go as needed. This pouch 'docks' at the bottom of the Tool Panel and detaches when not needed. You can take it with you for other uses, and I hope you do!

If you're someone who usually makes quilts and other flat projects – making a 3D pattern might be a little daunting for you. Never fear! Every project can be broken down into small steps that you can handle.

If you're a seasoned bag maker, this one will be a breeze and you can skip my basic explanation here.

Make sure to watch Pt 5 of my video series.

In a nutshell, this is made from two quilted panels, with some shape added to the front panel so the pouch can now hold bulkier items. The shape is added with 'darts' similar to the shape in a fitted dress. The panels are joined together and lining is added to enclose all the raw edges.

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘lining’, it refers to the fabric that is used on the inside or the back of a project, which you don’t normally see. It’s included to enclose raw edges and neaten the project. Linings can be a great design element as you can use contrasting fabric so there’s a fun pop of colour or pattern when you open the bag.

Some tips to help you here:

  • You can either add an extra piece of fabric on the back of the panels so that you’re not just quilting one layer of fabric and fleece or just leave it with the fabric and fleece – quilting with three layers creates a sturdier pouch with the backing fabric. It does however add more bulk in the seams than just one layer and fleece. Choose which one you prefer. I’ve done these both ways and it’s fine.
  • Interface your lining for a nice smooth look inside the pouch and add a little more body – this also means it supports itself and stays open when attached to the tool panel so you can reach inside.
  • You can use elastic or thin ribbon, I- cord or make thin tubes to hang this and close it. The flexible elastic does make it easier to use however.
  • Be aware of fabric direction on this piece. If you don’t want your flap to end up upside down when closed, then you will have to cut this piece upside down, or you can actually add a seam and create this out of two parts.
  • If those darts look scary, watch the video! They are actually really easy, and give the pouch great shape
  • Try gluebasting that final seam that needs closing - it's a game changer for getting your mattress stitch even and invisible
  • You’ll be hanging this pouch from the front of the tool panel with buttons –so don’t stick with boring buttons! You can choose something nostalgic or flamboyant to add interest.
  • Here's where you can add a fun tag or accent to make your version unique!

Once you’ve been bitten by the Cargo Bay bug you’ll want to make several!

You can fill them with different notions (or why not treats!) - for different projects and switch them out depending on the project you're sewing at the time.

Sewing the PinPod Pincushion

This is a super easy pincushion that looks way harder than it is!

Watch Video Part 6 that shows you how easy it is to make!

This pattern is just 2- four patch pieces joined together. The corners are ‘boxed’ to make them square, and that really is the hardest part.

I’ve designed this to look like a vintage tufted French mattress – you don’t need to add the extra hand stitching if you don’t want to, but honestly it’s not hard to do. The hand stitching really takes this from a regular pincushion to an gorgeous heirloom style one, so give it a go!!

Here's my tips to make this easier:

  • Stuffing – You can totally just stuff this with polyfill, but I love adding extra weight as there’s nothing more annoying than knocking your pincushion off the table when you’re trying to push a pin in. I love to use rice mixed with polyfill – it’s what I have on hand all the time. What’s your favourite stuffing material?
  • When stuffing don’t make it too dense that you can’t stick pins in – I like to pin the opening shut and test this a few times to check the firmness is what I’m after. It should be a little bit softer than you want so that when you stitch the edges it's nice and firm. You're after not too stiff, not too saggy, juuuust right!
  • Rule lines from corner to corner on the top and bottom with a fabric marker to help you stitch straight, even lines, as you add the channels into the top and bottom.
  • Be patient with this step - it's fiddly but not difficult.
  • Use thick strong thread so you can pull tightly when adding the tufting through the middle – double your thread or even quadruple it.
  • Use a long doll needle to help you get through the body of the pincushion.
  • Try adding a fun ribbon tag into the seam!

I hope you've enjoyed sewing through this project with me and these tips have been helpful!

I'd absolutely love to see what you're making, so why not share your progress, finish and especially how you're using your Sewing Space Station on socials and in my Facebook Community.

Happy sewing, and remember to enjoy the process as much as the finish! 😊

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