11 June 2012

DIY: Fabric Pinwheel

Wow, two posts in one day...

A few years back, when I first started quilting, I was on a pinwheel kick.  They are such a cheerful design that I couldn't help but make them over and over, as you can see here, here, here, here, and here.  Yes, a bit repetitive, but I find them charming.

Then one day, I thought how cute it would be to have a 3D one to hang on my wall!!  And so it has sat, for nearly three years, waiting to have a tutorial made from it. 


So, here it is friends...a tutorial to make your own 3D pinwheel.  Truth be told, I might not have put this tutorial together if it wasn't for Jennifer's Summer Sewing Contest.  That was just the motivation I needed!

Instead of using two different prints (as I did with the original pinwheel), I used a print and white for these pinwheels.  To add a little detail I attached a button in the center.  I can't believe how lucky I was to find an orange button in my button jar that matched so nicely!!  See...

Read through the tutorial before you begin.

For one pinwheel you will need:
2- 5" squares (print/neutral to achieve the look you want)
1- button (probably no smaller then 1/2")
2-  5" x 5" squares lightweight fusible interfacing*
needle and thread
fabric marker/chalk/tracing wheel
walking foot (optional)
basic sewing supplies

*I used lightweight, but if using heavy weight you may only need one square. 

How you'll make it:
1.  Fuse the wrong side of each of your fabrics to the fusible interfacing (as instructed on the interfacing directions).  If using heavy weight, fuse the interfacing to only one fabric square.

 2.  Using your ruler and marking tool, draw two diagonal lines (corners to corners) and a plus sign (centered horizontally and vertically) as shown here.

Here is a picture of the tracing wheel I used to mark my lines.  However, a fabric marker or chalk would also work well.

 3.  Place your fabrics wrong sides together.

Pin. If using a walking foot you shouldn't have trouble with fabrics shifting.  If your not using a walking foot be careful to keep the fabrics evenly together.

Stitch.  What you need to accomplish here is to stitch around the lines you just marked.  Make sure you leave at least 1" unstitched (on each line) before you reach the center, as you can see from this photo.


Stitch approx. 1/8" from your marked line.  This should give you 1/4" between stitched lines.  Begin and end with a backstitch.

Continue in this pattern until you have stitched all the way around your marked lines.

4.  Cut along the marked lines (in between your stitched lines) as shown.  Be sure not to cut your stitches!! 

5.  Thread your needle.   Be sure to knot it at the end.   Decide how you want your pinwheel to look.  Which fabric do you want to be on the "fan blades"?

For this pinwheel I wanted red to be on the fan blade so I had the red side facing up.  Take your needle trough the fabric from front to back.  Then back to the front.

At this point, thread the needle through the outer corner (just inside the stitch lines) of every other "blade" until you have threaded four.

 Pull the thread all the way through the blade corners until it looks like this.

 6.   Attach your button.  At this point, you can either make a knot to secure the stitched blades or just slip your button on onto the thread and attach it.

And your done!!

Your finished pinwheel will have a 3D look to it.  

I attached my pinwheels (7" apart) to a strip of double-folded binding to create a garland.   I LOVE how it turned out!!  I'm thinking now, I might have to make my daughter a quilt using these FMF fabrics and put this garland in her room to match.

How about make a slightly smaller one for a brooch or hairpiece.  That could be cute!  This would also be a great project to have age appropriate kids help with. 

I have uploaded this to Jennifers Summer Sewing Contest in the Home Decor category.  


  1. Love the pinwheel garland! And especially the love buttons on them!!!

  2. I have to say I love those. Thank you for making a tutorial. Good luck in the contest. I have one of my quilts linked up also.


  3. Those are really cute! I can't wait to try.

  4. These are so cute! Now I want some.

  5. Fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial with us. I think I must go to my workroom to see what my stash offers right now! Greetings from Germany

  6. I likethis! I may make some this weekend. Will link back to you once I am done and post.. Thanks for the tutorial!