Posted by Super Mom No Cape on October 31st, 2014
Thimble pips are certainly not a new idea. From my research, I discovered that they go back at least one hundred years if not more. The original ones were made using cardboard or card stock as a base. Many were very elaborately embroidered or embellished with beads and lace. And they go by several different names: thimble buds, precious pods, precious buds, pipkins, pinch purse, clam shells and Kai No Kuchi. But as I mentioned in this post, thimble pips is my favorite as it’s such fun to say. Since the last time I posted about them, I’ve been busy making more pips!
The following instructions can be used to make any size pip you want to make.
For this example we are making a 2.5” pip (pictured above in the very back) that will comfortably hold 3 thimbles with room for more.
To make the pattern for the pip:
Draw two perpendicular lines in the middle of a piece of paper (lines that intersect at a 90 degree angle like this:
Divide 2.5 inches in half, giving you a 1.25. (To make a different sized pip… substitute the size you want to make for 2.5″ then divide that in half…. for example: 1.5″ divided by 2 equals 3/4″… 2″ divided by 2 equals 1″, etc)
On the horizontal line mark 1.25” on either side of the center point. Label these points as A and B.
Set your compass for 2.5 inches. Place the needle of the compass on A. Trace an arc that overlaps the vertical line.
Place the needle of the compass on B. Trace another arc.
You now have the pattern for the outside of the thimble pip.
To make the pattern for the inside of the thimble pip, decrease the compass setting by 1/8”. Once again place the needle on A and trace an arc.
Place the needle on B, trace a second arc.
That completes the pattern for the inside of the thimble pip.
If you are going to be making more than one thimble pip, you may want to make a plastic template that you can use over and over again. To make the templates place the pattern under the plastic container you are repurposing and trace.
As this post is already very photo intensive, I have provided more info on the various types of plastic containers that can be upcycled to make the pip forms here.
Cut out the plastic templates with a pair of scissors. Label the templates as large and small.
Next trace around the templates to make the forms that will be used to make the thimble pips.
You will need three of the outside and three of the inside.
Place one of the large plastic forms on the wrong side of the exterior fabric. Trace around it three times. Make sure to leave at least 1″ between traced patterns.
In the above example, I centered the form over the embroidered fabric. You could also fussy cut fabric as I did on the floral pips pictured in the photo at the top of this post.
Cut out leaving a ½” seam allowance.
Repeat with the smaller form on the lining fabric.
Spread glue evenly over the forms.
Place them glue side down on a piece of batting. Do this for each of the 6 plastic forms.
This is a good opportunity to use up some of those batting scraps you’ve been saving.
Allow to dry.
Trim away the excess batting using the edge of the forms as a guide.
Next, sew a running stitch approximately 1/8” in from the edge of the fabric that you cut out earlier. Please note, it is important that you thread your needle with enough thread to go all the way around the fabric.
Make a straight stitch across the point as shown in the photo below.
Place one of the large forms, batting side down on the wrong side of the fabric.
Pull the thread ends until the fabric fits snugly over the form. Tie off the ends. Snip the thread close to the knot leaving ¼” to ½” tail.
Thread your needle again with a generous amount of thread. Sew in a zig zag back and forth like you’re lacing up a corset.
This will help hold everything neatly in place. When you come to the points on each end, fold them neatly and secure in place with a couple of tiny stitches.
Repeat the above steps until you have all the larger and smaller forms covered.
When finished you will have three larger out and three smaller inner fabric covered forms.
Place the outer and inner pieces together, wrong sides facing with the small pieces centered on the larger.
Stitch the small inner form to the larger outer using a ladder/blind stitch.
Next, hold two of these with the small forms facing each other and sew together along the edge of the large forms using a ladder/blind stitch from one point of the arc to the other point.
For the next step, holding that third oval in position while sewing it in place can be a little bit tricky. To make it easier tack one corner in place like this:
Then start sewing from the opposite end.
Remove the knot and stitch the corners together securely.
Sew up the open side about ½”. At that point bar tack it together.
This will help ensure that the stress of opening and closing doesn’t wear the fabric and cause it to tear in the future.
Here is the completed 2.5 inch thimble pip:
And here’s close up of the thimble pips pictured at the top of this post:
As you can see, I fussy cut the fabric for several of them. Five of them have been embellished with embroidery.
I’m going to turn the green with gold swirls and the poinsettia pips into Christmas ornaments by adding a pretty hanger and perhaps a tassel.
For the white thimble pip in the center of the photo, I embroidered ribbon roses, leaves and french knots on the white satin fabric. Then I wrapped a plastic ring with satin ribbon, sewed a bow to the top of the ring and attached it to the thimble pip with the same 1/8″ satin ribbon I used to do the ribbon embroidery. Wouldn’t this make a pretty little container to “wrap” a pair of earrings or a necklace.
I’m currently working on creating another fun project using thimble pips. If it turns out as pretty as what I have pictured in my head, I’ll be sharing that in a future post.
In the meantime, if you make a pip using this tutorial, I’d loved to see a photo of it!