Lady Eleanor Half Doll Pincushion


  • Half doll, "Lady Eleanor", 3 3/4" tall (half dolls)
  • 16" circle of plain chintz or muslin fabric for pincushion ball
  • One 4" circle of matteboard for base of pincushion
  • One piece of matteboard 10" long by 1 1/4" wide for brace
  • Fiberfil for pincushion
  • Lavender grosgrain ribbon 60" long by 3 1/4" wide (cut into two 30" pieces) for dress/overskirt. Optional: piece of silk fabric 30" long by 6" deep (finished size).
  • One piece of vintage lace 6" wide by 5" long for skirt panel
  • 60" of metallic gold lace edging
  • 1 yard of 5/8" wide lavender/green bias cut silk ribbon for ruching at waist (18") and for bow (18")
  • Flower Ribbons: 12" of 1/2" wide sheer ribbon for rosettes; 10" of 7/16" wide lavender ribbon for one violet; 1/2 yard of 1 1/2" wide and 1" wide green wired ribbons by for leaves; 18" of 1" wide pink silk ribbon for two folded roses; 8" of 5/8" wide cream silk ribbon for one 4-petal blossom; 10" of 5/8" wide lavender silk ribbon for one violet; 4" of 7/16" wide yellow silk ribbon for two violet centers; 6" of 5/8" wide creamy pink silk ribbon for one rosette.
  • Helen's book, The Secrets of Fashioning Ribbon Flowers (see shopping section) for instructions on making ribbon flowers and leaves.
  • Optional: in lieu of ribbon flowers use small artificial flowers
  • Crinoline 3" x 3"
  • Seed beads for rosette centers
  • milliners needle, size 10, and white beading thread, size 33
  • scissors
  • long pins
  • tape measure
  • hot glue or tacky glue



  1. Stitch around pincushion fabric circle 1/2" from edge. Do not gather yet.
  2. Make a brace from the 10" length of matteboard by folding in half and bending outer edges so it is self-standing. Clip top corners of brace so it measures about 3/4" wide. Finished height is about 4 1/8". Glue brace to matteboard circle.
  3. Glue matteboard circle and brace to center of wrong side of pincushion fabric. Loosely draw up gathering on fabric.
  4. Tightly pack cavity with fiberfil stuffing. Tighten gathering and secure thread so all stuffing and top of brace are covered.
  5. Stitch half doll to top of gathered pincushion using the sew holes or by stitching tapes through sew holes.
  6. Make the ribbon overskirt by stitching two pieces of wide ribbon together. Cover join and base of skirt with metallic lace edging.
  7. Sew lace panel to center of skirt. Slightly fold skirt ribbon over raw edges of lace and tack fold only at base of skirt.
  8. Gather top of skirt and attach to half doll at waist. Arrange gathers so the front folds cover raw edges of lace panel. Tack the skirt to the pincushion in several hidden places near the top of the skirt.
  9. Cover waist with ruched silk ribbon. Add a silk bow at the back.
  10. Decorate the dress at the waist with the ribbon flowers as suggested below or use artificial flowers.

Ribbon Flowers: two silk ribbon folded roses (p.59/60), one 4-petal blossom (p.31), one silk violet, one wired ribbon violet (p.25), two rosettes (p.30), five small and five large prairie point leaves (p.50/51). Arrange all the ribbon flowers on crinoline and stitch in place. Trim excess crinoline and pin or stitch flower composition to dress.




Half dolls are so charming if sewn onto the top of a plain muslin covered box. Simply stitch her to the top of a heavily padded box lid then decorate the box with exquisite ribbons and ribbon flowers. You can order an oval muslin box from the shopping section.



Copyright 2000. Helen Gibb. All rights reserved.

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