What’s with the tomato?

Dear Sewfie,
Why are so many pin cushions shaped like tomatos?
– Kat

Dear Kat,
In many Renaissance households, people believed that placing a ripe tomato on the mantel when first entering a new home guaranteed future prosperity. Since tomatoes were not available year-round until recently, families moving into new homes often substituted round balls of red fabric stuffed with sawdust or sand. As the traditional held, these little red balls made a nice parking place for metal pins which were very expensive at the time and thus worthy of protecting. The tomato pin cushion is still in use today and has become iconic of the entire sewing community. The tomato pin cushion motif has made its way into many fabric designs, such as this Alexander Henry print – Sew Now, Sew Wow!, and you can even find the ubiquitous red tomato pincushion as body art.

Alexander Henry – Sew Now, Sew Wow!

Sewing Ink

Warm Stitches,


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