Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 37: how to join panels with insertion stitch and attach the pincushion

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. In this post I’ll explain how to join panels with insertion stitch on the etui, and attach the pincushion that I previously made. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ***  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m now at a rather crucial part in this project – the four heart panels need to be joined together with insertion stitch, so that they make one whole piece, but not so tightly joined that the etui doesn’t open loosely and lay flat. No pressure, then!

This is what the etui looks like in Inspirations magazine issue 95, to give you an idea of what we’re aiming for (showing both the front and back):

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre how to do insertion stitch

It looks, from this picture, as if the insertion stitch starts off tightly done near the point, and gets wider further out, but that’s not actually the case. The stitch needs to be done to an even size all the way along the join. The stitch kind of ‘relaxes’ when it doesn’t need to stretch, as long as you don’t stitch it too tight in the first place – that’s the trick to doing this stitch.

In the instructions, it says to make a spacer from 1/8 inch thick card, to place between the two panels as you join them with insertion stitch. I reckon that if you only used a piece of card this thick, then the panels would buckle when you tried to close it up later, as the stitching would be too tight to work. Think about it – inside this etui, there are pockets on all heart panels that are lined, and beaded, and a pincushion 3/8 inch thick, and scissors and rulers in the pockets….that’s going to need more than 1/8 inch ‘give’ to work properly. So, I made my card spacer from four layers of mount board taped together, so that mine measured 3/8 inch in total. This worked for me. I used quilting bulldog clips to hold the two panels in place with the card spacer sandwiched in between. Make sure that the spacer is positioned right up to the edges of the two panels, as, if it slips further back, you’ll be stitching across a smaller gap than you intend, which would make the stitching too tight later.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre how to do insertion stitch

You start the insertion stitch at the bottom tip of the heart shape each time, using Perle 8 (I used 4 feet of thread for each join, and it was plenty). Make sure you have secured the end well first. I spaced my stitches a quarter of an inch apart along each side – quite spacious really. If you do your stitches closer together, then start with more thread in your needle, as it is hard to join in new lengths part way along. I used a tapestry 26 needle, but a curved needle would have worked well too.

Insertion stitch is like doing buttonhole stitch, one stitch on each panel at a time, with a knot incorporated after each buttonhole. After doing a few stitches, and feeling like I needed a couple of extra hands to do it successfully, I devised this way of working – wedging the panels between my knees, and stitching away from myself:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre how to do insertion stitch

After joining the front panel to one side panel, and then the back panel to one side panel, I positioned them like this (below) to join them into one piece. Make sure you keep checking which panel should be joined to the next one, and which way up they should face, as it’s easy to go wrong here:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre how to do insertion stitch

Once all the insertion stitching had been completed, the etui did lay nice and flat, and relaxed (not tight). I’ve laid the spacer card in front of the etui here to show how much card was needed, and what the stitching looks like after it’s taken out.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre how to do insertion stitch

This shows my etui opened out – you can see that the insertion stitch opens out gradually as it gets further from the centre point. It’s now that you stitch the pincushion into position. If you’d have done it earlier, it would have got in the way of doing the insertion stitch, and the spacer card wouldn’t have fitted properly. Work out exactly where you want the pincushion to be, alongside the tape measure pocket, then securely join a thread length to the panel under where the pincushion will sit, then run the needle behind the two buttonhole bars that you made, to hold the pincushion on. This gets a bit messy, but no-one will see!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre how to do insertion stitch

This is what it looks like once the pincushion is in position, and the insertion stitch is finished.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre how to do insertion stitch

Not much more to do, now!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~  ***  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.


Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.


Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation



6 thoughts on “Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 37: how to join panels with insertion stitch and attach the pincushion”

    1. Thanks! Usually, Carolyn’s text is very detailed, but I think for this one, as it was for a magazine and not a book, the instructions, especially for the assembly, have been abbreviated. So sometimes they are not as clear as I’d expect. But I got there in the end!

  1. Wow! It’s brilliant! I have been slowly collecting the more difficult-to-find supplies needed for this project but before starting I wanted to be convinced that the completed project could end up looking as good as the designer’s version (the original always looks decent, but you sometimes find that when someone else tries to make it it doesn’t work somehow – especially when lots of assembly is necessary). You have very much convinced me that this project is achievable and that it is worth my time to try and make it myself.


    1. Aww, thank you! Yes, I know what you mean. It can be disappointing sometimes to attempt something lovely from a book or magazine, and find that it’s impossible to achieve one like the image! But this project, with time spent on it, does seem to come out just like the magazine one. The only thing with mine was that I didn’t want to spend the money on all of the recommended threads, as some of them are used in tiny amounts, so I used mainly Anchor stranded cotton, but I’m still really pleased with it so far. If you choose your thread colours carefully, you can get a very close approximation to the original. I think the materials packs are still available from Inspirations, too, but they’re pricey.

  2. This project really is a little gem Janet and it’s looking fabulous now you are putting all the panels together. I was particularly interested to read your construction tips regarding the insertion stitch and creating enough give in the folds. I do enjoy reading about all the ins and outs of a complex design like this! 😍

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: