Tortoise Pincushion


6″ square of felt

8″ square of fabric

Toy stuffing

Black embroidery thread

12″ length of lace or decorative trim

Download Tortoise Pattern Templates

Tip: You could also enlarge this pattern on a photocopier and make the tortoise as a soft toy.


1. Cut out body shapes and head shapes from felt.

2. Cut 6″ diameter circle from fabric.

3. Place felt body shapes together and using double thread, stitch body shapes together using a very small running stitch and a tiny (less than ⅛″) seam.

4. Place head shapes together and using double thread, stitch head shapes together using back stitch and a tiny (less than ⅛″) seam. Leave neck edge open.

5. Turn head shape through. I use a knitting needle, which makes it a little easier to turn through.

6. Pull body shapes apart at the centre so that you are able to cut a 1″ slit in the centre of one body shape for the opening for stuffing.

7. Stuff small amounts of toy stuffing into the body through the opening. Stuff foot areas first. I use a knitting needle to gently poke the stuffing into the foot areas. Stuff body shape fairly softly. Slip stitch the opening closed.

8. Stuff the head using small amounts of toy stuffing at a time and use a knitting needle to push the stuffing inside and stuff firmly right up to the opening. Her head should feel quite solid.

9. For tortoise shell, turn edges of circle in ¼″ approximately and stitch with a small running stitch using a long double thread (or strong thread). Make sure you secure the beginning of this running stitch with a firm knot as you will be pulling this thread very firmly later.

10. Pull on this thread to begin gathering tortoise shell and at the same time begin to stuff. As I stuff I coax the toy stuffing away from the centre and into the gathered area. (remember to break up stuffing into small pieces)

11. Continue in this manner, stuffing and pulling up gathering thread until you have a nice from ball and gathers are tightly closed.

12. As the stuffing becomes complete continue to sew around and through gathers, pulling on the thread as you do so. Secure thread.

13. Slip stitch tortoise shell to body.

14. Pin head to tortoise shell and slip stitch neatly in place.

15. Slip stitch gathered lace or decorative trim around bottom of shell.

16. Gather lace or decorative trim around top of tortoise head to make a small headdress.

17. Sew eyes with french knots and use back stitch to embroider a small smile.


  1. sandrine chambonniere says:

    trop jolie cette tortue merçi bisous

  2. hoooo j’adore elle est trop mignonne,
    merci pour le tuto
    belle journée

  3. trop mignonnes ces tortues ! Merci
    Bizzzes de l’Abeille du Jardinoux

  4. trop mignonne ,merci pour le tuto !

  5. How long have I known you, and you kept this a secret! Will be making with grand daughter next week!

  6. luv it and so will my friend…thanx so much

  7. This is SO DARN CUTE!!! Thanks for sharing how to make them! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! ~tina

  8. I love it

  9. Hi, Lesley! Those are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us! A big hug for you!

  10. Just finished one. thanks for the tutorial :O)

  11. anne-marieK says:

    Merci pour ce gentil tuto qui me plaît beaucoup.

  12. Moltes gràcies, la faré!!!

  13. So lovely!

  14. Saludos desde Costa Rica. Linda la tortuga, gracias por el tutorial.

  15. Muy original…muchas gracias.

  16. very sweet – thank you for the pattern and the tutorial 🙂

  17. pascaline says:

    merci pour ce tuto en photos!
    bravo , les tortues sont magnifiques!

  18. Muchas gracias, son muy simpáticas. Saludos también desde España.

  19. Dawn Caines says:

    They are sooooooooo cute!!! thank you for the pattern xxxx

  20. Mª Victoria says:

    Muchas gracias, son preciosas.
    Besos desde Málaga (España)
    Mª Victoria