Monday, October 10, 2011


Biscornu. I know, I'm a bit strange, but everytime I here the word biscornu, the Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo song pops in to my head! (And you thought it would be Boo because it's almost Halloween.....didn't you!?!!)
Anyway, biscornus seem to be popping up everywhere. I have to admit that although I love the look of them, I have never been brave enough to actually even think about making one.....until now. Goodness knows what possessed me as I usually run a mile from anything that involves 'real' sewing.  Honestly, I'm the Mum who glued on the brownie badges and hemmed school trousers with wundaweb. Sharp needles scare me  almost as much as the going to the dentist!
Anyhoo, for some strange reason I decided to attempt one of these biscornus and I'm so glad I did! They are super easy and look amazing. Biscornus can be used as pin cushions, scissor keepers, Christmas ornaments etc…..the list goes on. They are totally adorable, look extremely complicated to make, but in fact they are so simple that once you start making them, you will be making more than one…..honestly, they are addictive! They make great presents too......people will be amazed at them. They look as though they have taken an age to complete, but only you will know how simple they really are. Just bask in the glory and let the complements roll!

This is how I made mine. I used the Celtic Ornaments chart available here  (just scroll down below the nutcracker cards.)

You will need.

Stitched piece x 2 (Front and back pieces)
Stuffing such as fiberfill
Needle and thread
Two small buttons

Step 1
Backstitch a square around the front design piece. It is important that the backstitching is a square. Your biscornu will not work if this is not a square.

I stitched four squares from the outermost cross stitch.

(For the back piece I used only the outer border from the design.) Backstitch round the back design. This square of backstitching must be exactly the same size as on the front piece otherwise your biscornu pieces will not match up.

The colour that you use to backstitch will be seen, so I would advise you use one of the colours from the design. For this biscornu, I used the dark blue of the border.
Trim any excess fabric, leaving approx. 1- 2cm of fabric from the backstitching line.

Step 2
Find the exact center point on the backstitching line of the back piece.  Place a needle or pin at this center point.

Step 3
Thread a needle with two strands of thread using the same colour as the backstitching line. Make a small knot at the end of the thread. One of the few times you are allowed to make a knot!

Place the corner of the top piece to the (marked) middle of the back piece and bring your needle up through the fabric, right at the corner of the front piece.

Most instructions that I googled tell you to start whip stitching through the backstitching. So, if you’re like me and have absolutely no idea what that means, fear not…it’s really quite easy! Basically, your needle is going underneath the threads of the backstitching and ‘catching’ each stitch. You do not go through the fabric, only the backstitching. I stitched mine going ‘in’ always at the top and ‘out’ the bottom, but do whatever is easier for you.
Check the tension of your stitching, keeping it the same all round. Make sure you only go through each pair of backstitches (front and back) only once.

Continue stitching all the way round.  Sometimes the corners can feel a bit fiddly, but just check that you are in the center of the design and keep going! You will see the design start to take the biscornu shape as you progress.

Stop when you finish side 6.

Step 4
This is where you start to stuff the biscornu. Make sure you push the stuffing right into the corners of your biscornu. Use the blunt end of a pencil, or something similar, to make sure the corners are well stuffed. You really need quite a bit of stuffing to fill it up properly, far more than you would imagine! So stuff, stuff, stuff!

Step 5
Once you have enough stuffing inside, you need to fold in the edges of the last two sides.

Continue to whip stitch to close all the sides.

 This is what it will look like at this stage.

 Step 6
Now you are almost finished, but you need to make the little indentation to give your cushion the classic finish of the biscornu. This is where the buttons come in.

I found the easiest way to attach the buttons was to tie the thread to the bottom button (I used a dark blue one) and then bring the needle up from the underside of the biscornu through the middle and loop through the top button (red in my case) then back down to the bottom button. I squeezed the biscornu while I looped the thread through the buttons several times. I ended the thread with a small knot (yes another one!) on the bottom button, and then buried the end of the thread inside the biscornu.

Voila! Biscornu complete….much easier than anticipated!

It probably took me longer to write the instructions than it did to make the biscornu!
So if you have never attempted one of these little cuties, take your courage in both hands and just do it. You'll be glad you did.

Until next time.....happy (biscornu) stitching!



Mouse said...

well I am amazed you've not done one before .. easy peasy ain't they once you get going and what great instructions you've done for them too :) love the design ... will have a looksie later when got more time :) love mouse xxxx

cucki said...

i really love your sweet..a big well done xx

Freddysmama (Kirstin) said...

I've made several biscornu - you're right, once you've made one, you'll want to make another - and another... The last one I made was a scissor fob for an exchange. Before that, I took part in a biscornu exchange and decided to have a go at a "fifteen" - they're easy too! Just a little more time consuming :)

Love your finishing tutorial - will link to it for the future.

Carol said...

Having never stitched a biscornu, I'm really happy to have such detailed, easy-to-follow directions...thanks so much, Rhona!!

country stitcher said...

I also have never done a biscornu, but with your directions I think I will be giving it a try.
Thank you
Happy Stitching

Beth said...

Thank you so much for such clear instructions and pictures to make this biscornu. I was one that was to afraid as well!!

Tricia said...

What fantastic instructions! I might just get up enough courage to try one now. I definitely have this post bookmarked!!! Thank you!

Lija said...

It's amazing... one of my favourite designs from your website... and i always wandered what biscornu's were used for.

Fiona said...

nice one Rhona, well done o making your first Biscornu & for writing this fab tutorial!!

Lynn said...

Thanks Rhona! Like you, the thought of real sewing scares the pants off me! I've never tried one of these cuties but it looks fairly simple so I'll have to give it a go. Yours turned out fabulous!

Mrs. Know Nothing said...

What a pretty biscornu. Love your tutorial. I have only made two of these, but enjoyed making each one. Had to stop myself before the addiction set in.

Terri said...

I see the biscornu bug has bitten you! I have only done about 15 of them and they ARE addictive! Your's is SO cute!!

jayne@~an eye for threads~ said...

lol love the association of bippidy boppidy boo and what a great tutorial.
Be always in stitches.