Tomato Pincushions Have A Symbolic Meaning That Dates Back To Victorian Times

Let me ask you a question: Do you like to sew? Sadly, I have to admit that I'm not that great at it. I can do it, but the results are... rather questionable.

But if you're an avid sewer, you might enjoy this lesson in sewing history. We're talking about the pincushion here. I bet you'll learn a thing or two.

Since you like to sew, I can imagine you have at least one pincushion.


Am I right? It's a staple, that's for sure. After all, that's where you store all your pins and needles that are essential for completing many sewing projects.

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So what does a pincushion usually look like?


Most of the time, it's shaped like a tomato. But have you ever wondered why that is so? Well, I'm going to tell you all about it. Grab a seat and get comfortable.

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The history of the pincushion dates back to Victorian times.

Unsplash | Siora Photography

The obvious reason for its invention was to store pins and needles. But it didn't look like a tomato then. Instead, it resembled dolls, birds, and prettily packaged boxes.

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However, those weren't exactly that desirable by the ladies of the Victorian era.

Unsplash | Michele Seghieri

They wanted something pretty to display in the parlor room. And a tomato seemed like the perfect fit. I bet you're wondering why? I'm going to tell you right now.

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See, there's a myth surrounding the tomato.

Unsplash | Jonathan Beckman

According to tradition, placing a tomato on the mantel of a brand new home ensured prosperity by warding off evil spirits. Huh! That's so interesting. Isn't it? Now it's starting to make more sense, no?

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This fact explains it even further.

Unsplash | Luis Tosta

When tomatoes were out of season, people had to improvise. So in turn, they simply used red material, some sawdust, and some creativity to make a fake tomato. Aha! See where this is going here?

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Do you get what I'm trying to say?

Giphy | HBO

This is why making pincushions that resembled the humble and prosperous tomato fit right in. And that's how it all started. Who knew? Ha, ha! I honestly would have never guessed that on my own.

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Isn't it funny how things work out sometimes?

Instagram | @morningswithmasonneedlework

Nowadays, we just pick up that trusted pincushion that looks like a cute little tomato and never give it a second thought. But when you dig deeper there is an interesting history that's worth checking out.

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Nowadays, there are so many cool designs of the original tomato-shaped pincushion.

I bet the Victorian ladies would be pretty jealous of us, huh? If stitching makes you happy, I think you're going to love these little guys here that one person made.

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Check out this vintage tomato pincushion here.

Isn't it so cute or what? Wouldn't it be so cool if you had one that got passed down from your grandma or any other relative? I think that would be so special indeed.

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Wow, look at this pincushion collection here.

Instagram | @primitiveheartstrings

I have to admit this is pretty impressive. I love how this lady stores hers in a big jar like this. I'm pretty much digging this whole vibe she has created. How about you?

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Awe, look at this fantastic display. Isn't it absolutely the cutest?

The tomato pincushions and the pillows are giving me all the good vibes here. If I was an avid sewer, I bet you can appreciate this sweet esthetic, no?

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Oh my goodness, look at this epic pile.

This photo is tomato pincushions galore, ha, ha! I don't think I've seen that many of them in one place before. They almost look like they are real tomatoes. Be careful and don't eat any of them.

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So will you look at a pincushion in a totally different light now?

Instagram | @dishsisters_janery

I sure will. Perhaps I will even make some extra ones and give them out to loved ones as good-luck gifts. Don't you think that's a good idea?

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