A "pouf" is a marshmallow-like miniature ottoman. They are all the rage in decorating these days, bringing unexpected color, shape, texture and fun into a room. For this week's series of You Can Do It! projects, we didn't think a full size pouf really fit our super-easy criteria, but... a mini version as a pincushion works perfectly. We used Layer Cake squares, from Kate Spain's Serenade collection for Moda, to give us a wonderful mixture of color and pattern, but this would also be an awesome project for some of your favorite scraps.
Make a pile of mini pouf pincushions for all the sewing friends on your holiday gift list. Accessory them with some cute straight pins, like these flat button head pins by Dritz.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any sewing machine (we recommend the Janome Sewist 525LE)
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional, but helpful as all the seam allowances are ¼")
Fabric and Other Supplies
We used a Layer Cake, which makes things quick and easy. Each pincushion uses EIGHT coordinating Layer Cake squares. If you choose not to use pre-cuts, you'll need to cut pieces as shown below in the Getting Started section: eight 2" x 6" strips and two 4" x 4" squares: we used a Serenade Layer Cake by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics in the following prints:
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Feathers in Autumn
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Foliage in Sky
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Foliage in Pebble
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Thistle in Autumn
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Thistle in Pebble
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Kaleidoscope in Sienna
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Kaleidoscope in Sky
Serenade by Kate Spain for Moda: Butterflies in Autumn
- Small handful of Poly-Fil® polyester fiberfill or wool roving
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- From each of the EIGHT layer cake squares, cut ONE 2" x 6" strip.
- In addition, from one of the squares cut TWO 4" x 4" squares for the top and bottom "lids." We used Kaleidoscope in Sienna.
- Arrange the strips in a row, aligning the 6" sides. Mix and match to create an interesting patchwork of color and pattern.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Working from left to right, sew the strips together. To do this, place strip one and strip two right sides together along one 6" side. Pin in place. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch together. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to keep an exact stitching line.
- Place strip three right sides together with the remaining raw edge of strip two (which is actually now strip one/two). Pin in place and stitch together, again using a ¼" seam allowance.
- Continue in this manner until all eight strips are sewn together to form one panel. Press all the seams open.
- Fold the panel in half, right sides together, aligning the last two 6" raw edges. Pin in place.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch together to create a cylinder. Press the final seam open
- Turn the cylinder right side out. Press under the raw edge along both the top and bottom ¼".
- Thread the hand sewing needle and knot the end (use a single thread not a double thread). Sew a simple loose running stitch all around the bottom of the cylinder, going in and out with your needle through the folded edge.
- When you get back around to where you started, pull the thread tight, cinching the opening down to about a dime size hole. Knot the thread to secure the opening at this size.
- Your cylinder now looks like a little cup. Turn it over and stuff it with fiberfill or wool roving through the open end (the top).
- Use the hand sewing needle to sew a loose running stitch all around the top end just as you did around the bottom.
- Pull up the stitches, again - just as you did above, adjusting the stuffing as necessary to get a smooth look.
- Knot your thread to secure the stitches, but do not cut the threads. Instead, push the needle through the pouf from the top to the bottom. Catch the edge of the gathered opening on the bottom, then push the needle back up from the bottom to the top. Repeat this three or four times, drawing up the excess thread until the pouf is approximately 2" deep. Knot the thread and trim it flush with the top of the pouf.
- Find the two 4" x 4" squares. Press under each edge of each square ¼".
- Then, fold back the corners of each square and press, creating two octagons.
- Place one octagon over the gathered top of the pouf. Pin in place, matching the corners of the octagon with the seams of the pouf.
- Hand sew in place with tiny, neat slip stitches.
- Repeat for the second octagon, positioning it over the bottom of the pouf. Slip stitch in place as above.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler