Follow Bobbin and Baste


Last year I was aproached by the team at Handmade magazine about writing up sewing-related projects for their magazine. Naturally I jumped at the chance! Having agreed to producing something, I then had to brainstorm about what to do as my first project. Inspiration came from my fabric stash in the form of a cotton twill with a pop art style print to it. I'd originally bought the fabric to make cushions with, but I thought the large bold print could work well as a pouf. I went back and forth as to what I would call the project, because I actually can't stand the word 'pouf'. It's just wrong. But having done some more Googling, it became apparent that calling it by any other name wouldn't be right - so pouf it is!

I wanted to share with you the project if you are ever inspired to make your own. The fabric options for this project are endless, so it could suit anyone and any room. So without further adieu, here's the instructions below - 


42cm in height x 35cm in circumference.


  • Your choice of fabric - a medium to heavy weight fabric works best such as cotton twill.
  • Matching polyester thread
  • Dressmaking pins
  • 30cm regular zipper in coordinating colour
  • Tracing paper
  • Compass
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

Note: It is recommended that all fabrics are 100 per cent cotton, pre washed and ironed before use. Requirements are based on fabrics 112cm wide. The amount of fabric required will depend on the fabric's pattern and placement of the pattern on the pouf. A 1cm seam allowance has been used on all seams except for a 1.5cm seam allowance on the zipper seam. Please read through the instructions before you begin.


  1. Decide how big you would like your pouf and using a compass draw the circle to that size on tracing paper. Make sure to add an additional 2cm to the diameter to allow for a 1cm seam allowance. I just bought a very cheap compass from a stationery store which did the trick. This pouf is 44.5cm in diameter.


  1. Cut the cirlce out of tracing paper and then pin the circle in place on the fabric and cut out the top of the pouf.
  2. Now you will need to cut out the fabric for the sides of the pouf. It is up to you how high you want your pouf. I cut out mine with a 38cm height which includes the 1cm seam allowance. To determine how long your rectangle of fabric will need to be for the sides, use the following calculation, diameter of the circle x 3.14cm - 2cm seam allowance. The length of the fabric may end up being wider than the fabric you have and that's okay, just cut out another rectangle and sew them together to get the length you need.
  3. Sew the two layers of fabric together usin the drawn line as a guide. Once you have sewn the seam, finish it with an overlocker/serger or zig zag stitch, and then press it flat.

Inserting the zipper

  1. The bottom of the pouf is where you will insert the zipper in a centre seam. Because you will be inserting a zipper you will need to add an additional 1.5cm to the seam edges in the centre. To create this, fold your circle pattern piece in half and place it on the fold of your material 1.5cm away from the edge of the fold. Cut out the half circle and then cut down the middle where the fabric fold is. You will then end up with two half circles. 
  2. Finish the edges of fabric to prevent fraying with either an overlocker/serger, or zig zag stitch.
  3. Measure the zipper from the silver tab at the end to just before the claws finish at the top, and mark the start and end of where the zipper will be inserted onto the fabric using a washable fabric marker.
  4. Sew a 1.5cm seam at either end of the seam up until where you marked the start and end of the zipper. If you're installing a zipper into a dress, it's likely you'll only need to do this at the end of the zipper. Reverse stitch at the ends to make sure the stitching does not loosen.
  5. Open up the seam and press the seams flat on the inside.
  6. Place the zipper under the seam and on the right side hand stitch the zipper in place. Ensure the silver tab is placed just under the end of the seam. When you start hand stitching the first side of the zipper ensure the zipper teeth are completely covered by the seam. It's best to hand stitch using a contrast thread so it's easy to see where you need to rip out the thread later.
  7. After you have hand stitched it in place you can head to the sewing machine to machine stitch the zipper in place. Stitch about 0.5cm from the seam edge and use your zipper foot. When you get to sewing the top and bottom of the zipper, reverse back and forth to strengthen the seam area.
  8. Once you finished sewing around the zipper, use your seam ripper to pull out the basting stitches. To finish off you might like to press the zipper area to ensure it's completely flat.


  1. You will now need to pin the pouf top onto the sides. Once pinned in place, sew the seam using a 1cm seam allowance. Once you have sewn the seam press wth an iron.
  2. Repeat the above step for the bottom of the pouf and wen doing so, keep the zipper closed.


Now your pouf is sewn up, it is ready to be filled. You can choose from a range of fillings - your choice will depend a little on what you want to use the pouf for. It if you want a firmer pouf, use rags and/or pieces of foam. If you want a medium firmness, bean bag filling is best. If you want a softer almost like a pillow, a polyester stuffing will work best.

I hope you enjoy your new pouf! My next project for Handmade magazine comes out next month. Keep an eye out in your local newsagent. I will blog about it soon!