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Stuffed squares

Stuffed squares are sometimes used to create quilts and are known as Baby’s Puffs. Each square is basically a small, fat quilt, and finished squares can be easily joined together in rows and patterns. The Basic Method described can be used to make rectangular or any other tessellating shape.

Material and Design Notes

  • In the sample shown, the top fabric is 2cm (¾in) larger than the backing fabric. The top fabric can be cut larger to allow more stuffing to be inserted.
  • To create flatter puffs, cut the top fabric only 1cm (3⁄₈in) larger than your backing fabric.
  • Prepare the stuffing before you start sewing so all the puffs end up the same. Use polyester stuffing for washable pieces.
  • Keep the seam allowances accurate to enable the puffs to fit together properly.

Basic method

1). Cut base squares 2cm (¾in) larger than the finished size you require. (In this sample each base square is cut to 8cm [31⁄₈in].) Cut top squares 2–3cm (¾–11⁄₈in) larger than the base squares. (In this sample each top square is 10cm [4in].) Press the fabric squares.

2). Take a base and top square; match the first two corners together and pin. Pin the second corners together, creating a pleat in the centre. Fold the pleat towards the second corner so it is easy to sew over.

Basic method Stuffed squares A

3). Using a 1cm (3⁄₈in) seam allowance, start sewing at corner 1 and sew over the pleat to corner 2.

4). Pivot at corner 2, then line up the top and base fabric so the corners meet and create the pleat. You can pin if required but it is faster to hold the fabric in place as you go. Continue until three sides of the square have been sewn.

Basic method Stuffed squares B

5). Leave the needle down and lift the presser foot up. Push the stuffing into the puff and then use a pin to hold down the pleat. Sew across the last side, sealing in the stuffing.

Basic method Stuffed squares C

Note : If your prefer, you can prepare and pin the three sides of the square before you start sewing, then remove the puff from the machine to stuff, before returning it to the machine to sew up the last side. This method may work better for particularly slippery fabrics. To make sewing the puffs together less fiddly you can make and sew them together in sections leaving one side open, then stuff a whole row or block at a time.

Joining puffs

Join the puffs together in rows, then in small sections to make a large ‘puff’ quilt. It is important to ensure that all the puffs are the same size – if your seam allowances have varied then the puffs will vary in size and won’t fit together perfectly.

1). Place two puffs facing together and match the corners. Pin in place.

Joining puffs B

2). Sew with the base fabric facing up and sew along the previous stitching line to prevent the stitching from showing on the front.

Joining puffs C

Puffs in patchwork

In this sample, one puff has been used as the centre of a log cabin-style patchwork panel. Follow the diagram to construct the block.

Puffs in patchwork A

Puffs in patchwork B

Joining puffs A

Fabric Manipulation
150 CREATIVE Sewing Techniques

Ruth Singer