pouf tutorial


time for you to make a pouf! here’s the recipe:

about a yard of fabric, or a bunch of good-sized scraps (i used embroidered linen and wide-wale cotton corduroy)
2 to 4 pounds of stuffing
fusible interfacing*

sewing machine
hand-sewing needle
tailor’s ham

cooking time
an hour or two, depending on your sewing and stuffing skills

finished size
approximately 17″ across by 9″ tall

i’m going to assume you can sew relatively well, and that you know common sewing terminology and whatnot.

first off, grab the pattern for the top/side piece. enlarge to the measurements written on the pattern (should be 200%). cut six of these from your fabric.*

for the bottom pattern piece, draw a circle with a 17″ diameter. cut one of these from your fabric.*

* if you’re using lighter-weight or loosely-woven fabric for your pouf, i suggest that you add fusible interfacing to the back of your fabric. heavy-weight or upholstery fabrics shouldn’t need the interfacing.

time to start sewing!


pair up your top pieces and sew each pair together.


sew the remaining seams like the first three, but be sure to leave an opening in one of the edges.


the opening should be in the side portion of the piece, and it should be big enough for your hand to fit through it. this is going to be the opening through which you place the stuffing.


clip the curves, and press the seams open. a tailor’s ham will help with pressing the curves open.


fold your fabric circle in half, then into thirds. mark the half/third edges.


pin the marked parts of the circle to the seams of the top/side piece.


sew the top to the circle, all the way around.


clip the circle or finish with a serger.


turn right side out and stuff it. stuff it and stuff it and stuff it, handful by handful, making sure each curve is filled. really, stuff the hell out of it. when you think it’s stuffed enough, pin the opening and try it out. chances are you may need to keep stuffing it.


once it’s truly completely stuffed, sew the opening closed using whatever stitch works for you. i used a ladder stitch so the stitches would be invisible.


you are now DONE.


prop your feet up!


or sit on it! your choice.


how about YOU make some skulls?

i said i’d do it, so i’m doin’ it. you wanna make some stuffed fabric skulls for Dia de los Muertos? please, be my guest!

first, grab the pattern:

trace it on to your fabric. cut two of the side piece, and one of the front/back.
i cut the front/back on the bias this time for funsies. if you cut it with the weave, then you may need to notch it a little when pinning the pieces for sewing.


take one side piece and align it with the bottom of the front/back piece.


pin all the way around and sew, using about a 1/4″ seam.



do the same with the second side piece.


trim/pink the curves. turn right side out and stuff. thread a needle and sew a running stitch around the bottom, turning under the raw edges as you sew.


pull the stitches tight, closing the open end. take a few extra stitches for added security. no one’s gonna see ’em once you’re done anyway.


voila! you may now decorate your skull. here’s the front, with part of the side showing:


and here’s the side:


and here’s one i just finished painting:


have fun!

olive crafting

one sooper-seekrit project: DONE. and since the person for whom this project was created says that he doesn’t read this blog, i can post the results. [though if he IS reading this, he can’t blame me for ruining the surprise. hee!]


i saw this knitted olive project at Cut Out + Keep, and decided that would be a nice little vday gift for my husband. instead of knitting, however, i thought i’d crochet, since i don’t crochet as much as i used to anymore. i certainly don’t want my crocheting skills to deteriorate. use it or lose it, right?


since i didn’t have instructions for crocheting these little guys, i winged it and figured it out by trial-and-error. my favorite crochet stitch is half-double, so that’s what i used for the olives. so here’s a (hopefully not too confusing) rundown of the project:

berroco softwist yarn in olive green
a square of red felt
size D crochet hook
a jar with a lid
a label for the jar

ch 3, join chain to form a circle
ch 2, then 5 hdc into middle of circle, join round
ch 2, then [2 hdc into one st, 1 hdc]*, repeat* to end of round, join round
ch 2, [hdc, hdc, 2 hdc into one st]*, repeat* to end of round, join round
ch 2, hdc each st to end of round, join round
ch 2, [hdc, then decrease by either skipping a stitch or doing one hdc that uses the next two stitches]*, repeat* to end of round, join round, fasten off
push yarn tails into the completed olive
cut a rectangle of felt about 1″ x 2.5″. starting at a short end, roll the rectangle into a tube and insert this rolled “pimento” into the opening of the olive.
voila! one pimento-stuffed olive done.

YMMV, as far as the stitches go. they don’t have to be exact – goodness knows mine weren’t.

when you have enough to fill your jar, then make a label to complete the project. the knitted project called for a label saying “olive you”, but since my hubby and i say “olive juice” (i saw it in an old Happy Days episode when i was a kid! Fonzie told Richie to muth “olive juice” at some girl at a party or dance or something, i swear), i did that.


the frame is scanned from a Dover copyright-free book, and the rest of the layout was completed in MS Publisher.


my jar isn’t quite full. there are 11 olives in there. i was using a leftover ball o’ yarn and i ran out. whoops!

so you want to sew?

Shauna asked me to provide a list of items a beginning sewer might need, so here goes (any additional input would be appreciated!)


  • sewing machine – if you’re just starting out, you really only need something that has straight stitch and zig-zag, and can handle the fabric that you’ll be working with
  • needles for the sewing machine – to match the type of fabric you’re sewing. change them often!
  • scissors – with sharp blades, preferably a set of two: small snippers for clipping threads and a bigger pair for fabric (that will ONLY ever be used on fabric!). optional: pinking shears for quick-and-dirty seam finishing
  • hand-sewing needles – get the variety pack
  • thread – i’d say “DUH”, but there are a lot of thread choices, which can make it confusing. i’d pick the “all-purpose” type (cotton-wrapped polyester) to start, a spool of black and a spool of white.
  • bobbins – make sure you have enough extra bobbins filled with thread so you don’t have to interrupt your sewing flow when the bobbin thread runs out.
  • seam ripper – because you are going to make mistakes, no matter what your sewing skill level might be
  • pins (and a pin cushion or a magnetic pin holder) – the basic ball-head type, plus a range of safety pins
  • marking implements – fade-away or wash-out marker are my top choices, then chalk
  • measuring tape and a small ruler – measure twice, cut once!
  • steam iron – because you really do need to press those seams and hems

there are a million other optional items (snap-setting tool, point turner, stiletto, elastic guides – you get the idea), but nothing i can think of that’s absolutely necessary for a beginner. did i leave out anything?

hair curler sewing tutorial

one of my friends asked for directions for the hair curlers i made this weekend, so here goes…


ingredients for one curler:
a scrap of cotton fabric, at least 4″ X 9″ in size
a small amount of stuffing the curler (i use polyester)
a button
some thread


a sewing machine, preferably with a zipper foot attachment
a hand-sewing needle

baking time:
around 10 minutes at intermediate skill level

first, cut a 4″ X 9″ rectangle from a piece of scrap fabric.


fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together. sew 4″ along long edge using 1/4″ seam.


fold the small end together (the end where you started your stitching).


sew across the end. [alternately, you could hand-sew this end instead, using a running stitch and gathering it by pulling up on the thread]


turn right side out and stuff up to the top of that initial 4″ seam.


once it’s stuffed, sew opening closed as close to the 4″ mark as possible.


using the tail-end of the thread, sew a running stitch over the previous stitches and gather. [alternately, this opening could be sewn shut and gathered by hand]


fold the other short edge over 1/4″, then fold a long side over about an inch.


fold the remaining long edge over, turning its edge under 1/4″ as well.


sew over the last edge you turned over, then along the short edge, then back down the other side.


sew a buttonhole on the end. i like a buttonhole going the length of the curler. YMMV.


cut open the buttonhole.


sew a button to the end of the stuffed portion.


voila! a curler!


special bonus – a messy curler-head: