A “pouf” is a marshmallow-like ottoman. They’ve been the rage in decorating for a few years now, bringing unexpected color, shape, texture, and fun into a room. We have a full-size, extra cushy square pouf project you can try for your own trendy decorating statement, but in the meantime, we miniaturized one as a clever pincushion. Ours uses Layer Cake squares as an easy way to gather a wonderful mixture of perfectly coordinating color and pattern, but the pieces needed are quite tiny – so bring out your scrap bag and dive in for all your favorites!

Make a pile of mini pouf pincushions for all your sewing friends. Then accessory them with some cute straight pins, like the Dritz Flower Head Pins shown above.

Our mini pouf pincushion finishes at approximately 2″ high x 3¾” in diameter.

If you have fun with this little pincushion, you might also like our Three-Tier Pincushion Stack.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • As mentioned above, we used 10″ x 10″ Layer Cake squares to make things quick and easy and to give us a wide range of pretty, coordinated prints to mix and match. Each pincushion uses EIGHT fabrics. 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
  • Small handful of 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

Getting Started

  1. From EACH of the EIGHT coordinating fabrics, cut ONE 2″ x 6″ strip.
  2. In addition, from ONE of the fabrics, cut TWO 4″ x 4″ squares for the top and bottom “lids.”
    NOTE: Of course you could use two additional coordinating fabrics from which to cut the two lids.
  3. Arrange the strips in a row, aligning the 6″ sides. Mix and match to create an interesting patchwork of color, pattern, and motif size.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Continue in this manner until all eight strips are sewn together to form one panel. Press all the tiny seam allowances open and flat.
  4. Fold the panel in half, right sides together, aligning the last two 6″ raw edges. Pin in place.
  5. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together to create a tube open on the top and bottom. Press the final seam allowance open
  6. Turn the tube right side out. Press back the raw edge along both the top and bottom ¼”.
  7. 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 tube, going in and out with your needle through the folded edge. This is a hand gathering stitch.
  8. 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.
  9. Your tube now looks like a little cup. Turn it over and stuff it with fiberfill or wool roving through the large open end (the top).
  10. Use the hand sewing needle to sew a loose running stitch all around the top just as you did around the bottom.
  11. Pull up the stitches, again – just as you did above, adjusting the stuffing as necessary to get a smooth look.
  12. 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 each time until the pouf has tightened-down to approximately 2″ deep and each center hole is quite small as shown in the photo below. Knot the thread and trim it flush with the top of the pouf.
  13. Find the two 4″ x 4″ squares. Press back each edge of each square ¼”.
  14. Then, fold back all four corners of each square and press, creating two octagons.
  15. Place one octagon over the gathered top of the pouf. Pin in place, aligning the corners of the octagon with the seams of the pouf.
  16. Hand sew in place with tiny, neat slip stitches.
  17. Repeat with the remaining square, turning it into a second octagon to position and stitch over the bottom of the pouf.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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1 year ago

I really like the look of this pin cushion. But I was wondering: On the top side, unless I stick my pins inside the dime-size opening in the center, I’ll be sticking my pins through 2 layers of fabric. Is that OK, or might it be a problem?

Liz Johnson
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Janice

Hi Janice – the entire pincushion is just one layer. You seam together the strips, fold and stitch into a tube, then cinch the top and bottom. We used and recommend standard quilting cotton, which is quite lightweight – so no problem inserting your pins.

Lynn Wilson
Lynn Wilson
2 years ago

Thank GOD! I haven’t found a big enough pin cushion in years. you just made my day!

Liz Johnson
Liz Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Wilson

Hi Lynn – Ha ha!! that’s excellent, we are happy to help 🙂

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