Our weather-beaten and well-loved poufs came from our first kid-free holiday after Max was born. We were living in Ireland at the time and had decided to spend Christmas in Málaga with my family flying in to join us.
With Tangier, just a boat ride away, Brad and I decided to head over for a few days on our own. It certainly was easier to explore the narrow alleys of the Petit Socco and walk up the staircases of the Medina without a stroller.
We drank mint tea, ate tagine and rocked the casbah. We also did some shopping and came home with two leather poufs.
The joy of Poufs
Those two poufs were probably the most useful piece of furnishing that we owned. Here’s just a short list of reasons why poufs have become an indispensable part of our living room decor.
- They are so easy to move. The poufs were literally the only piece of furniture that we brought with us when we moved back to the Pacific Northwest.
- Perfect for storage. Homemade poufs can be filled with pretty much anything. The Tangier sales pitch included crumpled newspaper as an option. Ours have been filled with old blankets, spare throw rugs and my stash of fabric. All of which have cycled through storage in the pouf and back out again without any particular issues.
- Easier than sitting on the floor. The problem with couches is that you sink into them, then don’t use any muscles to hold yourself up. The problem with sitting directly on the floor is that it tends to lead to poor posture. Sitting on a pouf solves both of those issues.
- Ottoman: Poufs are often used as an ottoman, perfect for putting up your feet and relaxing.
- Lots of fun! Our poufs have been used to build endless numbers of forts, towers and other living room creations. They are flexible furniture that is fun!
After ten years of play… and a bit of use as a cat scratching post, our poufs needed to be replaced. Here is how to make simple homemade poufs using 100% cotton drop cloths as an affordable and rugged material.
- Fabric: I recommend using 100% cotton canvas drop cloths. I always wash and dry my fabric before use to take care of any shrinkage. That includes drop cloths.
- Notions: A zipper at least 12-inches long and thread to match.
- Stuffing: Poufs can be stuffed with whatever you have on hand. I’ve used my poufs as storage for old curtains, blankets and wool throw rugs. Mostly I use it for my sewing stash. If you don’t happen to have any of those things, find old t-shirts and other clothes, then rip them to make a dense, fluffy batting. The only trick to using random scraps as fabric for filling it to make sure the fabric used to make the poufs is thick enough to hide folds and bunching in the stuffing.
- Start by cutting the fabric:
- The side of the pouf: One rectangle 56-inches long and 12-inches wide.
- The top of the pouf: One circle 17-inches in diameter. I traced around a large canning pot lid, then added another inch to make it wide enough.
- Bottom of the pouf: Two semi-circles with an 18-inch diameter.
- Sew the two semi-circles together, inserting the zipper in the middle. If you’re new to sewing, here’s how to insert a zipper into a seam. Once the semi-circle is a complete circle with the zipper inserted, trim around the outside of the circle so it is exactly the same size as the 17-inch diameter circle.
- Fold the rectangle in half, matching the short sides together. Then sew the short sides together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance to form a large tube. Iron the seam flat.
- Sew the non-zippered circle in place using a 5/8-inch seam allowance. I tried pinning it in place the first time, but it came out pretty evenly so I just sewed without pinning for all the poufs I’ve made since. Press flat to the sides of the pouf.
- With the pouf still inside out, sew the zippered circle to the other end of the tube. Leave the zipper slightly open so you can turn it right side out afterwards. Press the seam flat.
- Turn the pouf right side out and fill it with whatever you happen to have on hand.