Design your own


Suffolk puff christmas tree on Patch & Quilt

This technique is based on texture and dimension.

Step 1 - Consider how you want to use it?

Have you any initial thoughts on how you want to use this technique? Are you wanting to create a motif such as the design shown here or applique it to a backing fabric to create a wall hanging, or are you wanting to create a foundation fabric of Suffolk Puffs to then work upon - perhaps make a tree skirt or table centre?

Before you start, you may want to follow the steps below to give you further ideas to experiment with:

  • A single motif: Create a piece of jewellery such as for the necklace shown in the Gallery
  • A selection of motifs: Add texture to a plain fabric bag
  • A group of motifs together: Create a more dimensional motif, perhaps for a cushion panel or a border
  • An allover fabric: create a cushion panel or summer shawl

Step 2 - Consider textures

Once you have decided what you are going to make, you then need to think about fabrics and colour. You may want to consider texture as a theme for you rproject. Look at diffferent types of fabric: Denim, velvet, satin, linen, prints, stripes (these look great), shirting, damask...

Step 3 - What shape?

Suffolk Puffs were originally made from round fabric pieces - but they don't have to be.

Different shapes: What do they look like if you adopt the same technique but use different shapes as a starting point?

Try experimenting with the following shapes:

  • Squares
  • Triangles
  • Ovals
  • Rectangles

Do squares come out exactly square? How about oval shapes or triangles? Were there any suprises?

A-symmetry: What about moving the gathers from the centre of the motif and placing them off-centre? How could you use them? Does it alter the overall shape of the motif?

Embellishment: Think about attaching beads or buttons, or other haberdashery items.

Layering: Make progressively smaller ones and stack them up on top of each other, or inside each other...

Create further texture: Mix other fabrics with them such as circles of distressed voile and add leaves to create a flower motif. Make a wire flower on the flower loom and stitch it to the centre for more dimension (these stacked motifs make brilliant brooches for stocking fillers)

 Cutting: Try cutting some of the fabric away or punching holes in them and stuffing them with other coloured puffs

Stuffing: Try stuffing with wadding then adding a circle of fabric over the top before drawing up - they look like little volcanos! Of stuff one inside the other, gradually increasing in size. What do they remind you of?

There's quite a lot to think about here but you will gain a thorough understanding of the technique once you have worked your way through the tutorial.

Happy stitching!


This is an important part of the design process that is often ignored or missed completely.

Now that you have experimented with your Suffolk Puffs, you now need to decide how you are going to use this technique. Have your initial ideas changed now that you have explored this technique?

By evaluating and analysing your sampling and the whole design process, you will be able to understand what you have learned and be able to put this into practice in the future.

What worked well and why, i.e., did your samples give you a good impression of hwo to work your final piece or have you changed your ideas completely?

Are you pleased with the finished piece?

What surprised you?

Did this project enable you to practice new techniques?

Have you used these materials before and would you use them again?

What did you enjoy the most?

If this project was successful, why?

We hope you have enjoyed exerimenting with this technique and we would love to see some photos of your experiments!