What’s in a name? Well, I guess it depends which side of the pond you are on. American’s call these little gathered circles Yo-Yo’s (and it’s easy to see why), whereas we Brits refer to them as Suffolk Puffs.
In the sewing world, a Suffolk Puff (or Yo-Yo) is simply a circle of fabric which is gathered around the edge so that it turns in on itself in a ‘puffy’ kind of way. The technique has a long history and references to ‘puffs’ appear as far back as 1601. It is thought that they originated in the county of Suffolk when people would re-cycle worn out clothes and fabric scraps. Very often the puffs would be sewn together to make quilts.
At my sewing group this week I spent the afternoon chatting with my lovely stitching buddies, eating far too many chocolate biscuits and making a whole bunch of these little cuties.
(Confession: Some puffs are not featured in this photo due to the accidental smudging with chocolate🙂 )
I will admit that I’ve got a bit of an obsession with these wonderful little fabric flowers at the moment – I can’t stop making them, they’re so pretty! Best of all, they are super quick and simple to make – even kids and total beginners can master them with ease. Want to know how to make one? Easy peasy ……
1. Make two circular templates from card about twice the size that you want your puff to be. My circles were about 3½” and 2½” in diameter.
2. Draw around the templates on to the wrong side of your chosen fabrics and cut them out on the drawn line.
4. Tie a knot in your thread and sew a running stitch all around the circle quite close to the edge.
5. Pull the thread to gather the fabric into the middle.
6. Flatten the puff between your finger and thumb and secure the centre with a knot.
6. Lay one puff on top of the other and secure with a couple of stitches. Attach a pretty button and your done!
You can now use these simple puffs to adorn all manner of things. Try attaching a brooch pin to the back, sew them on to a hair clip or cover a whole cushion with them…. the list is endless! I’ll be showing you what I did with mine in a later post, but until then go puff crazy!