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Patch by Cath Kidston
When I discovered a square of Suffolk Puff patchwork amidst a bundle of vintage textiles I decided the pretty, softly faded fabrics needed a second chance. The panel was stitched to the front of a plain pink cushion and I was delighted with the way the unexpectedly bright colour peeped out through the spaces between the puffs. This inspired me to create a cushion cover from my own spot, star and floral haberdashery fabrics, but to keep the softness of the original piece I first dipped all the fabric in strong tea to tone down the colours.

from red spot print fabric
45 circles
from blue spot print fabric
16 circles
from other print fabrics
20 circles

Posted by Cath Kidston from London, United Kingdom • Published See Cath Kidston's 9 projects »

© 2023 Cath Kidston / Quadrille · Reproduced with permission.
  • Step 1

    Launder any new fabrics to remove the dressing used in the manufacturing process. Make up a dye bath by steeping five tea bags (traditional strong English breakfast tea rather anything fruity or herbal!) in a washing-up bowl of very hot water. Remove them after about fifteen minutes.

  • Step 2

    Add the fabrics and leave them to soak for thirty minutes, stirring them with a wooden spoon now and again to ensure even coverage. Rinse, then leave to dry naturally and press well. Remember that the fabric will dry to a lighter shade, ?so if you would like it to be darker, just go through the whole process again.

  • Step 3

    Trace an 11cm diameter template on to paper and use this as a guide to cut out the fabric circles, as listed above.

  • How to sew a patchwork cushion. Suffolk Puff Cushion - Step 4
    Step 4

    Thread a long needle with a long length of thread and knot the ends together so that it is double.

  • Step 5

    To make a circle of fabric into a puff, fold back a 5mm turning around the circumference and stitch it down with a round of evenly spaced running stitches. The smaller the stitches, the finer your gathers will be: the ones used for the cushion shown here were 8mm long with equal gaps between them.

  • How to sew a patchwork cushion. Suffolk Puff Cushion - Step 6
    Step 6

    Gently draw up the thread to gather the circle, using the tip of your needle to push the raw edges inside if necessary. Take the needle down through the finished puff and fasten off the thread securely on the wrong side with a few short back stitches. Trim the threadclose to the surface.

  • Step 7

    Arrange the finished puffs in nine rows of nine, with the red spot ones around the outside edge and forming a central cross. Each corner then has five white and four blue spot puffs.

  • Step 8

    Sew together the top row of puffs. Hold the first two together with right sides facing and make several small, tight overstitches to join the edges together. Take the needle to the opposite side of the puff and sew on the next one in the same way. Do the same all the way along the row, making sure that the stitches all lie in a straight line, then fasten off securely. Join the other eight rows in the same way and lay them back out the right order.

  • Step 9

    Now comes the tricky bit: joining the rows. Start by holding the top two rows together with right sides facing. Join the first puff of each row with a few stitches, then take the needle across to the bottom edge of the second row. Sew this point to the first puff of the third row, then repeat the process so that all the first puffs are stitched together.

  • Step 10

    Join all the second puffs, then the third, and continue until the cover is completed. Check it for any weak joins and re-stitch tightly.

  • Step 11

    Turn under and press a 1cm double hem at each short end of the blue fabric rectangle.

  • How to sew a patchwork cushion. Suffolk Puff Cushion - Step 12
    Step 12

    Place the fabric face upwards on your work surface and turn back 25cm at each edge. Pin the top and bottom edges together through all the layers and machine stitch, leaving a 1cm seam allowance.

  • Step 13

    Turn the cover right side out and press. Place it face down on the finished puff cushion front, adjusting the position so that half a circle projects at each edge. Pin the cover to the cushion front and slip stitch the two together around the edge of the cover. Insert the cushion pad.

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