How to Make Suffolk Puffs in Tilda Fabric

Suffolk puffs (also known as fabric yo-yos) are fun to make and can be used in so many creative ways. In the Tilda spring and summer ranges, they have been used to adorn belts, headbands, bags and more. Learn how to make Suffolk puffs with this quick tutorial from Ruth Singer, author of Fabric Manipulation.

Suffolk puffs are gathered circles of fabric traditionally used as a type of patchwork and particularly common in the 19th century. The puffs are usually made quite small from cotton, but all kinds of fabric can be used, and the shape can be varied for creative effect. We show you how to make Suffolk puffs with the easy step by step tutorial below.


1 Cut a circle of fabric slightly larger than twice the desired size of the finished puff.

2 Using a doubled and knotted thread, secure the knot on one edge of the fabric circle so it will be concealed in the hem. Fold over the hem edge and work a medium-sized running stitch, continuing to fold over the edge as you go.

3 Continue stitching all the way around the circle keeping the stitches evenly spaced and not too small.

suffolk puff

4 When you reach your start point, put the needle back through the first stitch so it ends up on the inside of the puff. Start to pull up the stitching, easing the stitches around. Turn the puff right side out if necessary.

suffolk puff

5 Once you have pulled the puff to the size you want it to be, secure the thread with several small stitches on the inside of the hem, making sure it is really secure before cutting. To even out the pleats, pull the edges while holding the middle of the puff.
suffolk puff
We love how these puffs have been used to decorate headbands and even a belt by Tilda. Have a go for yourself using Spring Lake, Apple Bloom or Painting Flowers ranges.

Fabric ManipulationFind this and more sewing and fabric manipulation techniques in Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques by textile expert, Ruth Singer.


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