Soft spot: How to make a pouf

Jen Linney’s home-sewn pouf is a snazzy addition to a child’s playroom – or you could make one for your living room, then sit back and put your feet up!

The pouf we made is 35cm tall and 34cm in diameter, but the same process can be followed to make it any size you like. The zip allows you to empty the cover for washing – and eventual replacement of the bean filling – without too much effort.


● 0.8m of fabric at least 110cm wide OR

0.6m of fabric at least 150cm wide. Cotton drills or upholstery fabrics are best. The beans will be visible through thinner fabrics, although you can thicken a lightweight fabric by using fusible interfacing.

● 40cm dress zip

● 2.5m of pre-made or self-made piping,

4-6mm wide

● Matching thread

● Approximately 30 litres of bean bag fill


● Sewing machine

● Zipper foot

● Scissors

● Pins


Cut the following pieces from your fabric:

● One 109cm x 37cm rectangle for the side.

● Two 40cm x 20cm rectangles for the base.

● One 36cm diameter circle for the top.

NOTE: All seam allowances are 1cm.


1. INSERT THE ZIP: Open the zip and lay one side along the long edge of a base piece (right sides together). Line the zip tape up with the edge of the fabric and pin. The teeth should run down the seam line (not along the edge of the fabric). Fit the zipper foot to your machine and sew the zip, leaving enough of a gap between the teeth and the stitching to allow the zip runner to slide freely. Repeat for the other side of the zip and the second base piece. Close the zip and press (if you are worried about the exposed zip damaging your wooden floors, roll the fabric slightly to create a flap that covers the zip, and press in place).


circle as a template to cut a circle the same size

from the zippered base piece (do not cut off the zip runner). Baste across the top of the zip to keep the ends together.

3. APPLY PIPING: Pin the piping around the edge of the base circle so that the cord runs along the seam line and raw edges are together. Overlap the ends of the piping and let any excess piping extend outside the circle. Using the zipper foot, sew as close to the piping as you can. When you get to the overlapped ends, just continue sewing up and over them while maintaining your 1cm seam allowance. Trim piping ends. Repeat for top circle piece.

4. With right sides facing, sew together the short edges of the large rectangle to make a tube. Press seam open.

5. Pin one end of the tube to the base circle with raw edges and right sides together (if your tube is too big for the circle, repeat Step 4, enlarging the seam allowance). Using the zipper foot, sew as close to the piping as you can.

6. Ensure that the zip is open and then repeat Step 5 to attach top circle piece to other end of tube.

7. Turn through to right side and press.

8. Fill with beans.

For a firmer pouf that is better for sitting on, stuff with rags or scraps of fabric surrounded by soft polyester stuffing, instead of beans.

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