Ombre Puff Quilt Tutorial - with VIDEO!

If you've been around for any amount of time, you might've seen my Puff Quilt that my grandmother made for me. I love this thing SO much. She used various scrap fabrics and clothing to create this very dense, yet very snuggly quilt.

.

.

.

When I look at this quilt, I see something new each time. Recycled tablecloths from the 80s, pieces of my grandfathers button-down shirts, left-over fabrics from previous quilt projects. The list goes on. Some fabrics are used multiple times within the quilt, while other fabrics are only represented once. I love looking over all of the puffs and finding all of the similarities and differences between the squares.

.

.

.

My Granny made this for me when I was 7 years old. I absolutely LOVE that she created a tag for this quilt. I cherish knowing the details about this quilt, but also seeing her sweet handwriting is so special. 

.

.

It blows my mind that it took her 7 months to create this quilt. Yet, at the same time, it makes sense. She tediously hand-stitched every part of this. She was a patient, persistent woman. She selflessly loved her family so much that it overflowed into her craft. I am SO thankful that I have these heirlooms to remember her by. To now possess something that she labored over for so long....is really really special. 

.

This is what inspired me to make my very own puff quilt, but with a modern spin. I decided to create a rich gradient of color throughout my quilt, using some of my favorite scrap modern fabrics...and boom. Ombre Puff quilt was born. 

Ombre Puff is the 3rd quilt in the Lois Quilt Collection. The Lois Quilt Collection is a collection of my own quilts that are inspired by the quilts that my grandmother made. You can read about that here.  The idea behind the Lois Quilt collection is that I am still collaborating with my grandmother, even though she has passed away. I'm taking her quilts and adding my own modern ideas to them. In a way, this has helped me cope with her loss by keeping her memory alive and well.

When I was thinking about how I wanted to make this quilt more "modern", I was kind of at a loss! These quilts were extremely popular several decades ago but I haven't really seen one that is "modernized". I quickly decided that "ombre" was the way to go!

I went to my scrap fabrics and starting creating combinations. I tend to sew with very similar color families, so this was relatively easy for me. I have oodles and oodles of orange-y/ rust fabrics, so I knew that that'd be my starting point. I decided to add in some eggplant purples and vibrant reds to brighten everything up. I loved adding some low volume scraps to the mix also. Overall, it's such a fun pull!

.

.

Video Tutorial

Supplies

  • Fabric for the top of the puffs (see Fabric Requirements below); and be sure to check out the bundles in our shop! We have a few 25-piece FQ bundles that would be GORGEOUS as a puff quilt!
  • Scrap fabric for the back of the puffs (see Fabric Requirements below); this can be any sort of scrap fabric you'd like. You won't see this fabric once your quilt is assembled.
  • PolyFil - Keep reading for the estimated requirements
  • Batting - I love Quilters Dream. Since the PolyFil makes the quilt pretty heavy, I decided to use a lighter batting. 
  • Curved Safety Pins for basting
  • Painters Tape for basting
  • Needle for quilting (if hand quilting/ hand binding)
  • Thimble for hand quilting/ hand binding
  • DMC Pearl Cotton #8 for hand quilting/ binding
  • Sewing Machine - I sew with a Janome 6700P
  • 90/14 needles for your sewing machine (for sewing through many layers of fabric)
  • Thread for your sewing machine

Fabric Requirements 

I measured my grandmother's squares for this, and I got 4.5" unfinished for the puff squares. For each puff, you'll need one 4.5" square and one 4" scrap square. For my scrap squares, I used a various assortment of scrap white/neutral fabrics. These 4" square will be on the inside of your quilt, so it doesn't really matter what you use. Here's what you'll need: 

Baby  35" square Crib  49" x 56" Small Throw  63" square Large Throw 63" x 70" Bed  80.5" x 84"
Layout 10 x 10 14 x16 18 x 18 18 x 20  23 x 24
# of 4.5" squares needed 100 224 324 360  552
 If using fat quarters... 7 FQs 14 FQs 21 FQs 23 FQs 35 FQs
If using half yards... 4 half yards 9 half yards 12 half yards 14 half yards 21 half yards

# of scrap 4" squares needed

100;

~1.25 yards

224;

~2.75 yards

324;

~3.75 yards

360;

~4-1/8 yards

552;

~6-1/3 yards

Backing 

1.25 yards

2.75 yards

4 yards

4 yards

7.5 yards

Polyfil Estimate

12 ounces

24 ounces

36 ounces

48 ounces

72 ounces

.

Since I only used my stash, I had to retroactively calculate how many squares you can cut from a fat quarter and half yard....so if you want to start fresh and use your latest, favorite fabric collection, you can do that too! The fabric requirements above assume that you have the entire 18" to the FQ/WOF. 

NOTE: The PolyFil requirement is merely an estimate. I made the Small Throw size, and used a little less than 36 ounces. Since it appears that Polyfil bags are sold in increments of 12 ounces, I rounded up for each size. You might need more or less filling depending on how you stuff your puffs. This is the PolyFil that I used. I also tried the Royal Silk PolyFil. I actually liked the Royal Silk variation more than the regular PolyFil...however, it was widely sold out when I went to look for more. Therefore, half of my quilt is the regular PolyFil and the other have is the Royal Silk version of PolyFil. Once the puffs are stuffed, you can tell a slight difference between the two...the regular PolyFil is slightly "grittier", but over all they are pretty comparable. 

.

.

Puff Construction

Once all of my squares were cut, I created the beginning stages of my puffs. Essentially, you'll sew the 4.5" square on top of the 4" scrap square. To do this:

  1. With the right side facing up, place the 4.5" square on top of the scrap 4" square. Align the top right two edges. Use a scant 1/4" seam (a seam that's just a smidge smaller than a regular 1/4" seam) and start sewing along the right edge.
  2. After a few stitches, take the bottom right corner of the top square and align it with the bottom right corner of the bottom square. Gather the fabric to the middle of the square and using two finger, pinch the fabric to create a pleat. Hold the pleat down as you sew over it. 
  3. When you get about a 1/4" to the edge of the square, stop with your needle down and pivot so that you'll sew down the perpendicular edge. 
  4. Repeat Step 2 to create a pleat, and do the same for the third side.
  5. Leave the 4th side open. You will stuff the puff and close that up a little later.

TIP: Chain piece each of the sides of the puffs to save time. 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Shout out to Peter for helping me with this step! He cranked out most of the puffs himself!

.

.

Row Construction

Once all of your puffs are created, organize them into color families. Decide how you'd like the ombre gradient to fade across your quilt, and lay out your puffs accordingly. Once you're happy with the layout, organize and label the rows into piles and sew each row together using a regular 1/4" seam. This will ensure that you won't see the seams from the previous step. You'll want the open edge of the puffs to all be on the same side.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Quilt Top Construction 

Now it's time to stuff those puffs! Starting with your first row, take a hand full of batting and stuff the first puff. There's no right or wrong amount of batting, but I found that using less batting makes for an easier construction....and also a more plush and flexible quilt.

  1. Starting at the top of the row, using a scant 1/4" seam, sew up the 4th edge of the first puff in the row. Remember to create a pleat.
  2. Continue to stuff and sew up the puffs.
  3. Once the first row is complete, use a regular 1/4" seam to sew the next row to it. Remember to sew the edges that is opposite of the open edges of the puffs.
  4. Repeat Step 1 until all of your rows are assembled and your puffs are stuffed.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Basting

  1. Piece together your backing, as necessary. Tape it face-down to a floor or flat surface.
  2. Place your batting on top of the backing. Smooth out the wrinkles.
  3. Place the quilt top on top of the batting.
  4. Using curved safety pins, pin your quilt sandwich (backing, batting, quilt top) together. Use about 1 pin for every 2 puffs. You'll want it to be nice and secure.

.

 

.

Quilting

I decided to quilt my quilt exactly how my grandmother did, which was using ties. This was a first for me! I loveeeeee the handmade touch that this adds. Not to mention, the ties are pretty discrete. I used 4 different colors so that I could blend the ties accordingly. 

  1. Thread your needle (but don't tie a knot at the end). Insert the needle through the back of the quilt so that it come up at the intersection of 4 puff squares. 
  2. Create an "x" by stitching through the quilt a few times.
  3. End with the two thread tails on the back. Tie those tails together using a square knot. I like to tie 3 square knots.
  4. Repeat for each puff intersection. (You might be able to get away with less ties, but I wanted to make sure my quilt was extra secure).

.

.

.

Binding

You can bind this quilt like you normally would...however, I wanted to replicate how my grandmother did the binding on her puff quilt. I was a little intimidated by this at first, but once I figured it out, it was super easy! She used her backing to fold onto the front of her quilt to create the binding. Here's what you'll do:

  1. Before you trim away the backing/ batting, stitch 1/4" around the perimeter of the quilt. Remember that your bobbin thread will show on the back of your quilt, so choose a thread that coordinates with your backing. 
  2. Trim the backing/batting 1" from your quilt top.
  3. Then, trim the batting so that it aligns with your quilt top.
  4. Fold the backing fabric so that the raw edge aligns with the edge of the quilt top. Then, fold it again so that it covers the top stitches from Step 1. 
  5. Machine stitch or hand stitch this fold down. You can find my hand binding tutorial here and my machine binding tutorial here
  6. Mitered Corners: I cover mitered corners in my video tutorial for this quilt....they're at minute 10. 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I love this quilt SO much. It gives the perfect amount of weight and snuggle and I hope that you love it too! 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

I would LOVE to see your Ombre Puff quilts! Please tag me on social media and use the hashtags: #ombrepuffquilt , #loisquiltcollection and #loandbeholdpatterns

I can't wait to see what you create!

Brittany

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

This post may contain some affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission from each sell. Rest assured, I only share my favorite items with you!

0 Comments