How to Make Puff or Biscuit Quilts

  • 01 of 04

    How to Make a Comfy Puff Quilt

    Puff quilt made with purple and pink colors.
    Mary Jane Cardwell

    Puff quilts are often called biscuit quilts. This technique differs from the traditional method used to make the quilts so before you begin, read the pattern to get a feel for the entire assembly process.

    Unless you're planning on a random layout, it's a good idea to design a puff quilt before choosing fabrics. Use graph paper or another method to create a grid that's nine squares across and 11 squares tall. Fill in the blanks with colors or with shades-of-gray color values to design the layout. The finished quilt will measure about 32 inches by 38 inches.

    Fabric and Supplies

    • Three yards of fabric for top squares (can be orderly or scrappy)
    • Two yards of muslin or another fabric for back squares (will not be visible in the finished quilt)
    • One yard of fabric for (final) backing
    • 1 1/2 packages double fold bias tape (or make your binding)
    • Thread
    • Embroidery floss and needlepoint needle
    • Polyester fiberfill (one bag or a little more)
    • Safety pins or tacks

    Cutting Instructions

    • Cut 99 six-inch-by-six-inch top squares
    • Cut 99 five-inch-by-five-inch squares of muslin (or other fabric used for back squares)

    Yardage Helper

    Assume the fabric has a usable width of at least 40 inches:

    • You can cut 6 six-inch squares from a six-inch-wide strip of fabric cut from selvage to selvage (possibly seven if the usable width is 42 inches).
    • You can cut 8 five-inch squares from a five-inch-wide strip of fabric cut from selvage to selvage.
    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    How to Pin Quilt Squares

    Quilt squares with pins
    Mary Jane Cardwell
    1. Pin a top fabric square to a smaller muslin square (the wrong side of the top square should be against the muslin). Match all corners and center the top square's resulting pleats as shown. Leave one side of each pocket unpinned for stuffing later.
    2. Repeat, pinning all top squares to a muslin square.
    3. Arrange pinned squares into rows, orienting all pleats in the same direction.
    4. Use a 1/2-inch seam allowance to sew square pockets in each row together. Do not remove pins from unsewn edges.
    5. Sew a 1/2-inch seam along the sides of outermost pockets.
    6. Place each row back into its place within the layout.
    7. Sew a 1/2-inch seam along the bottom edge of each row, orienting short seam allowances to flow in opposite directions from row to row so that they will nest together nicely when rows are joined. Remove pins from row bottoms after sewing.
    8. Use the openings along the tops of rows to stuff each square with fiberfill. Fill squares nicely, but avoid over-packing—too much stuffing will make it difficult to pin and sew rows together.
    9. Sew a 1/2-inch seam allowance along the open edge of the top row.
    10. Pin and sew rows together, nesting seam allowances.
    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    How to Make Backing

    Puff Quilting
    Mary Jane Cardwell
    1. Place the puff quilt's backing fabric right side down on a table. Place the quilt on top, right side up.
    2. Use safety pins or tacks to hold the layers together.
    3. Thread embroidery floss through a needlepoint needle and tie each corner of a pocket with a square knot. Move from the upper right to the lower left.
    4. Remove tacks or pins and trim backing even with sides of the puff quilt. Baste or zigzag stitch around the edges of the quilt.
    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    How to Sew Binding

    Finished puff quilting
    Mary Jane Cardwell
    1. Pin bias tape around the quilt.
    2. Sew binding to the quilt with matching thread, using a wide zigzag setting and short stitch length. You could also bind the quilt with double fold mitered binding.
    3. Launder the puff quilt.

    Change the Quilt's Dimensions

    • To make puff quilts with squares of a different size, cut the back squares one inch smaller than the top squares.
    • When making miniature puff quilts, try cutting the back squares 1/2 inch smaller than the front squares, and use a 1/4-inch seam allowance for all seams.
    • Experiment with sizes to see what works best.