How to Sew a DIY Pouf Ottoman {Indoor or Outdoor}

This is an easy sewing tutorial!  I will show you how to make your own DIY pouf ottoman that you can use inside or outside.

I have a confession.

I used to be afraid of my sewing machine.

Envelope pillows I could do, but I suffered a nervous anxiety attack at the thought of tackling anything bigger.

Lined Drapes? Grommet Topped Blackout Drapes?! A Papasan Cover?!?!

These projects would have sent me running for the hills…

But then I decided to get over it.

And just jump right in and try it. What was the worst that could happen?

Worst case scenario, I totally screw it up and waste some fabric.

And if it went well?

Then maybe I could even learn how to sew a DIY Pouf Ottoman for indoors or outdoors! Like this guy….

And if I can do it, then you can teach yourself how as well. I’m certain of it.

How to Sew a DIY Pouf Ottoman tutorial graphic.



I couldn’t believe it when I found this gorgeous fabric on sale at my local Fabricland store.

And I was even more thrilled that it is an outdoor fabric. Exactly what I was looking for.

I knew I wanted to try making a big pouf to go along with the Papasan Chair Cover that I made – kind of like these beauties that you see at West Elm or other like stores…

A striped square ottoman with a hat sitting on it and a potted plant in the background.

Their version is on sale right now for $80 US… I think mine cost me about $24 Canadian to make including the pillow forms I used to stuff it with. And $24 Canadian is like $4.75 US these days with current exchange rates.

To make this you can actually get away with just ONE YARD of your fabric, if you are really careful about the cuts you make.

Blue and white fabric laid out on a table for cutting.

I started by laying out my blue and white fabric and then I used my cutting mat and rotary cutter to cut it into 6 18×18 inch squares.

This worked out absolutely perfect because my fabric width was 54 inches (so 18+18+18=54) and one yard is 36 inches long (18+18).

The fabric cut into squares.

You start by laying it out and pinning it and then sewing the fabric pieces together until you have a large T shape.

Pinning the fabric squares together.

To stitch it I decided to use a stronger stitch then I normally do, just to make sure that it would hold up to a little extra abuse and food traffic as an ottoman.

The stitch settings on the sewing machine.

The pictures probably show more then my description would about how it came together…

The squares sewed together.Pin the next side and sew….

Pinning the next side of the square fabric.

Now you have three fabric sections sewn together in a long strip…
Sewing three sections together to make one long strip.

Next add the top.

Sewing the side piece on the fabric.Then you will add your final two squares.

These diagrams should help make the process a little bit more clear. {think of it as building a box, like you used to do in elementary school out of cardstock}

Basically, you will have sewn your pieces into a long T shape like this…

Initial shape of pouf cover in a T shape.

Then you are going to sew the edges of the main square together (right sides together of course), like this…

Arrows showing the edges sewed together.

At this point you have the base of a box with the top attached on only one edge. So the next part to sew is the final edges of the bottom of the T onto the side edges of the box (right sides together still, so you should have the bad side of the fabric facing out and visible as you sew).

Last edges to sew together.


It should basically look like this once you have done all of that…

Folding the fabric together after being sewn.

Now turn it right side out. You should have a floppy box with one end open:

Turning the fabric the right side out.

To stuff it I used four pillow forms that I bought at a great price at my local Walmart. You could use old pillow form inserts if you have some. I have even heard of some people stuffing their pouf with old quilts and things to reduce costs.

A package of pillow insert material.

To stuff it I cut off the pillow cover and just used the polyester fill…

Stuffing the insert into the ottoman pouf.

And when the ottoman was stuffed it looked like a giant Pacman…

The ottoman all stuffed with one side still open.

Now the last step is to stitch the remaining edge by hand. I folded the two edges under slightly to create a neat seam and then stitched…

A needle, thread, and scissors on the counter.


Can you believe it?

I couldn’t believe that I actually made this DIY ottoman myself. In fact, I even had to share it on Instagram because I was so shocked and excited that I managed it!

The pouf picture on instagram.

So now I just want to encourage you to embrace your sewing machine if you haven’t already, and try something new. Something a little scary. Who knows, you may end up with something you are crazy proud of and absolutely love. I’m pretty in love with how this guy turned out…

The ottoman square pouf in front of a round chair.

The ottoman outside on the porch.

This is awesome! Pin it to remember it!

How to sew a DIY pouf ottoman poster.

A little more inspiration

This coming Sunday is the DIY Challenge: Fabric Projects!

august challenge

Check out what my amazing cohosts are sharing for this challenge…

Get your DIY on Fabric Days graphic.

Vintage Club Chair Makeover by Christy at Confessions of a Serial DIY-er / Super Simple DIY Cafe Curtains by Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog / How to Sew a DIY Pouf by Krista at The Happy Housie (you are here!)  / Boy’s Room Envelope Throw Pillows by Mandy at The Hankful HouseTea Towel Throw Pillow by April at House by Hoff

If you are a fellow blogger, we hope to see you back this Sunday at 7pm EST to share your own amazing fabric projects!


signature and quote

pinterest  facebook  http://instagram.com/krista_thehappyhousie  twitter  bloglovin  google+  rss


Similar Posts


  1. Very good tutorial. I used a thicker chenille fabric, so it was slightly harder to sew together, but it turned out ok. Took advice from some commenters and used bean bag beans and used ladder stitch to sew up the remainder. Thank you for taking the time to post this great DIY 🙂

  2. LOVE your posting with fantastic instructions!! Got my fabric at Fabricland, $4.00, and stuffed five Walmart pillow fibrefill in. May have to add another one in time but is great in the meantime. Thanks!!

  3. Nice, it looks so beautiful and stylish, I agree with Krista and I think you need to fill it with something more firmer so it stands stronger. Anyways that looks wonderful next time you should try leather to make the pouf, it would be amazing too.

  4. Made a pouf with your great instructions. Put my next pour I want to add a zipper, could you please do a video tutorial. Thank you. My son loved his pouf!!

  5. Love your post and instructions. Had been wanting to purchase a pouf in a nearby store (super expensive) but after seeing your great directions, I said, “Heck fire, I’m going to do this myself lol”! And I did – saved me a lot of money and I got to design like I wished. I took a chance on my zipper skills; added an invisible zipper 18″ long and will stuff it with (you wouldn’t guess)…. washed winter blankets, comforters and any winter bed linen that need to be stored away. I sewed a 19′ x 21″ pouf to give myself a little more room and will place my linen in a twin sheet sewn as a drawstring bag to keep the contents gathered and clean. I think I have enough linen, pillow shams, etc…to keep the footrest sturdy enough to sit on as well. When it gets dirty, I’ll empty it and throw the pouf in the washing machine. I’m thinking about making another to store other clothing items as well (like clean walking attire/sweats, leggings, etc…). Another way to organize and accessorize at the same time! Again, thank you for those cool instructions!

  6. I love your simple directions and started making my pouf last night. Now all I need to do is sew the blocks closed and stuff it. I’m debating about adding a zipper to the closing so I can easily wash it in the future. Will purchase a long invisible zipper and try! I also would like to be able to sit on it and read in your feed that others have used Styrofoam. I think I like that idea and will look into it at Walmart (price wise). I saw a couple of weeks ago that Hobby Lobby carries the Styrofoam fills precisely shaped for poufs (don’t remember the sizes). Experimentation, experimentation, experimentation lol! Thanks again for sharing. Take care.

  7. Think I might just try this! You made it look pretty easy. And I just ordered a finished one on Amazon too!! I should cancel it. I just hope my machine is working ok. Thanks for the directions!

    1. Hi Heather,
      I think if you were wanting to make this as a desk chair, you would want to fill it with something much firmer. It would definitely squish down a lot if you were sitting on it.

  8. Thanks for the great directions! I made one today and it turned out pretty well for a first attempt.

  9. Krista:
    I have a pouf I bought online, and figured out how to make one by myself, however, I wanted to see some directions online to see if I was correct before I cut the good fabric. Your explanations, measurements, and photos are the VERY BEST online. I was correct but how very helpful to see your design/explanation laid out for me. So I wanted to give you a hint – if you would like. I have several on my screen porch but wanted one out on the terrace – I made second pouf same measurements as the outer fabric but I used a mans old fish net undershirt (!) – because I left a 8″ opening on the bottom one side to fill – with tiny half inch (they are the size of green peas) peanuts purchased at a local packing store. I hand stitched the lining closed , then the outer fabric. I did this to hold the styrofoam beads tightly. The pouf weighs nothing and rain goes right through all of it. Now I’m making one the same way for the den! The styrofoam is firmer and you can actually sit on it! Happy sewing and thank you again!

  10. Omg, I’m im love with your pouf! I’ve been lookong everywhere for one amd they are outrageously priced and I cannot see, but seeing as how I can sew a hem on a machine and by hand I am encouraged to try and make my own. You and others are inspiring me to try.

    1. Thanks Phyllis! I am still working on my zipper skills. I tried a couple on pillows recently with mixed success. I will have to practice with them this winter:)

  11. I love this, Krista! And you are the smartest ever for using the insides of cheap pillows! Do you know how many boxes (yes, I bought it by the box) of polyfil I bought when I used to make dolls?? That was forever ago, but I never thought of that! Love how this turned out. 🙂

    1. Hi Christy! It was partly out of necessity as we don’t have a local craft store so sometimes I have to get pretty creative with what I can find at Walmart!

  12. “$24 Canadian is like $4.75 US these days” 😀 I went to Kansas City this week, and to get $100 USD, $60 just evaporated. Argh.

    Anyways, loooove the poof. Way to overcome your fear. You did an awesome job. Super smart to use pillows as the fill. I have a stash of old pillows. A spin through the washing machine, and they might work for something like this. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ll be back on Sunday to share my project!

    1. Thanks! I just donated a bunch of old pillows before I did this project, unfortunately, or the filler could have been free! But I do like how freshly squishy the new pillow insides feel:) Glad to have you back on Sunday!

    1. My sewing machine was a hand-me down from my Mom and is quite simple but meets my needs. Maybe you could pick up a used one for less expense to help you decide if you can really make use of it? After a little bit of sewing practice, it is amazing what you can learn to tackle!!

  13. Looks great and awesome tutorial! I’m going to make some for sure now. You could also use bean bag filler to fill your poofs for a squishier feel… they sell bean bag filler in large bags at some stores.


    1. That’s a great idea Tania. I saw some bean bag filler once at a nearby Walmart,I wonder if they still sell it? That would be comfy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.