I love me a nice thick comforter that weights like a hundred pounds and swaddles in a warmth that not even the coldest of nights can chill. Unfortunately, quilting doesn’t usually produce the cloudy blankets of my dreams–usually. Puff quilts, also known as biscuit quilts, are the one exception to this. The fluff filled squares always seemed easy enough to make, but my first endeavor with them taught me not to underestimate the fluff.
Recently, I found out I was getting a new nibbling (nephew or niece). There was still no word on gender before I was to make my yearly sojourn back home, and my brother wasn’t entirely enthused about airplanes or dinosaurs if the baby ended up being a girl (but really, who doesn’t like dinosaurs?). The next best thing was a puff quilt, and since I had already made the traditional puff-style quilt. I thought I would change it up with a new puff quilt pattern.
The new design I had in mind used puffed squares (biscuits) and flat squares (cookies)–which I am now dubbing the ‘Biscuits and Cookies quilt’–and would hopefully fit better into my luggage. The Biscuits and Cookies quilt is a 12 x 12 square quilt that will end up being 42″ x 42″. But feel free to add or subtract more biscuits and cookies as needed! Here’s how I made it!
- ~7/8 yard cookie fabric* (I used an off-white). You’ll need to cut 72 cookie squares that are 4″ x 4″
- 72 biscuit top squares** that are 5″x 5″. I used 2 squares from 36 different colors
- ~7/8 yards biscuit bottom fabric (use any scrap fabric or muslin, these will not be seen). You’ll need to cut 72 squares that are 4″ x 4″
- Poly-fil or your stuffing of choice (I didn’t use much, maybe 2-3 oz total)
- 46″ x 46″ of batting. Don’t be afraid to piece together some scraps from larger quilts!
- 46″ x 46″ of backing fabric (you can get away with a 44″ width of fabric)
- 1/3 yard of binding fabric. This assumes you’ll use 2″ strips and sew binding at a 1/4″. If you want to make a rainbow binding like I did, you can use 16 strips that are 12″ long.
Cut out all the cookie and biscuit fabrics as indicated in the directions above. I chose to give my biscuits a color wheel effect, using up all the large scraps I had laying around. I used 36 fabric colors, with two biscuit top squares in each color. (P.S. as you’ll see in my pictures this isn’t exactly the truth. Brainiac over here made an extra row, so instead of 12 x 12, its 13 x 12. Please disregard, or follow along for more sewing fun!)
Making the biscuits
Now, it’s time to make the biscuits. Pick up a biscuit top and a biscuit bottom. Pin or clip all four corners of the biscuit top to the corners of the biscuit bottom.
Then, on one side. pinch the excess fabric of the biscuit top slightly off center and fold it over so the flap of the excess fabric is in the middle(ish) of the side. Make sure you are folding in the direction you will sew, and then pin (or clip) it down. Pinch, fold, and pin two more sides. (One side will be left open!)
Sew the three sides you pinned with a 1/4″ seam.
Put a little stuffing inside the biscuit. Weighing isn’t a perfect way to determine how much stuffing you’ll need, because it’s so light, but I went for about 6 grams (total weight with the stuffing and biscuit fabric). You’ll want the biscuit about half full.
Now, you just need to sew the other 71 biscuits into cookie-biscuit sections. (Audiobooks are great here! I enjoyed The Grace Year)
Lay out your biscuits and cookies in your desired color pattern. I tried to make more of a color wheel scheme. There 12 biscuits across and 12 biscuits down, making a square. (The picture below is not following that!)
Pro tip: take a picture to remember the layout. Just do it.
The easiest way, I found to close the biscuit, is to position the biscuit in front of you, right side up, with the opening pointing to the right. Take a cookie square and place it on top of the biscuit, aligning the top right corners.
Carefully take the cookie-biscuit over to the sewing machine, and sew ~ 5 stitches into the top right corner (don’t forget a back stitch!). Then, with the needle down, pull the bottom right corner of the biscuit taunt, and pinch, fold and pin the excess from the biscuit top fabric. Then finish sewing the cookie biscuit. Once finished you should have cookie-biscuit section. Place this cookie biscuit back into its position on the floor.
Making cookie-biscuits pairs
Next, I like to sew the cookie-biscuits into pairs. To do this, take two cookie-biscuits and place the right sides together, nesting the seams as shown in the picture below. Clip the nested seams together.
The biscuits are extremely puffy, which makes it very hard to keep the pieces in alignment. When the pieces get out of alignment, you sew less than a 1/4″ on one piece (usually the biscuit piece), and you’ll be able to see the 1/4″ seam from the making the biscuit on the outside of the quilt. To avoid this, I only like to sew with the biscuit side-up, in a method I call ‘Stitch and Flip’.
To do this, I clip only half of the cookie-biscuit pair. I sew along the 1/4″ line of the sewing on the biscuit, stopping ~2 stitches past the center line.
Note: While you can just zoom across the biscuits and cookies without stopping, I highly recommend using the stitch and flip method. Even using it, I still have had incidents where puff of the biscuit has made the biscuit fabric slip away from the cookie fabric. The stitch and flip will help make sure you sew things together correctly the first time, including hiding that pesky 1/4″ seam you have already sewed around the biscuits!
Then, I take take the cookie-biscuit pair out from the sewing machine, flip it over, and clip the other biscuit section. Sew it complete.
Repeat for the other 35 biscuit pairs. (May I suggest Lord of the Rings this time?)
Finishing the quilt top
Now, it’s time to sew those cookie-biscuit pairs into columns. Using the Stitch and Flip method from the ‘Making cookie-biscuit pairs’ section, sew 6 cookie biscuit pairs into a column. You’ll need to make 6 columns. (one of my rows have three because I used extra!)
I think by now you can sense what’s coming. Yes, you’ll need to sew those columns together. While, of course you can just pin and let the needle fly down the length of each column. I highly recommend still following the cookie-biscuit “Stitch and Flip” method down the entire column. I also recommend sewing the columns in groups of two (so, you have three columns of 12 x 4 squares, and then sewing the larger columns together. This will help reduce bulk around your sewing machine. (May I suggest Twilight this time?)
Finishing the puff quilt
It’s time to make a backing. Of course, it’s perfectly alright to just use a sheet of fabric, but I think the backing is a great time to try out another quilting design. You can see the one I pieced below.
Sandwich the quilt and baste. I used pin basting. Remember, puff quilts can get deceptively heavy. If you’ve chosen to make a larger quilt, it may not be a good idea to put it in a domestic washing machine (so, maybe don’t use spray or glue basting, because you can’t wash it out). Choose a basting method that you can manage.
Quilt as desired.I chose hand quilting here. I could have squeezed my puff quilt through my tiny sewing machine for some basic straight line quilting, but I would recommend sewing diagonally across the cookies (you’ll only sew near the corners of the biscuits, which are the thinnest parts). If you’re not comfortable with either method, consider tying off the quilt with yarn.
Note: If you struggle with choosing a quilt design, it really helps to take a picture of your quilt. Then you can draw out designs until you find one you like. Below are two I tried. I ended up going with the straight lines, because I liked the simple movement (And I didn’t want to spend a super long time quilting. I had a plane to catch!)
I hope you loved my puff quilt pattern as much as I did. It still may not fit in my luggage, but it will at least be cozy on my lap on the way to the nibbling!