The first day of makeover for the Moroccan leather pouf

This is a follow up post to my thrift treasures post last week. Quick recap – I brought this leather pouf as an upcycle project for $2 from a thrift store……. here is the first day of the project.


After careful planning, a lot of calculations and angles, scribbles and general design nonsense I formulated a pattern and a plan.  I decided my new crafted cover would contain a sunburst/chevron design for the top and carefully measured and placed columns of leather for the sides. I suppose it’s a more traditional design in hindsight a little seventies in style.

My next step was to survey the damaged pouf (Pouf or Pouffe, it seems to have a variety of spellings) and see what, if anything could be salvaged.


There appears to have been paintings on each panel of gold designs, only a few panels still had a hint of this former glory.


The base was in great condition and lets be honest – I still don’t like zips so if I can salvage this piece and avoid the zip work – I will.


The innards were a little on the scary side and seem to be a jumble of all sorts, I hope that stuffing was fumigated when it was originally shipped here. I have yet to investigate this interesting assortment of stuffing, goodness only knows what I will find.

This original pouffe has seen a lot of use in it’s time and had severe wear and tear. The squares appeared to be hand stitched and a variety of materials had been used in the construction of the shell for added strength and stability. Most of the support materials had disintegrated over time hence the stability issues and extensive leather stretch in some places where these inner shell pieces were missing. The top is hand embroidered around each stitch and careful thought had been put into the design, especially around the edges of the overall square with a diagonal patterning of the embroidery.


After the inspection it was clear only the base could be salvaged for this project. The remainder leather bits will go into my stash for later recycling………. I will probably reuse the scary stuffing too as it’s already been beaten into the right shape and fills the space nicely.

Next step was to gather my leather scraps and pattern pieces and get cutting! I chose different hues of brown to get all those earthy tones and to compliment , not contrast with our existing furniture pieces which are in red, brown and black leather. I also miscalculated the amount of side pieces I needed – these photos show 18 side pieces, I ended up using 16 to match the seams and centres of the smaller triangles.



Next phase was the sewing part, this is where panic actually set in because at this point I realised I had never worked with Leather before (at least not on a sewing machine) and I have ZERO, zilch, nada quilting experience……….. I have NEVER worked with angles or patchwork like this and was concerned for all of  5 minutes (it was a scary 5 minutes).   I had come to far to turn back and just had to get on with it.

So for a little piece of mind I went to my local emporium and stocked up of leather needles and the strongest thread I could find and got started. I tied the cotton at every seam end 3 times to ensure they would not come undone and because I couldn’t back stitch the leather.


The outer shell is now constructed, I haven’t sewn it to the base piece  yet so the photos below show it snuggly fitting over the existing pouf. The next step tomorrow will involve constructing a sturdy burlap inner skin that will take the stretch and lessen the strain on the leather outer. Then all that is left will be the base piece and it will be finished!

Please note that the photos don’t capture the true colours in the piece, They are generally rum raisin hues of brown except for the odd lighter brown or tan patch. Not the seventies shade palate that is displayed below. 🙂


It’s coming together nicely and only a few hours work!! I feel relieved and happy with the progress so far.P1020881


    1. Hi, The pattern is really easy to draft. You just need to start with a circle big enough for the top of the pouf – any size you desire. Measure the diametre of the circle and follow the formula I have in this post to get the circumference measurement. The circumference measurement is the length of your total side piece that needs to join to the top and bottom piece. Using this measurement you can draw this as a long rectangle using the circumference measurement as the top and bottom line of the rectangle, the height of the side is up to you. That will give you a basic map of the pattern (without seam allowance, you need to add this in at the end) and all you need to do after that is style it how you want by scribing lines where you want to break up the pieces to form your style pattern, once you have what you want then cut out the pieces and stick them individually onto another piece of paper and cut around each one about 1 cm bigger than the pattern peice to create seam allowance. Then you are ready to go create a pouf of your own, and reproduce it as many times as you want. Hope this helps. 🙂


  1. Extremely well-executed, pepper…and I understand the ‘scary 5 minutes’ well! You did the right thing, to push on and just do it! Like riding a bike, you’ll never forget how to handle leather, so I would imagine there will be more ‘leatherwork’ in the future! Love the colors, and the pattern you worked out is genius in design!


    1. Thanks, regarding the ‘challenge’ as mentioned in the post I did have a epic freak out for about 5 minutes…. You think some part of me would say ‘hang on, I have no experience or idea how this works’ before the process began….. I always jump in the deep end first….. My first solo sewing project was a full length princess seam fitted woolen coat………. *sigh* just typical. Thanks for your comment and a *sigh* of phew that it came out alright!!


  2. I admire your patience … this was NOT an easy project to take on! Where did you find the pattern? Or did I miss that?


    1. You did an excellent job of swing those leather pieces! It’s beautiful! If l EVER tackle leather on my sewing machine, you will be my inspiration to go for it;-)


      1. I think I’ve found my new favorite material in Leather (well sewing it anyway). I had no idea how simple it was if you have the right bits (leather needles and strong thread). I really don’t know what I was so afraid of and I encourage you to think about giving it a go!! Thanks for the comment


  3. Nice! Impressed with your patchwork skills. Wetting the leather just before you upholster the piece, (letting it dry on the base) will shrink and tighten the leather nicely. Not sure about how it would work with patchwork though. Looking forward to the final results!


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