Fuxico is an age-old Brazilian textile technique that uses up snippets of cloth left over from larger projects, yet many of our readers around the world may be familiar with it by other names. The origins of this technique date back to the colonial era in Brazil when women reused small scraps of cloth while they had a ‘fuxico’ - a gossipy conversation.
Even if the origins of the technique are unknown, the distinctive puffs are recognisable in many parts of the world — and each with a distinctive name. In the Philippines they are referred to as Yo-Yo Na, perhaps for the resemblance of the tiny circles of fabric to a yo-yo. In 1930s North America, women also made remarkable yo-yo quilts using this technique. Here in the UK the cloth flowers are often called Suffolk Puffs or Yorkshire Daisies. In Brazil, these fabric flowers are used to embellish everyday items like blankets, pillow cases, and pot holders, but have also appeared on fashion runways.
Fuxico are simple to make and add a charming handmade touch wherever they are used. The technique involves cutting a circle of fabric (twice the diameter of the desired puff), folding the hem to the wrong side and then stitching a running stitch around the entire circumference. In the same way you might gather a skirt, you then pull on the unknotted end of thread to gather the edges into a little puff. Simple and satisfying, these little flowers are also great for using up scraps of fabric. When used on masse to create larger quilts or hangings, you might find yourself using thousands.
Many of us have a fabric scraps bag with odds and ends that we can't find a use for. Whether as embellishment on a skirt or tea towel, a reusable flourish on gift wrapping or as part of a larger textile creation, why not explore the opportunities to reuse, recycle and upcycle that these darling little puffs present.
Submission by Granada Textilarte
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