Piece together some fabric scraps and a little bit of gossip, and you have fuxico, the fabric craft featured on the coffee packaging from your Brazil Box. Here, we explore the history of this patchwork craft, and show you how to make your own fuxico flowers.
Though the word fuxico may sound unfamiliar, you’ve likely seen fuxico flowers on a tablecloth, napkin, or necklace. Fuxico, like most forms of patchwork, originated as a method of using up leftover pieces of fabric that would have otherwise been thrown away, to make something useful, beautiful, and colorful.
It all started with slave women on Brazilian coffee plantations who were given fabric scraps by their owners. One use they found for those scraps was fuxico, and as the word fuxico comes from the verb fuxicar (“to gossip.”), these women likely had quite a bit to gossip about as they gathered together and sewed.
After the end of slavery in Brazil, fuxico continued to flourish as a craft form. Women became even more creative with this versatile technique, creating fuxico butterflies or adding a bright touch to their homes with dolls and pin cushions made of fuxico flowers. The possibilities for fuxico flowers are pretty endless, and you can find them everywhere from jewelry stores to the runway shows of designers like Karl Lagerfield.
Below are instructions for making basic fuxico flowers, which are sometimes also called Fabric Yo-Yo’s or Suffolk Puffs. Happy crafting!
How to Make Fuxico Flowers
- 7×7 inch square of fabric
- Needle and thread
1. Place the square of fabric onto a clean surface with the wrong side facing up. Insert the compass into the center and trace a circle with a 6½ inch diameter, then cut out the circle.
2. Fold over ¼ inch of the circle’s fabric along the edge and sew a running stitch along the fold. The stitch size is up to you—a smaller stitch will yield a larger, more open center, and a larger stitch will create a tighter center.
3. After sewing along the edge of the circle, pull the thread so that the edges pucker and gather to the center as tightly as possible. Sew a few extra stitches to secure the center, then make a knot to fasten.
4. Gently iron the edge of the fuxico flower, taking care not to flatten the center.