Hey y’all – welcome to August on the blog! Today I’m sharing how to sew a bolster pillow, because I just made these for our outdoor sofa. In fact, this month on the blog is going to be all about outdoor living, though I admit, in August in Texas I want to do just about anything but go outdoors (unless I’m in a swimming pool, that is). So part of focusing on this topic this month is wishful thinking on my part – just waiting until we can be out on the patio more often!
This project got started back in May, because I am one of those people that get bitten by mosquitos constantly. And I just wanted to be able to go enjoy the outside air without getting eaten alive. So we screened in the patio we’ve had out back since we bought this house. have you ever read the book When You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Well, that’s what happened here. When you have a screened patio, you need furniture, and when you have furniture you need pillows and accessories, and well, one thing led to another (including an outdoor TV!) and that meant that this project took all summer.
The good news about the patio taking all summer though is that now I have a ton of projects to share, and late September through November are still lovely times to hang out on a screened patio here.
But I digress – today is about the bolster pillows. So, want to make your own? First, determine your dimensions. Common bolster dimensions are 6, 10 or 12 inches in diameter and 20-30 inches long or even longer if you want a big one for a king size bed. For mine, I did 8 inches in diameter by 24 inches long. That means that for each of these pillows, you need half a yard of fabric, 1 1/3 yards of pom pom trim, and a 22 inch zipper. In addition, I made pillow inserts for these, so I can pull the covers off and wash them as need be. For the inserts, you just need muslin and polyfill. Follow the directions below to make the inserts as well, but skip the zipper and pom pom trim and sew them shut after stuffing.
Start by cutting out your circles – you’ll need 2 per bolster. For an 8 inch diameter pillow, you’ll need circles 9 inches in diameter (so you’ll have a 1/2 inch seam allowance). Once these are cut out, measure around your circles on the seam allowance or use a circle calculator to determine how wide your fabric pieces need to be. Add 1 inch to that number (for seam allowances again). Cut 1 piece this amount wide and 25 inches long.
Next, fold the circles in quarters and press so you have quarter circle marks as reference.
Sew the zipper to the 25 inch edges – centering the zipper. Need help with zipper installation? See this post.
Baste the pom pom trim to the top and bottom edges. On the top, you’ll be able to unzip the zipper and lay the pillowcase flat, but on the bottom you’ll have to sew in the round.
Sew the seam beyond the zipper edges closed, so the rectangle is not a tube that can’t be unzipped. For an insert, this is where you start, sewing a seam where the zipper would be and leaving a gap for turning in the middle.
Mark quarter marks on the tube – one is the zipper, one is directly opposite the zipper, and the other two are halfway in between those first two marks.
Pin the circles to the tube, right sides together, and matching quarter marks. Unzip the zipper halfway before pinning on the second circle. Stitch the circles in place.
Turn the tube right side out and stuff with an insert.
Watch for more patio projects this month, including how I easily sewed the rest of the pillows and details on how we built this couch.
Get access to my free pattern gallery - sign up for my newsletter!