Sewing and Crafts : Making A Bolster Pillow With Piping

As you all read last week, I scored some nice designer remnant upholstery fabrics a few weeks ago at Joann’s for a song and have been diligently making new pillows to spruce up our family room.  I already showed off the simple envelop style pillows I created with a heavy ruffled edge, now I wanted to share the bolsters I made.

I started with the same fabric as the envelop style pillows, using the rectangle cuts at the top of the picture below.

They measured approximately 16 inches by 20 inches.  I paired this with more of the sage green cotton velveteen that was left over from another project.  I started by stitching the short ends together to create the body of the bolster.

Next, I created a paper pattern for the round end of the bolster using just an old fashioned compass to aid in drawing the circle.

After cutting out the template, I used it to draw the circles onto the velveteen and then I cut out the circles, four total.

At this point you could just pin the circle pieces into the open ends of the bolsters, sew into place and be done with the project, but I decided I wanted to add some piping to the edge.  I also did not want to buy any more supplies for this project, but wanted the piping to match the fabric I was using.

Lucky for me I had enough leftover velveteen to cut the necessary strips to create matching trim for both pillows.  I won’t go into detail about making piping because a quick Google search will bring up more tutorials than you could possibly ever need.  After I stitched up a nice long length of the piping I started pinning it into place along the open edge of the bolster end.

When you get back around to the beginning of the piece of piping you have to do a little work to make it all fit together and look good once finished.  Start by cutting the piping off the roll about 1.5 inches past the beginning of the strip.

Using a seam ripper, pull out the stitching along the loose end of the piping and pull it back to expose about 1.25 inches of the inner cording.


Next, pull back the fabric along the piping insert at the beginning of the strand of piping and cut away about 1.25 inches of the inner cording.

Take the exposed cording of the loose end of the piping and insert it into the now empty strip of piping at the beginning of the strand.  Fold the ends of the extra fabric back about 1/4 of an inch to make a finished edge and lay it over the beginning portion of the piping strand.  At this point you should have closed the gap on the piping strip needed for the end of the bolster.  Pin everything into place and stitch the piping to the bolster end.

Now you will need to add the round end piece to finish off the bolster.  Take your time with this part because you may find yourself having to go around and repin a couple of times in order to get the fit just right.  Remember to put the right side in and pay attention to where the piping stitches lay.  In fact, it’s best to flip the piece over and use the line of stitches from the piping as a guide for sewing the round end in place.  That way you won’t catch the rounded portion of the piping in your seam, and the stitch line will not be visible once you turn everything to the right side.


You will probably also find that removing the bottom portion of your sewing machine to use the free arm helps a great deal in stitching this tight circular piece into place.

Don’t forget to leave an opening in one end so you can flip everything to the right side when you are done.  I only stitched about half of the circle at one end of each bolster so I would have plenty of room for stuffing the finished pillow.

Hand stitch the ends and you are finished!

Happy Stitching!



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