Sewing and Crafts : Bolster Pillow Revamp

OH, NO!  Not another pillow post!!!  Sorry folks.  This is the one that really should have started it all, but I went about my business of fixing up the family room sofa a little backwards.  My reasons for wanting new pillows in that space started because of this:  While taking pictures during a furniture switcheroo over at my other blog,, I had to admit to myself that our family room pillows were anything but inviting.  They looked like someone had chewed them up, spit them out and then tied them to a bumper to be dragged around outside for a while.  This room gets a lot of use and those pillows are constantly being smooshed into all different configurations for comfort.  Unfortunately all that mashing had twisted them into new shapes that were a mere shadow of what they once were.

Now, I know that most people would have taken those bolsters and just tossed them out with the garbage.  Normally I would too, but in an effort to fix what I own instead of running out to buy something new, and to reduce waste, I decided to do a little revamp on them so we could get a few more years of use.

First, using a seam ripper I opened up the end of the bolster and removed the stuffing.  I did not take any pictures of this step in the revamp process because, #1 it’s pretty self-explanatory and #2 it was just gross.  Then I washed the covers to get them all nice and clean smelling.  Finally, I was ready to restuff the bolsters with new filling.  Of course, I used my cheater cheap-o pillows from Tarjay for the stuffing!

I decided not to create an insert f0r these pillows and to just stuff them directly instead.  To keep the sides smooth I like to use a thin batting.  I started by laying out some scrap heirloom cotton batting leftover from another project to the length of the bolster, and folded in half.

After cutting the batting down to size, I opened it and began laying out a thick layer of stuffing along one half of the length of batting.

Then I folded the open end of the batting over the stuffing pile.

This next step is probably the trickiest part of the whole process.  Taking the folded end of the batting and stuffing “sandwich” do your best to sort of roll the batting and sides down  and together, essentially creating a cylinder type shape.  Grasping the folded end with one hand and doing your best not to compact everything, begin stuffing the bolster cover.  Keeping your hand on the folded end of the stuffing “sandwich” pull it to the bottom of the bolster cover.

At this point you will need to slow down and spend some time smoothing out the batting inside the bolster cover to eliminate any folds or wrinkles.  Also, be sure to get the batting all the way down to the bottom of the bolster cover to ensure that the pillow is completely stuffed.

To get a really nice, filled out pillow you will need to add more stuffing.  I rolled the ends of the batting back and took my time adding more filling and smoothing as I went along.  That way the end result was free of folds and lumps, and fully stuffed from end to end.

Once you have the entire pillow filled to your satisfaction just hand stitch the end of the bolster back into place and enjoy!


I may not be perfect, but it’s a far cry from where it was and looks much better on the family room sofa with its new counterparts.  I hope this helps you see your old standbys in a new light!

Happy Revamping!

***Disclaimer!!!!***  I am the first one to admit that no one, I mean NO ONE, will tell you to stuff a pillow this way.  ;o)  So, if you are an accomplished seamstress you can snicker, I don’t mind.  If you are a beginner with cash, buy a bolster insert.  No cash?  Use this process and you will be thrilled with the flexibility and the results.  This is just my cheat that I have come up with over the years to save time and money.  Hope it helps those of you that, like me, are not related to Martha Stewart.




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