Beautiful Bolster Pillow Tutorial

This bolster pillow is just so GORG we had to ask Jessica of Sew Homegrown to share the whole Beautiful Bolster Pillow Tutorial with you! Take it away Jessica…

Thanks Prudent Baby girls for having me on – and good luck to 3rd time baby mama – Jacinda!  So I am trying to complete our master bedroom look.  I bought several accessories with my Christmas spending money, and then it was on to the pillow making!

Anthro is selling like 10 bolsters right now, so I thought it would be nice to make one for our bed, and show you how.  Get the full Beautiful Bolster Pillow Tutorial after the jump…

Beautiful Bolster Pillow

  Here is the Inspiration:

(pic from Anthropologie) 
I made the “small” size 23″x9″.  I couldn’t find the price for that one, but the large sized bolster is $148.00.  So let’s guess and say the small one was maybe $112.00?  Even if it took you 10 hrs (it won’t) it would be like someone paying you $10 an hour.  That’s how I like to look at things:  if I went to work, I would have to work 10 hrs to be able to afford this pillow.  Instead, I can stay at home with my little girl and make this pillow in about 3 1/2 hrs while wearing my pjs.  Hello – best of both worlds. Of course, if you prefer to work and buy it, more power to you. SO on to the bolster tutorial.

Here are two important tips for this pillow:
1. Go slowly
2. Clip around the curves
Those should help a lot.  AND Bonus – there is also a tutorial for making your own custom cording – NOT hard. Don’t be intimidated.

Here is what you will need:

  • 2 bags of Polyfil or a 23×9 bolster pillow form(you would probably have to order it)
  • A yard of colorful fabric (fabric A)
  • 3/4 yard of contrasting fabric (fabric B)
  • 3/4 of solid fabric for cording (fabric C) – you could possibly use fabric A remnants
  • 2 1/2 yards of cable cord (don’t be afraid of this, they sell it everywhere. It costs around .29 a yard)
  • Perle Cotton Embroidery Floss
  • Sewing Machine/thread
  • Scissors
  • Water Soluble pen
  • Pins
  • Fearless attitude

Step 1:   Once you have assembled your materials, you need to cut four pieces.
*one rectangle 29″x20″ of fabric A
*one rectangle 29″ x 4 1/4″ out of fabric B

*two 10″ circles out of fabric A
(you can draw your own or print out my pattern here)
It’s nice if you make the fabric pattern match.

Step 2:  Lay the 4 1/2″ strip on top of the rectangle, edge to edge, right sides together.

Pin together and sew using a 1/4″ seam.

Open and press flat.

Step 3:  Time to add the detail.  The Anthro bolsters have pick-stitching detail.
I decided to mimic that look with a simple large quilting stitch.

Draw lines across the fabric, 2-3 inches apart (mine are 3″), using the water soluble pen.

I alternated embroidery floss colors every two rows (the Anthro ones alternate every three).

You can skip this stitching detail step but that’s what makes things special – detail.

Step 4: Cording Tutorial:

DON’T BE SCARED!!  You can do this.
Lay your fabric out like this – selvage is on the right side of the pic:

Fold the bottom right corner of the selvage edge up to the top left corner of the cut edge:

I usually split that fold with my scissors:

Then measure along that diagonal edge you just split 1 1/2″.

Cut both layers, resulting in two bias strips 1 1/2″ x 31″.

Now, fold one strip in half and place the cording in the crease.

You will probably need to put the zipper foot on.  It looks like this:

Topstitch along the fabric right next to the cording.

Finished cording looks like this:

Pretty, right?

Step 5:  Once you have finished both pieces of cording, snip 1/4″ into the lip – this will make it fit around the circle gracefully.

Pin the cording lip to the right side of the circle.  Match the raw edges of the circle and the cording.

When you make it all the way around the circle, this is how you join the two ends of cording.
Open one end (you may need to rip the seam just a little)  and fold the raw edge back.

Pull that cording out of the way, and lay the other end of cording in it’s place.

Close the fabric over the cord.

Topstitch it on like this:

Ooooo what a pretty circle 🙂

Step 6:  Okay you’re doing great.
Right sides together, pin the 29″ edge of the rectangle around the circle.
You will need to clip the edge of the rectangle just like you clipped the cording lip.

Sew in place (still feeling for the cording – you don’t want to sew over it).

{You basically sew right next to the cording three times – once while making the cording, once around the circle, and once around the rectangle.} Repeat with the other side or the rectangle.

Flip it right side out to make certain it looks pretty.Then flip it inside out and sew along the 24″ side of the pillow – leave about a 6″ opening for stuffing (if you are using a pillow form  you will need to leave a larger opening).

Step 7:  Flip the pillow right side out and stuff well with polyfil.  Pin the closing.

Step 8:  Whipstitch or blindstitch the opening closed.

Now stare in AMAZEMENT at your success.

happy homemaking,

Visit Jessica at her amazing site Sew Homegrown for more great tutorials!



Cassandra {Sleeping or Sewing}

OMG! My grandma had a bolster on her bed that she used forever. It was the width of her bed and she would use it more as purpose piece and less of a decorational piece. She would tuck it at the head of the bed with the bed spread neatly over and tucked under. Sniff Sniff. What a great memory. I can't wait to try this. Thank you for the tutorial.

Lil Mama Stuart

I've been looking for a good bolster tutorial! but Jessica is right, I am intimidated!!

Stashing this away for when I can get that fearless attitude for this project 🙂


I just finished my own bolster and I am so excited. The tutorial was great! I am such a beginner sewer and I was able to make this pillow. I skipped the cord b/c I don't have the foot for it. Next time!

Thank you so much for sharing!


Thanks for sharing! Excellent instructions and photos! I was just contracted to make 6 bolster pillows and had not made this particular type of pillow so decided to see if i could find instructions on the Internet. I feel confident I have found what I need! Maliha Taylor Inspired (named after my daughter and granddaughter. Thanks again!


This is the best sewing tutorial for a bolster pillow on the net! And you're right, they look like they're $100 plus. I think I'm going to make several for Christmas gifts. Awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to post this.


What an amazing tutorial! Like one of the other commenters,( is that a word?)
I got hired to make a cover for a huge bolster form but needed instructions.
Yours are very clear, the photos are gorge, and I love how you encourage people to just go for it. Good work!

My only question is how to make a closure so that the cover is removable.I think I will try sewing in a long bit of velcro, as she is using it for her kids…. wish me luck!

Laurie Lehmann

FYI, the pattern for the 10″ circle is actually a 12″ circle. the 5″ measurement is actually a 6″ line. oops my bolster is now quite large.
oh well. better luck next time


I was looking for a tutorial for making bolster pillows because I had leftover material from replacing my couch pillows. I made them from different pillow patterns. I wanted to use more than one pattern in a bolster pillow. It would include all of the patterns that I currently have on my couc.. Your tutorial gave me great ideas and the tuturial was itself excellent. The pictures are great. How did you do that?


Thanks for posting this tutorial. Great pictures and instructions. Was a super easy and fast project and I am no means an expert sewer. So happy with my pillow. Inspired to make more! Thanks again.


Thanks for all your hard work in putting together this awesome tute. Before I buy the fabric I have Q’s. We’re only using 4.5″ of Fabric B but we’re buying 3/4 yd, am I missing something? I want to make longer bolsters, about 40″ in length. Since the tute calls for 1 yd to make a 23″, I just add that extra 17″ to fabric A, right ? so I’d buy 1 yd plus 17″, right? And I’d buy 3 polyfil bags.
Thanks again!

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Hi there, just read your instructions and photos etc. So helpful, I have some experience sewing but always get “bogged down” and make many mistakes. This is so helpful.

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