Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bolster Pillow- Button Tufted with Flat Ends

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!  I've been busy in my workroom sewing up a storm for my favorite designer.  Which means I have a new tutorial to share.
A Bolster Pillow with Covered Button Tufted Flat Ends.
Isn't it adorable!  It's not quite as easy as the other bolsters I have shown, but it is still a pretty easy pillow to make.
I made two of these for my designer.  They are for the sides of a daybed.  The daybed measured 71x38, so these bolsters were made 38" long and 9" high.

What you'll need:
1 yd of fabric per bolster
1/4 yd contrasting fabric for the ends
zipper or zipper by the yard
2 button forms or large buttons
2 yds of upholstery batting

As always, we have to do our math first.
If the diameter of our finished end circle is 9", then we need to multiply that by pi (3.14) which equals roughly 28 1/4".  So it will take 28 1/4" to go around our bolster.  Now we need to add our zipper allowance.  I add 1 1/2", so we need to have 29 3/4" to go around the circle and accommodate our zipper.
Since I made this bolster to be 38" long, we need to add 1/2" seam allowance to both ends. (38=1/2"=1/2"+=39")
So we will be cutting our main piece 39" wide x 29 3/4" long.
Next we need to cut our two circle ends.  Add 1/2" seam allowance all the way around, so we need to cut two 10" circles.
In order to cut circles, you can trace a plate if you have one that measures 10" exactly.  
Cut and sew approx. 60" worth of welt cord.  See how to cut and cover welt cord here.

Mark the center bottoms of your circles with a small clip into the fabric.  Laying your welt 1/2" past that clip mark, start sewing at the clip mark.  Use a zipper foot to get close to the welt cord edge.  Clip into the seam allowance of your welt about every 3/4" or so to accommodate the curve of the circle.
When you're almost all the way around the circle pause with your needle down and extend the welt 1" past the starting welt.  Cut the welt 1" past the starting welt.  Open the seam allowance of the welt 2".  Turning under 1/2 of the fabric that covers the welt and placing it under your starting welt.  Now cut off the ending welt filler cord even with your starting welt.  fold the fabric welt cover over the starting welt cord and finish stitching to join the welt cord.  Sorry I forgot to get pictures of this whole process on this pillow, but you can see pictures of the process on my Fan Fold Pillow tutorial here.
Once you have the welt cord stitched to both the circle ends, it's time to insert the zipper.
I always serge or finish the edges that are going to be sewn along my zipper.  You'd hate to have the fabric fray and then get those fabric threads caught up in your zipper.  So serge your 39" long edges.
I use zipper by the yard.  It is easier and more economical.  I buy mine from Rowley who only distributes to the trade, but you can do a web search to find it retail.  
Out of scraps of fabric, I cut what I call my zipper stops.  I cut these 1 1/8" wide by 3-4" long.  Fold under 1/2" of your zipper stop and lay it on top of your zipper end.  Stitch back and forth alongside the zipper teeth.
Now stitch alongside the other side of the zipper teeth.  This acts as a zipper stop and will not allow your zipper to unzip past this point.  One benefit of doing it this way is you don't have to stitch across the zipper teeth which can dull and sometimes break your needle.
Lay one edge of your 39" long edges on top of the zipper.  Right sides together.  Stitch along this edge close to the zipper teeth and stopping approx 4" from the end.

Once you've paused with your needle down, lay your 2nd zipper stop next to the zipper and fold under 1/2" of the zipper stop and see where that lines up with the zipper.  Cut your zipper here.  Your zipper should extend 1/2" under your zipper stop and your zipper stop should align with the end of your pillow length.
 Once you cut your zipper, lay your zipper stop under the fabric against the zipper and stitch the rest of the way.

Turn your zipper and fabric right side up.  It should look like this.
Push your fabric slightly over the zipper teeth and give it a finger pressing to form a fold.  This will be your zipper flap.
With your zipper foot between the zipper teeth and your stitching, stitch along this edge.  
Separate the zipper teeth a little at the open end and slide your zipper slide on.
We won't stitch that other edge of the zipper just yet.  We'll do that after we are sure our pillow matches up after sewing around the circle.
Lay your end on top of your first end/circle piece.  Line the end of the zipper up with the center bottom of the circle.  Start stitching an inch or so away from the center bottom.  Stitch as close to the welt as possible.
Clip into the seam allowance every 3/4" just like you did when you stitched the welt to the circle.
When you get about an inch and a half from the zipper, stop stitching and see how this end is going to line up with the seam allowance of the zipper.  Mine was slightly short, so I took a smaller seam allowance when stitiching the re maining edge to the remaining edge of the zipper.
Once you have it lined up and you can see how big your seam allowance needs to be, remove the pillow from the machine.
Push the zipper flap out of the way and stitch the remaining serged edge to the remaining zipper edge.  Since my fabric was a stripe, I took great care to make sure the stripes were lining up perfectly on each side of the zipper.
Now, push the zipper flap back over the zipper and stitch the remaining 2" or so at the bottom of the circle.
Line up the center of the zipper with the center bottom of the 2nd circle and stitch.  again stitching as close to the welt as possible and clipping into the seam allowance to accommodate the curve.
Turn right side out and you are ready to stuff and tuft.
If you are using covered buttons like I did, cover your buttons now and set aside.  I haven't done a tutorial on covered buttons yet, but I know there are other blogs that have covered this with good directions.
This particular designer has me stuff her bolsters with upholstery batting, especially if they are going to be tufted.  There are all kinds of fills you can use, foam, down feathers, polyfil etc.  But the batting fill keeps it's round shape unlike feathers and is easy to tuft unlike foam and polyfil.  Upholstery batting is a thick batting.  It can be purchased at upholstery supply shops.
I cut my batting 38" and rolled it up until I had a 10" tall circle.  Our bolster is only 9", but we need that extra 1" to fill out our pillow completely and to ensure we don't end up with a baggy fit.
Once you have your batting figured and cut, unroll it and lay two strands of tufting twine (or very strong thread) across the batting and roll up the batting again with the twine in the very center.  Make sure there are several inches of twine hanging out each end.  Staple the end of your batting down.
Just to ensure my ends of the bolster get a really good pouf at the tufted ends, I add a circle of batting to the end of the batting fill.  Trace two circles using the end of your batting roll as a guide and cut them out.
Fold your circles in fourths and make a dot in the center.
Using a large needle with a LARGE eye, thread your tufting threads onto the needle and insert through he middle of the batting circle.

Staple the edges of the circle to the edges of the bolster fill, all around the circle.
Find the exact center of your pillow circles and pin a pin there.  Re-thread the needle with the two twine ends at one end of your batting fill.  Stuff the first end of your batting fill in one end of the pillow.  Reach in and poke your needle through the pillow end at the center.  Attach your button with a triple knot.
Stuff the batting fill the rest of the way in your bolster.  Push the seam allowances towards the long part of the pillow.  I just think it looks better when the seam allowances are pushed in that direction.  Thread your needle again with the twine sticking out of the other end of your fill.  Reach in again and poke the needle through the center of the 2nd circle.
Sometimes i use needle nose pliers to pull the needle through.  Be careful though, I stuck myself with the needle doing this pillow and didn't know it until I saw a speck of blood on the white fabric.
(which I got out with a Qtip and Hydrogen Peroxide)
Zip up your pillow before you knot the other button to the end.  I align the seam of the batting with the zipper along the bottom.
Pull on the the twine until you have the buttons pushing in enough.  this is a personal preference thing, but if you pull them in too far, your round ends will start to get out of shape.
So here's the finished bolsters for the day bed.  I think maybe we should have used a different fabric for the welt, but that's what this designer wanted and she was happy with it.
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  1. Wow! Those are super cute! Thanks so much for sharing the "how to". Your instructions are just wonderful.

  2. These turned out really cute. You are very talented! Bolsters are a lot of work aren't they? They're not my favorite thing to make but I love the look. I recently used needle nose pliers to do the same thing! :)

  3. Those are absolutely beautiful! I need to learn how to :) Megan

  4. Super cute! Your tutorial made a difficult job so much easier! I’d love it if you would consider linking with Busy Monday (open Monday through Thursdays) at A Pinch of Joy, a linky party for ideas that make life better, easier and more fun!

  5. What clear instructions. I love your blog

  6. You did an awesome job! I would love for you to stop by and Link up at my Link Party via:

    Mrs. Delightful

  7. Very nice tutorial :) I'm your newest follower, stop by for a blog visit I also have a giveaway.

    1. I'm trying to follow but the button isn't working I will have to stop back and try it again later.

  8. this is so adorable. Thank you for linking up to our party. I am going to have to try this now when we finally decide on bedding for our girls!


  9. Wonderful!! I love your bolsters!! Wishing I could sew better, not brave enough to try these yet. But I did save to favorites so incase I do get brave enough, you can help me! Thanks dear!!

  10. Your bolsters are beautiful. I have never made bolster before, but your tutorial will definitely give me the confidence. I love see your projects and tutorials. Very pretty. Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration at Sunday's Best.

  11. Great job! Outstanding instructions, too.

    Hope you'll come link up this post at my blog, Gabriel's Good Tidings. The party is going on now!


  12. Love the bolster pillows, beautiful! Your instructions are wonderfully complete. I hope you don't mind, I mentioned you on my facebook page. :)

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