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If you need to instantly perk-up your outdoor living space, nothing is faster or easier than a set of pretty pillows. The focal pillow in our patio trio uses faux fur. Faux fur for summer? Yep! We chose a great shaggy fur that looks like a pillow made of fresh green grass. It’s paired with a classic piped square and a tufted bolster. Both of these are in a tough indoor/outdoor fabric.

Today’s modern outdoor fabrics come in a huge array of wonderful colors and prints! Plus, this type of hard-working fabric is traditionally quite wide, ours was 54″ wide, as well as being mildew, stain, sun, and water resistant; making it perfect for outdoor settings as well as indoors in sunny rooms.

If you plan to leave your pillows outside for the majority of the season, you may also want to look for an indoor/outdoor pillow form in 100% polyester. If you have trouble finding this, you can certainly still use a standard form. If it gets damp, air dry or dry in dryer on air or low heat setting. Add dryer balls to keep the pillow fluffy.

Although tough, these pillows are not meant to be left out in the rain for extended periods of time.

We created our pillows as a set of three and so were able to mix and match the fabrics, using scraps from the main cuts for our piping cuts. Below, we’ve given you supplies to make each pillow independently. You’ll end up with a little extra fabric, but we all love a little extra fabric!

Our two square pillows both finish at approximately 20″ x 20″. The bolster pillow is 6″ x 20″.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies


NOTE: Yardage shown allows a bit extra to allow for precise fussy cutting.

Faux Fur Pillow: 20″ x 20″

  • ⅔ yard of 45″+ wide faux fur fabric; we originally used 60″ Mongolian Faux Fur in Olive
  • ONE 16″ – 18″ invisible zipper; optional
  • One 20″ x 20″ pillow form; we originally used an Indoor/Outdoor PolyFil pillow insert

Bolster Pillow: 6″ x 20″

  • ¾ yard of 45″ wide indoor/outdoor fabric as the main fabric for the center panel, bolster ends and piping; we originally used 54″ Wave from Terrasol Indoor/Outdoor in Peacock
  • ¼ yard of 45″ wide coordinating indoor/outdoor fabric as the secondary fabric for the end panels and button covers; we originally used 54″ Jaipur from Terrasol Indoor/Outdoor in Peacock
  • 1½ yards of ¼”, “size 2” piping cord
  • TWO 1½” button cover kits
  • ONE 12″+ straight upholstery needle for attaching the tufted buttons
  • One small spool of waxed button/upholstery thread also for attaching the tufted buttons
  • One 6″ x 20″ bolster pillow form; we originally used a 6″ x 20″ Fairfield Soft Touch® neckroll insert – there wasn’t an indoor/outdoor option in this sizeshape

Piped Pillow: 20″ x 20″

  • 1¼ yards of 45″+ wide indoor/outdoor fabric; we originally used 54″ Jaipur from Terrasol Indoor/Outdoor in Peacock
  • 3 yards of ⅜”, “size 3” piping cord
  • One 20″ x 20″ pillow form; we originally used an Indoor/Outdoor Polyfil pillow insert

Supplies needed for all pillows

  • All-purpose thread or Coats Outdoor Living thread to match fabric
    NOTE: Regular thread can succumb to the elements much more quickly, so it’s a good idea to use a specialty thread if your pillow set will be outside all season.
  • See-through ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started and Pattern Download

Faux Fur Pillow: 20″ x 20″

  1. Before you start, check out our Sewing with Faux Fur article for pinning, cutting and sewing tips. There are important things to remember that will make your final seams nearly invisible and allow you to avoid accidentally giving your faux fur a “bad haircut”!
  2. Cut TWO 20″ x 20″ squares

Bolster Pillow: 6″ x 20″

  1. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT the Bolster End Piece pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. Print horizontally (landscape).
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  3. From the main fabric (Wave in Peacock in our sample), fussy cut the following:
    ONE 14″ x 19½” rectangle for the center panel
    NOTE: Adjust width and height to best match your motif – when looking at the bolster laying horizontally, the 19½” represents the height and the 14″ represents the width.
    Enough 1½” bias strips to equal two 22″ lengths or 44″  total.
    NOTE: If you are new to cutting on the bias for piping, we have a great tutorial: How to Make and Attach Piping for Pillows & More.
  4. Using the Bolster End pattern, fussy cut TWO circles
  5. From the secondary fabric (Jaipur in Peacock in our sample), fussy cut TWO 4½” x 19½” rectangles (adjust width and height to best match your motif – we centered half medallions facing in opposite directions). You’ll use scraps of this fabric for the covered buttons.
  6. Cut TWO 22″ lengths of cording

Piped Pillow: 20″ x 20″

  1. Fussy cut TWO 20″ x 20″ squares
  2. Cut enough 2″ strips on the bias to equal two 96″ total.
    NOTE: As above, see our tutorial for more about piping.
  3. Cut a 96″ length of cording

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Faux Fur Pillow

NOTE: Don’t forget to look through our Sewing with Faux Fur article for pinning, cutting and sewing tips.

Optional zipper

  1. We inserted an 18″ invisible zipper into the bottom seam of our pillow. This is optional to allow you to wash the pillow cover. The faux fur we selected can be machined washed on cold and air dried.
  2. You can skip the zipper and simply seam all sides, leaving a 6-8″ opening to turn, and then hand stitching the opening closed with a slip stitch or whip stitch.
  3. To go with our zipper method, pick an invisible zipper between 16″ and 18″ in length. With invisible zippers, you work with the front and back of your pillow BEFORE you sew them together.
  4. If you’re new to this technique, the instructions that come with an invisible zipper are actually pretty good (as packaged instructions go). We also have a dandy invisible zipper tutorial.
  5. The only extra step when doing a zipper insertion in faux fur is to comb the fur away from the raw edge of the fabric so you don’t have little hairs in the way of the zipper tape when sewing.
  6. Once you have your zipper sewn in place, open it up (if you forget to open the zipper, you won’t be able to turn the pillow right side out; invisible zippers are REALLY hard – if not downright impossible – to unzip from the back side).

Assemble front and back

  1. With the zipper in place, pin the front and back right sides together.
  2. Stitch the remaining three sides of the pillow using a ½” seam allowance.
  3. Clip all four corners and turn the pillow right side out through the zipper opening.
  4. Use a blunt end tool, like a large knitting needle, chopstick or point turner to help push out the corners so they are nice and square.
  5. Stuff the pillow insert into the pillow cover through the zipper opening, making sure to fluff it out the corners, and close the zipper.

Bolster Pillow

  1. Find the center panel and the two end panels.
  2. Place an end panel right sides together along both 19½” raw edges of the center panel. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the end panels in place.
  4. Press the seam allowance together and towards the end panels. Topstitch in place within the end panel fabric, running your seam ¼” from the seam. We used our Quarter Inch Seam foot.
  5. Fold the seamed panel right sides together, aligning the 21″ sides. Pin in place, leaving an approximate 8″ – 10″ opening at the center.
  6. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the seam. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 8″ – 10″ opening.
  7. Press the seam allowance open.

Make the piping

  1. At the risk of sounding repetitive, if this is your first time making piping, see our tutorial, How To Make And Attach Your Own Piping.
  2. Stitch together your 1½” strips if need be to create TWO 22″ lengths.
  3. Find the matching lengths of piping cord.
  4. Wrap the fabric, right side out, around the cord. Pin close to the cord to hold it in place.
  5. Using a Zipper foot, sew close to the cord to create your fabric covered piping.
  6. Find one of the two round end panels.
  7. Pin piping to the right side of the bolster end panel, aligning the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the circle.
  8. If necessary, you can clip the raw edges of the piping to better allow it to curve around the circle. Don’t cut into the piping cord.
  9. Using a Zipper foot or your machine’s Standard foot, start stitching about 1″ from the raw end of the piping (to facilitate a clean finish). Stitch all the way around. When you are about 1″ from the starting point, stop and lock your stitch.
  10. Remove the project from the machine.
  11. Lay the piping against the fabric so it is flat and smooth. If necessary, cut away any additional excess fabric and piping leaving about a 1″ tail.
  12. With a seam ripper, peel back the fabric to expose the cording underneath.
  13. Trim the end of cording tail so it exactly meets the end of the sewn-down cording. Fold under the end of the loose fabric to create a clean edge. Lift up that little bit piping you left loose at the beginning and wrap the folded end under and around, overlapping about ½”.
  14. Stitch in place, matching your seam line.
  15. Repeat to attach the remaining length of piping to the remaining end panel.

Attach the end panels

  1. Find the two bolster end panels with the piping in place.
  2. Fold each circle in half and then in half again to find the four quarter points of the circle. Mark each point with a pin or a fabric pencil. It’s like the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 points on a clock face.
  3. In addition, find and mark the exact center of the circle. You will use this point later to attach the buttons.
    NOTE: There is a center point mark on the pattern to help with this exact placement. 
  4. To create marks on the bolster tube that will line up with the pin marks on each end panel, you need to press the ends of the tube carefully. Your back seam should already be pressed open. If not, press it open now.
  5. Gently pull the seam to the right, so you can press a fold directly opposite the seam.
  6. Now, gently pull the tube in the opposite direction, matching up the seam and the first crease, and press two additional creases at each side. Just like the end panel, it’s like the quarter points on a clock face.
  7. Remember, you are only pressing the very end of the bolster, just enough to place your pins. If pressing seems too complicated, you could also simply pinch the fabric to set a mark and then add a pin. The seam line and the three pin marks will now match the quadrant pins on the end circles.
  8. Set one bolster end circle inside each end of the bolster tube, right sides together. Line up those helpful marks you made. This is similar to how set-in sleeves are sewn. Pin in place around the entire circle.
  9. Now you are now going to stitch in the round. Place the pinned end of the tube so the raw edge is flipped up a little under the sewing machine foot. This will make it easier to sew around the circle.
  10. If you are new to sewing curves and circles, luckily for you, we have a great tutorial called… you guessed it: Sewing Successful Curves!
  11. Using a ½” seam allowance, sew around each circle through all the layers. If you can’t get a full ½”, that’s okay. Just get as close as possible to the piping. We used our Zipper foot to help get in close.

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique of sewing a flat round flat panel into a tube, check out our full tutorial on the subject.

Tufted buttons

  1. To add tufted center buttons to each end requires button covers, a special long needle, and waxed thread – specified in the supply list above.
  2. Insert the pillow form into the cover through the opening the main panel seam.
  3. Cut two circles from the leftover end panel fabric (Jaipur in Peacock in our sample) and complete the two covered buttons. If you are new to this technique, we have a full tutorial on working with button kits.
  4. Run the waxed button thread through the shank of one covered button, doubling the length. Make sure you have plenty of thread; you need it to be at least a few inches longer than the bolster itself – then double this because you are threading a double length. It’s better to have more thread than not enough.
  5. Thread both ends through the long upholstery needle.
  6. Insert the needle at the exact center point of one end. Make one stitch
  7. Push the needle back in, keeping it as straight and level as possible.
  8. As it begins to disappear, “accordion” the cushion to continue moving the needle down through the center of the foam until it comes out the opposite end. Maneuver the point of the needle as necessary to insure it comes out through the exact center mark on the bottom of the cushion. Once you’ve made it out the center, pull the needle all the way through.
  9. Pull the thread tight to cinch up the top button. This button is now secured as is.
  10. Remove the thread tails from the needle, keeping some tension on the thread as you pull it away from the pillow. Pull apart the two lengths of thread. Thread one length through the remaining covered button. Tie the ends into a slip knot.
  11. Tighten the slip knot, pulling on the thread tail. Cinch it up until the tufting on both the top and bottom looks good to you. When you’re happy with the look, secure the thread by tying the ends into a standard double knot. Cut away the excess thread. The raw ends of the thread will be hidden behind the second covered button.

    NOTE: Our Folklore Bolster Pillow has a similar construction method and you can find find additional photos of the button tufting.

Piped Pillow

Make the piping

  1. Following the same steps as above for the Bolster Pillow, stitch together your 2″ strips to create the full 96″ length of bias strips.
  2. Find the matching length of piping cord.
  3. Wrap the fabric around the cord. Pin close to the cord to hold it in place.
  4. Using a Zipper foot, sew close to the cord to create your fabric covered piping.
  5. Find your pillow front piece.
    NOTE: The front and back are both 20″ x 20″ squares so either one could be the official “front.” Simply choose the one you like best or that perhaps has the best fussy cut
  6. Starting in the middle of one side, pin piping to the right side of the front piece, aligning the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the front.
  7. Clip the cording at the corners to allow it to curve around the corners nicely.
  8. Start stitching about 1″ from the raw end of the piping (to facilitate a clean finish). Stitch all the way around.
  9. Finish the ends as shown above (and in our tutorial).

Assemble the layers

  1. Find your front panel with the piping stitched in place and your back panel.
  2. Place the finished front panel on your work surface right side facing up.
  3. Place the back panel on top, right side facing down. Your piping is sandwiched in between the layers.
  4. Carefully align all the raw edges and pin in place, leaving an 8″ – 10″ opening along the bottom edge.
  5. Using your Zipper foot, stitch together through all layers around all four sides, using a ½” seam allowance, which should be as close to the piping as possible. Go slowly and make sure your layers stay flat. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 8″ – 10″ opening.
  6. When your seam is complete. Turn the pillow cover right side out through the opening. Push out the piping all around. Using a long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick, to smooth out the corners.
  7. Insert your pillow form through the opening and fluff it out into the corners.
  8. Fold in the raw edge at the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam and up against the piping. Lightly pin in place.
  9. Thread a hand needle and slip stitch the opening closed.
    NOTE: Neither this pillow nor the bolster pillow has a removable cover, but either pillow can be popped into the washer and dryer when finished. Wash on gentle on a cool setting and use a low tumble dry or air dry. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

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