Dritz Leaderboard_2019_Visit Dritz_new logo
Janome General-Leaderboard right

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram


A Romantic Bedroom Retreat with Rowan & FreeSpirit Fabrics: Elegant Knotted Bolster Pillow

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

As you create a roomful of projects, you want to start with a focal point and flow outward from there. Our room centers on an ornate king bed and the beautiful, billowing Layered Bed Curtains and Valance, which we introduced on Monday of this week. Now we begin to add in the other projects that will continue to build an aura of comfort and romance. A dramatic bolster pillow is always a stand-out in any pile-o-pillows, and we took full advantage of our pillow's 30" length to showcase a bold fussy cut. The beautiful medallions of the Angelica design from Amy Butler's Cameo collection for Rowan Fabrics was the perfect choice. We then added elegant tasseled fringe (a match to the valance trim) and slinky stretch velvet knotted into flowing tails on either end. Our thanks to our friends at FreeSpirit and Rowan fabrics for sponsoring the Romantic Bedroom Retreat series, which covers three weeks of beauty and imagination: nine tutorials, five techniques and one Great Giveaway!

The Romantic Bedroom Retreat features four collections from Westminster Fibers Lifestyle FabricsFreeSpirit Pagoda Lullaby by Tina GivensFreeSpirit The Birds & The Bees by Tula PinkRowan Bromley by Victoria & Albert and Rowan Cameo by Amy Butler. Today's project uses a beautiful cotton from Amy Butler's Cameo collection. Want to learn more about how we brought together these four different collections into a cohesive design? Take a look at our tutorial: A Romantic Bedroom Retreat with Rowan & FreeSpirit Fabrics: How to Mix and Match Designer Fabric Collections

For all of the projects in our series, Westminster helped us put together a very handy Where to Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options. The collections have just coming out now in-store and online.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Our pillow form measured 8" x 30", which is longer than a standard bolster, but correct in order to not get lost on our ornate king size bed. You could certainly make your bolster larger or smaller; simply adjust your cuts proportionately. The drawing below shows you the pillow measurements on which you can base any changes.

  • ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the center feature panel; we used Cameo in Angelica Zinc by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics 
    NOTE: If you are new to fussy cutting and/or choose a fabric with a large repeat, we recommend purchasing a full yard of the feature fabric.
  • ¾ yard of 60" wide stretch velvet fabric for the end panels; we used olive stretch velvet (purchased locally) in order to match one of the accent colors in the Amy Butler fabric and to coordinate with our tassel trim, which is the same trim we used on the Layered Bed Curtain Valance
    NOTE: Do you HAVE to use stretch velvet? No. But you do need something that is nice and wide, has a good texture, and will tie into a knot. 
  • 1½ yards of heavy decorative tassel trim; we used tri-tassel upholstery quality trim with accent crystals (purchased locally)
  • One 8" x 30" bolster pillow form; we found ours on Amazon
  • All-purpose thread to match fabrics and trim
  • See-through ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Remember, as mentioned above, our cuts and instructions are for a 8" x 30" pillow form. 
  2. From the fabric for the center feature panel (Angelica Zinc in our sample), fussy cut ONE 19" wide x 26" high rectangle.
  3. From the fabric for the end panels (olive stretch velvet in our sample), cut one piece 26" x the width of the fabric. In reality, this means you are trimming just 1" from your yardage. We recommend cutting ½" from the top and bottom to insure you have a nice straight edge on both the top and bottom. Then, cut your 26" x WOF piece in half, so you end up with TWO 26" x 30" cuts.  
    NOTE: As above with the feature fabric, if you are less confident about your precision cutting skills, get a full yard of the stretch velvet so you have more fabric with which to work. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Pin a velvet panel to either side of the center panel, aligning the 26" sides. 
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides in place. We recommend a Walking foot for this project, because velvet always wants to creep, and this particular velvet wants to both creep and stretch. A Walking foot has its own built in top feed dogs to work in combination with the machine's bottom feed dogs to keep tricky layers of fabric from shifting. 
  3. Finger press the seam allowances flat or use a cool iron and a pressing cloth and press from the back. You don't want to damage the nap of the velvet.
  4. Cut the trim into two 26" lengths.
  5. Place the trim along each center/side panel seam, positioning it so the flat braid is sitting on the center panel with the bottom edge of the braid laying right along the seam. The tassels are then hanging over the velvet. Pin in place or use a temporary adhesive.
  6. For the best stability, stitch the trim in place with a top and bottom seam. 

    NOTE: Stretch velvet does not ravel, so we left the ends as a smooth cut edge. However, you can certainly hem your edges. This is the point in the project at which you would do this. Simply make a narrow, double turn hem or a rolled hem along the raw edge of each of the end panels.
  7. Fold the entire sewn piece in half, right sides together, aligning the long sides. Pin in place to create a long tube.
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the length of the tube.
  9. Finger press the seam flat or use a pressing cloth and a cool iron from the back.
  10. Turn right side out.
  11. Slip the pillow form into place and center it end to end. 
  12. Tie the open ends shut with a simple overhand knot.

    NOTE: If your selected fabric is too stiff or thick to tie into a nice knot you could gather the fabric up against the end of the bolster, then wrap the fabric with thread, ribbon or scrap fabric. Wrap it several times and cinch it securely against the ends of the bolster. You can then simply tuck in the ends of the tie, if it's something pretty, or cover the tie with matching fabric to the end panels. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever



Comments (36)

Dawn905 said:
Dawn905's picture

I can imagine that this type of pillow would feel really good. I get headaches at the base of my skull/neck and want to try this out. Thanks!

ChristyL said:
ChristyL's picture

I picked up sewing less than a year ago and have basically only used cottons.  I am in LOVE with this pillow so it will be an excellent intro into different fabric textures for me.  Definitely going to try this out

Paula Brackett said:
Paula Brackett's picture

Very elegant.   I have a bolster pillow just asking to be recovered.   This is my answer! Thank you!

gibbylet said:
gibbylet's picture

Thats an interesting version of a bolster pillow - I have one that's been sitting around waiting for me to figure out what to do with it - I'll see if I can make this work for me.

icouldbefake said:
icouldbefake's picture

I guess I like the idea of this but I don't really like these particular fabrics.

jrando said:
jrando's picture

I LOVE this whole thing! I really need a bolster pillow for my bed- this might have to be my next project. The fabric is amazing as well!

asdrexler said:
asdrexler's picture

the stretch velvet looks amazing in the knot on the end. great idea.

luvdafroggy said:
luvdafroggy's picture

So many fantastic ideas!  Love Free Spirit fabrics; can't wait to get to my sewing machine!  Thanks.  =)

Bamom23girls said:
Bamom23girls's picture

Every article makes me feel that I can accomplish this! My daughter has a pillow like this that needs replaced. Definitely doing this one. I lOve the colors!

meyerslemon said:
meyerslemon's picture

That fabric's pattern is great, and you picked a gorgeous coordinating fabric as well.

Janet Pierce said:
Janet Pierce's picture

Great pillow, and love the size of it for a king size bed.  Great tutorial.

Annie K said:
Annie K's picture

Showed this to the hubs, who's comment was, "What's a bolster pillow?"  ...this is why he doesn't get to help redecorate.

sarahkate said:
sarahkate's picture

I love that look of the Amy Butler cotton with the stretch velvet, it is like they were made to go together!

Banderson said:
Banderson's picture

Something like this seems so intimidating, but you made it look so easy!!  Thank you!

Haslina Mohd Salleh said:
Haslina Mohd Salleh's picture

Love the trimmings.....very nice...and the bolster is super cute! good for sofas too or chaise lounge...

mcruppe said:
mcruppe's picture

I agree, excellent addition to the sofa or chaise lounge and I love the wonderful step-by-step instructions.

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

This is a lovely bolster for a formal bedroom and seeing it and reading the tutoriaI to learn more about fringe. I probably would not make it as doesn't fit the casual feel of our home.

quilting with altitude said:
quilting with altitude's picture

I probably wouldn't use the fringe on the bolster.  If I couldn't find trim that would match the fabric, I would add a third fabric as an embellishment.  Fringe isn't my thing, but I do appreciate having the instructions for making the bolster.  Thank you.