Red Bolster Pillows

Last year when I first started blogging, I found myself snapping pictures step-by-step of each project I tackled, thinking some day I might write a post about it.

My husband thought I was nuts, but I think he actually liked it.

Secretly, I think he still gets excited when he thinks his picture might end up on my blog.

Back in those first days of photographing my projects though, I did not grasp the following truth:

"Good photos make good blogs." 

I still have so much to learn on this topic of photography, and actually have it listed as one of my 2012 goals, but I have come a long way from my early photos.

So please bear with me here as I share the Red Bolster Pillow project from my daughter's room last year.

I had seen these beautiful red bolster pillows on a daybed in a magazine, and I wanted to try my hand at sewing a couple for my daughter's bed.  First, here is how they turned out:

I must tell you up front, I completely winged these pillows; meaning, I did not follow a pattern of any way, shape or form.  This is normal for me.  Truth be told, patterns intimidate me.  I may be nuts.

But I knew about how long I wanted the pillows to be (which was the depth of the daybed, since I wanted one to sit at either end), and the easiest way I found to measure for width (circumference) was this: I took a salad plate that was the same circumference as my desired pillow, measured around its outer edge with a flexible tape measure, and used this measurement to determined the width of my fabric.  I then added 1/2" to the length and width to allow for seams. 

Basically, I was cutting out a huge rectangle of fabric for each pillow, both for my lining and my pillow cover, that would roll up and around the stuffing like a big burrito.

Make sense?

I used the same salad plate as a pattern to cut out eight circles: four circles for each end of my pillow inserts, four circles from the red fabric for the pillow covers.

(When I measured & cut fabric for the red pillow covers, I added another 1/2" to the lengths and widths, figuring it would need to fit over the filled pillow insert and needed to allow room for that.)

After cutting all my fabric pieces, I sewed the long ends of my rectangles together to form my "burrito", then sewed the circles to each end, leaving one end open for stuffing.  However, I did not sew the circles on my red pillow covers yet since I planned to add a ruffle.  (To save money for the pillow insert, I used an old sheet.)  Here is what the insert looked like once I sewed it, stuffed it, and then sewed the opening closed.

I know, I's kinda lumpy, isn't it?  Which is why I'm becoming a big fan of down stuffing instead of polyester, although down can be expensive.  However, I had this bag of filling already, I knew I'd be using a hefty fabric for the pillow covers, so I decided to use it instead and hope that the covers would somewhat smooth out the lumps.  I'll let you decide if this theory worked or not.... 

Before I show pictures of the red fabric covers, let's talk about the RUFFLES I opted to add:

I wanted to have contrasting cream-colored ruffles at the end of the bolster pillow covers.  Why?  Because my inspiration picture had them!  Oh, and of course I also loved the look. 

I'm not a complete copy-cat for copy-cat's sake.

I did not have any ruffle or trim for this purpose, but I vaguely remembered making a ruffle for a crib bumper when my daughter was born, so I decided to try it again.  (Side note:  Have you ever looked back on something you did years ago and think, "I did that?"  It's a weird feeling, almost a bit unnerving, as if somehow you knew more then than you do now?  But I digress...)

Yes, making your own ruffle is a little more work, but absolutely FREE...and very easy to do.

First, I used the old fitted sheet from the same sheet set used for the pillow inserts and cut it roughly into 3" strips.  I did not worry about being exact since I knew I'd be trimming them later.

After I had several "strips," I folded each of them in half and ironed them.  (Don't you love this old iron of mine from my college days? )

Next, I measured to make sure each strip, folded over, was 1 1/2" wide, and then trimmed a nice straight edge on each one. 

My next step was to sew the ends of each strip together to make one single long strip, and then carefully fold this single strip into "ruffles" that I pinned into place.

After a quick stitch through the sewing machine, I removed the pins and "voila!"  Here is a picture of my completed ruffle, trimmed and ready to be fitted on my red pillow covers.

After sewing the ruffles on the ends of my red pillow covers, I decided to add a velcro opening to one end rather than sew it closed.  This gives me the option of removing the covers for washing, a very good option indeed when you are sewing for a six year old girl who loves to sneak drinks into her room at night.

Usually only water, but one never knows with these six year old girls.

And now, here is a picture of the pillow insert and a rather droopy-looking pillow cover just waiting to be filled....

And finally, here are the two red bolster pillows, delightfully almost lump-free, filled and posing beautifully beside my very overgrown dog, Cruise. 

And once again, the completed look on my daughter's daybed:

And yes, it is dark outside her window.

Did I mention that our Alaskan sun currently rises about 10:30am these days and sets about 3:30pm? 

Does this make it extremely difficult to take well-lit pictures around here in the winter?

Yes, it most certainly does. 

But we persevere, and we get them when we can.

Because, dear readers, as I learn more and more all the time:  "Good photos make good blogs."

Wishing you much good in your day today,

Labels: ,