DIY Bolster Cushion with Buffalo Check Trim
This farmhouse style DIY bolster cushion is a perfect beginner project for both sewing and embroidery. For this tutorial, I broke down each stage into tiny individual steps with lots of detail but it is easy to sew.
This DIY bolster cushion features a farmhouse feel with buffalo check piping ends and a fun farmhouse saying. The bolster cushion is 9 inches by 29 inches.
Supplies for your DIY Bolster Cushion
Instead of purchasing a bolster cushion insert I made my own.
1.5 yards of white fabric (or black)
2 yard of 1/4″ piping cord
1/4 yard of buffalo check fabric (36″ wide)
Sewing Machine and Zipper Foot
Dark Grey or Black Embroidery Cotton and embroidery needle
Preparing the Fabric Pieces
You will be cutting two circles, and one rectangular piece in a plain fabric and two small strips of buffalo check fabric.
Circular End Fabric Pieces
Cut two 10 inch circles. I cheated and used a cake pan. I just placed a ten” cake pan on my fabric and drew around it with chalk, so easy. You could also use a pot lid, an embroidery hoop, or draw a circle using string and chalk.
To use string and chalk, tie a string around your chalk. Make your string 5″ long (the radius of 10″ circle). Hold the string end firm at the center of your circle on the fabric. Pull the string tight and draw a chalk mark in a circular motion until you have the circle.
Cut two circles one for each end of the cushion
Note: If you want to make a different size decide on the diameter of the end circles first and then do a quick calculation to figure out the circumference for the rectangle. The formula is 3.14 x the diameter of your circle =πd
So in this case 3.14 x 10 = 31.4″
Sew around the outside edge of your circle using a zig-zag stitch.
Then sew a second zig-zag seam 1/2 inch from the edge of the circle.
Finally, snip out little notches of fabric about an inch apart all the way around your circle. They don’t need to be fancy or really even. Set aside.
Buffalo Check Piping
Cut 2 pieces of piping cord 36″ long.
Cut 2 pieces of buffalo check fabric 2″ by 36″ long. (You don’t need to zig-zag the fabric edges yet.)
Place a zipper foot onto your sewing machine. This allows you to sew right against the edge of the piping.
Fold the buffalo check fabric around the piping, line up the long edges of your fabric, place under the sewing foot and sew as close to the cording as possible. Continue matching the edge of the fabric as you sew.
Repeat with the other length of piping.
Once you have both pieces of piping covered in buffalo check seal the edge of each seam together with a zig zag stitch.
Your custom piping is now done, set aside.
Rectangular Fabric Piece
Cut a rectangular piece of fabric 31.5″ (for the circumference) by 30 inches (width). Sew around all the seams using a zig-zag stitch. Before sewing into a tube for the cushion we will add the lettering.
This is optional, but this bed is for my granddaughters’ room so I wanted something fun on the cushion. To give it a farmhouse feel I added the words “hit the hay.”
I used Picmonkey to make my template the font is Amatic and the size is 900. As it is copyright protected I cannot share the template with you.
Alternatively, you can use Word and Dandy Long Legs for the font.
After you create and print out your template, place it good side on a window and using coloured chalk trace the letters.
Find the center of your fabric by folding your fabric in half, and in half again. Make a chalk mark at the point. On the paper template, the center is the crossbar on the letter H in “the”. Line up the center of the paper template face side down, to the center of the good side of the fabric. Rub along the letters only. with your finger to transfer the chalk to the fabric.
Once you have the wording transferred, use an embroidery needle and six strings of embroidery thread (don’t separate the strands from the bundle your purchased) Starting from the back push the needle up at the bottom of the H, push down at the top of the H, repeat for the other leg of the H, then go back and do the crossbar. Tie off at the back and cut. Start on the letter A doing it the same way. Only one stitch per line, it sews very quickly.
Sew the DIY Buffalo Check Farmhouse Bolster Cushion Together
Lay your fabric good side up and pin the piping along each 31″ side. Line the edge of your piping to the edge of your fabric. You will have a little bit of piping left over on each end. Pin in place. Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine sew as close to the piping cord as possible. Repeat with the second piece of buffalo check piping.
Now we have all the separate parts done all that is left is three seams.
Starting with the rectangular fabric fold it in half good sides toward each other (check that its 30″ wide to make sure you have folded it in the right direction). Pin the open seam together. When you get to the ends where the piping is, cross the piping over each other. Pull one up and one down and pin the extra bits of piping to hold the ends in place.
Once your seam is pinned, sew a 3/4″ seam about ten inches. Reverse the thread to tack the thread. Cut the threads. Leave a 10″ gap unsewn, then restart the seam and sew to the end. The gap in the seam is to allow room for the cushion insert.
Once everything is sewn and you like it. Snip of the extra tails of the buffalo check piping.
Attaching the Circle Ends
Leave sewn tube of fabric wrong side out.
Place a circle inside the tube end. As you line up the edge of the tube fabric and the cut circle fabric, pin the circle in four places (imagine a clock at 12,3,6,9).
Make sure everything is smooth while you work. Then repeat with more pins between each pin. Do this until your end is very well pinned in place.
Use lots and lots of pins until you are totally pleased with how smooth the cushion end is. It doesn’t take very long, and the little notches you cut out earlier gives the circle a bit of stretch so that it can match to the tube fabric.
Pin the other end as well, before starting to sew.
Sewing the Circle Ends of the DIY Bolster Cushion
Still using a zipper foot, you want to sew the end of the cushion to the tube, along the piping. We could have done it all at once, but taking the extra step of presewing the piping in place, makes this stage much easier.
Place your fabric into the sewing machine. Feel for the piping and slowly add a couple of stitches to start your seam.
Once your seam is started, remove a couple of the pins, fold the fabric back to double check the placement. Lay your fabric down, and sew along the piping.
Working slowly do this every couple of pins, until you have sewn your way right around the circle.
Repeat on the other end.