Sewing Tutorial: Make a Bolster Pillow

DIY pillows with decorator looks.

Bolster pillows add a decorator’s touch to your home decor and are easy to make. You’ll use Dritz® cover buttons to add polish and a pop of color; other basic sewing supplies like waxed thread and decorator’s needles make the buttons easy to apply. Bolster pillows provide lower back support and look pretty in any fabric. They really are a great way  to freshen up or update any room in your home. 

Sewing Tutorial: Make a Bolster Pillow

Dritz® supplies:

Other Supplies:

  • 14” x 5” bolster pillow form (Fairfield™ Polyfil Soft Touch)
  • ½ yard of quilting cotton main fabric
  • 8” x 4” piece of accent fabric
  • 6” x 3” scrap of cotton quilt batting
  • Coordinating thread
  • Spray starch
  • Iron


The floral fabric shown is Honor Roll by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit Fabrics.

Please read through all instructions before beginning project.

Dritz Sewing Supplies

Take a look at some of the key Dritz® sewing supplies you’ll use to make this project easy to accomplish. The Ezy-Hem® gauge is a clever tool for making perfect hems. You’ll use our bodkin to pull thread through a fabric channel and create gathers. And of course the cover buttons are what you’ll cover with fabric – they become a focal point of the pillow.

Dritz Sewing Supplies

Are you familiar with these Dritz® Home items? Waxed button thread is ideal for making this pillow, and for tufting. The decorator’s needles are also great for tufting and attaching buttons to pillows.

If you’re a DIY home decorator, you’ll use these tools again and again!

How to make Dritz cover buttons

1) Using the size 75 (1-7/8”) cover button template and accent fabric, draw 2 circles around the outside of the template; cut out. With same template and batting, draw 2 circles around inside circle of the template; cut out. Layer fabric, batting and button as shown. Cover buttons following package directions. Set buttons aside.

(Want more info? See our how to cover a button blog post, or our cover buttons tutorial.)

Using the Dritz Ezy-Hem gauge

2) Cut your main fabric to 21” wide x 19” tall.

Press under the 19” ends of the fabric using the Ezy-Hem® gauge. Spray lightly fabric with starch. Fold ¼” over the gauge and press.

Using the Dritz Ezy-Hem gauge

3) Next fold the seam over ½” using the gauge; press.

Dritz sewing: edge stitching a hem

4) Edgestitch the hem at the first fold. This creates the channel for gathering at each end of the pillow.

Dritz sewing: fabric folded in half (to make bolster pillow)

5) Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch along the raw edges with a ¼” seam allowance, stopping and starting at hem stitching. Don’t stitch to end of the tube. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and ending stitches.

Press the seam open and flat. Turn fabric right side out. Press fabric to remove wrinkles if needed.

Insert and center the bolster pillow form inside the fabric tube.

Dritz Ezy-Pull bodkin

6) Cut (2) 23” lengths of waxed button thread. Set one aside. Use the Ezy-Pull® Bodkin to pull a thread piece through the channel on one end leaving long tails for tying.

Dritz sewing: making a bolster pillow

7) Pull the thread ends, gathering the fabric evenly. Pull it tight and knot the thread several times for security. Waxed button thread will hold its first tie tight until additional knots can be added. Trim the thread tails.

Dritz sewing: making a bolster pillow

8) Fold fabric cover back over itself exposing ½ of the pillow form. Using a seam ripper, remove 2” of stitches in the center of the pillow form.

Using Dritz sewing cover buttons, waxed thread and decorator needle

9) Cut a 30” length of waxed thread and thread it in the longest decorator’s needle. Knot the thread end. Take a stitch in the exposed end of the pillow form to anchor it. Insert the needle through the shank of one of the covered buttons.  Next, carefully insert the needle into the center of the end of the pillow form.

Making a bolster pillow

10) Reach into the opening you made in the pillow form and grab the needle. Feed it through to the other end of the pillow. Pull the needle out through the center of the gathered opening on the other end of the pillow. Don’t pull the thread tight. We’ll come back to the needle and thread in Step 12.

Using a hand sewing needle and thread, stitch the opening in the pillow form closed. Pull the fabric cover back over the pillow form.

Making & assembling a bolster pillow

11) Follow steps 6-7 to gather the fabric at the other exposed end of the pillow using the Ezy-Pull Bodkin.

Your button should still be loose after the end is gathered.

Making & assembling a bolster pillow

12) Flip the pillow to the end with the decorator’s needle and waxed thread. Insert the needle through the remaining button’s shank. Take one stitch in the form to anchor the thread. Pull the thread taut; tight enough that the buttons on each end are set in a little and sit snugly against the gathers. Knot thread several times for security. Trim thread ends.

Bolster pillow with Dritz fabric covered button

Isn’t your new bolster pillow just lovely?

Bolster pillow with Dritz fabric covered button

Where will it go in your home? Bedroom? Living room? Kid’s room? Do tell!

Huge thanks to our friend, Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane, who designed and made this bolster pillow for us. Jennifer is contributing regularly to our blog and we are absolutely thrilled with the design aesthetic and creativity she brings to her sewing projects! Check out all the projects she’s made for us here.


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