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Michael Miller Cotton Couture: Color Block Queen Bolster Pillow

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A bolster pillow is the number one decorative choice for bed linens. Its long, rolled shape creates a distinct horizontal line, like a cushy fence holding in place all the pillows behind it. Bolsters can be any size, but we decided it would be wonderful to create one that spanned the entire width of a queen bed. This beauty is 60" wide! It's the second project in our Cotton Couture series for Michael Miller Fabrics, and is a perfect coordinate to the upcoming color block duvet. We used cool aqua blues and soft grass greens to create our dream worthy bed-width bolster. With 90 colors of 100% quality cotton, the MMF Cotton Couture collection has a rainbow of choices from which to create a color block blend to perfectly match your own décor. 

The most luxurious of the high end cottons are the solid colors, like Michael Miller's Cotton Couture collection. From selecting the cotton variety to processing to dyeing, everything about the production process is focused on the goal to create the best fabric possible. These cottons don't just look wonderful. They wear longer, wash longer, and feel better. Take a look at our opening article of the series for an overview of all the steps involved in making high quality cotton fabric.

We have five beautiful projects in our Michael Miller Cotton Couture series, four helpful technique tutorials to make those projects go faster and easier, and an amazing Great Giveaway bundle to wrap it all up next week, courtesy of the great folks at Michael Miller.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • FIVE coordinating colors from the Cotton Couture collection by Michael Miller Fabricswe used Turquoise, Kryptonite, Mint, Jade and Luna. Our color block blend is shown below. Follow our recommendations or choose your own from the 90 Cotton Couture colors.

    Turquoise: 1½ yard 
    Kryptonite: ½ yard
    Mint: ¼ yard
    Jade: ¼ yard
    Luna: ¾ yard
  • 2 yards of 45" wide fabric for the bolster's lining; we used Vanilla from the Cotton Couture collection by Michael Miller Fabrics
  • 2 yards of 96" wide 16-ounce bonded batting; this is sold by the yard at fabric retailers - you're most likely to find it in the home décor or batting section of the store
  • 2¾ yards of ⅜" piping cord
  • 2 large bags of polyester fiber fill; we used Soft-Touch® Poly-Fil Supreme
  • All purpose thread to coordinate with fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Yardstick
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle 

Getting Started

The cuts below are listed by the fabric colors within our sample. Simply refer to the diagram above to follow along and/or substitute your favorite Cotton Couture colors. 

  1. From the Cotton Couture Turquoise, cut the following:
    ONE 6½" x 33½" rectangle 
    ONE 24½" x 33½" rectangle
    ONE 11" x 11" square  
    Use the remaining yardage to cut multiple 2" wide strips on the bias. You need a finished length of 39".
  2. From the Cotton Couture Kryptonite, cut the following:
    ONE 14½" x 33½" rectangle 
  3. From the Cotton Couture Mint, cut the following:
    ONE 6½" x 33½" rectangle 
  4. From the Cotton Couture Jade, cut the following:
    ONE 6½" x 33½" rectangle 
  5. From the Cotton Couture Luna, cut the following:
    ONE 4½" x 33½" rectangle 
    ONE 11" x 11" square
    Use the remaining yardage to cut multiple 2" wide strips on the bias. You need a finished length of 39".
  6. From the Cotton Couture Vanilla, cut the following: 
    ONE 60½" x 33½" rectangle 
    TWO 11" x 11" squares
  7. Cut the bonded batting down to 60" in width. Keep the full 2 yard length. 

Where To Buy

The following retailers are excellent options for fabric shops with most to all of the Cotton Couture collection in stock and ready to buy/ship. They also carry the Cotton Couture charm packs and the Cotton Couture handy Color Card with real fabric swatches of the colors.

Fabric Depot

Pink Chalk Fabrics

Fat Quarter Shop

Use the coupon code CottonCouture for 20% off your purchase of Cotton Couture from Fat Quarter Shop

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Creating the end caps

  1. Find the two colored 11" x 11" squares and the two lining squares. 
  2. Fold and press one 11" x 11" square in half and then in half again, creating intersecting crease marks. 
    NOTE: You do not have to press the crease marks with an iron; you can simply fold by hand and finger press.
  3. Lay the folded square on your work surface so the center point is in the lower left corner of the square. Folded, it is now just 5½" x 5½".
  4. Place a see-through ruler or tape measure at the exact center of this lower left corner, and swing the ruler/ tape from the top to the bottom of the square, like a compass or pendulum, measuring and marking a dot at the 5¼" point in three to four spots. You are creating a semi-circle.
  5. Draw an arc to connect the marks. If you own a large compass, you could also use it to create your 5¼" arc. 
  6. Cut along your drawn line. 
  7. Repeat to fold and cut the three remaining 11" x 11" squares.
  8. Unfold all the pieces; you'll have four 10½" circles.
  9. Press the circles flat to remove the creases. Set them aside.

    NOTE: We've used this circle-cutting technique before. You can find step-by-step photos in our Here Comes The Sun Pillow tutorial and our Teen Pretty Pack Softee Bolster tutorial. If you don't feel like practicing your geometry skills, you could also find a household item with a 10½" diameter, such as a pot lid or dinner plate, and use it to trace your circles. 

Sewing together the bolster panels 

  1. Find all SIX 33½" colored rectangles.
  2. Line them up following the diagram above. 
  3. With right sides together, pin the first and second panels together along one 33½" side. 
  4. Sew together, using a ¼" seam allowance. 
  5. Press both seam allowances toward the darker of the two colors.
  6. Repeat, moving from left to right and adding one panel each time until you have the finished six-panel piece. 
  7. Your final sewn piece should be 60½" x 33½".
  8. Place the 60½" x 33½" lining rectangle against the wrong side of this finished exterior panel-piece. Pin around all four sides.
  9. Using a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or your serger (we used our serger), go around the entire perimeter of both layers. You are attaching the layers together and finishing the edges at the same time. By attaching the layers, you can work with this panel as one piece during the remainder of the construction. 
  10. Fold this panel right sides together lengthwise to create a long tube. Pin together along the 60½" edge.
  11. Sew together, using a ¼" seam allowance. We used our Quarter Inch foot to easily maintain a perfect line across this VERY long seam. 
  12. Leave a 20" opening in the middle of the seam. We'll need the opening later to turn the whole thing right side out and through which to insert the batting. Remember to lock your stitch on both sides of this opening.
  13. Press the seam allowance open, including at the opening; it should be pressed back at ¼" so it is flush with the sewn seam.  

Line the end caps and set up marking points

  1. Find the four end cap circles.
  2. Place a lining circle against the wrong side of each colored circle. 
  3. Pin all around.
  4. As above, using a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or your serger (we used a serger), go around the entire perimeter of both layers of each circle pair. You are attaching the layers together and finishing the edges at the same time. By attaching the layers, you can work with each end cap as a single piece during the remainder of the construction.
  5. Fold the circle in half and then in half again to find the four quarter points on the circle. Make each point with a pin. It's like the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 points on a clock face.
  6. Set the lined end caps aside. 
  7. In order to create marks on the bolster tube that will line up with the pin marks on each end cap circle, you need to press the ends of the tube carefully. First, press the seam open (which you should have already done above).
  8. Then, gently pull the seam to the right, so you can press a fold directly opposite the seam.
  9. 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.
  10. Remember, you are only pressing the very end of the bolster, just enough to place your pins. The seam line and the three pin marks will now match the quadrant pins on the end cap circles. 

Piping

  1. If this is your first time making piping, see our tutorial, How To Make And Attach Your Own Piping.
  2. Stitch together your 2" bias strips as needed to create TWO 39" finished lengths. One in the Turquoise color and one in the Luna color.
  3. Cut the ⅜" piping cord into two 39" lengths.
  4. Wrap the fabric around the cord. Pin close to the cording to hold it in place.
  5. Using a Zipper foot, sew close to the cording to create your fabric covered piping. 
  6. Find the Luna end cap circle. Pin the length of Luna piping around the circle, aligning the raw edges.
  7. Remove excess cord from the piping by pulling the cord out and trimming about ½" from the end; you want the two ends of the piping cord to be flush with one another where they meet around the circle.
  8. Over lap the fabric and complete pining.
  9. Using a Zipper foot, stitch in place. Keep your stitching as close to the piping cord as possible.
  10. Repeat to attach the Turquoise piping to the Turquoise end cap circle.
  11. Again, if you're new to attaching piping, check out our tutorial for additional tips on joining and finishing.

Insert the end cap circles

  1. Place one end cap circle inside each end of the bolster tube. Our ends are designed to match the color of each outside panel of the tube, which means you match Luna to Luna and Turquoise to Turquoise.
  2. Set the end cap into the tube, right sides together. Line up those helpful pins you placed above. This is similar to how set-in sleeves are sewn. Pin in place around the entire circle. Don't be afraid to use plenty of pins.
  3. 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. 
  4. If you are new to sewing curves and circles, luckily for you, we just adding a great tutorial called... you guessed it: Sewing Successful Curves!
  5. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew around the circle through all the layers. 
  6. Repeat to attach the opposite end cap. 
  7. Turn the bolster right side out through the opening in the tube.

The batting insert

  1. Find the 60" x 72" piece of bonding batting.
  2. Roll it up like a cinnamon roll.
  3. Tack the end of the batting at four or five points to hold the roll in place.
  4. For added fullness, stuff handfuls of Poly-Fil into both ends of the tube. Stuff to your desired thickness. Be gentle with your stuffing, you want to avoid any 'waves' across the tube.  
  5. Insert the tube of batting into bolster cover through opening.  
  6. Take a good look and make sure you are super happy with the loft of the bolster. Add more stuffing if you feel you need more (or remove some if you think it's too plump). Our design is stitched closed, so stuff now or forever hold your peace. Bolsters are traditionally meant to be decorative and, therefore, are usually just spot-cleaned. 
  7. Thread a hand sewing needle with matching thread, and slip stitch the opening closed.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas      
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (4)

LynnetteM. said:
LynnetteM.'s picture

I have been trying to find pattern on making this pillow for my beds a lone time my bed looks told differentnow!ONCE again I wouldlike to sayTHANKS.

crescentcity1 said:
crescentcity1's picture

I love it!!!..But, I feel defeated already..., but definitely giving this one a go!!!..I lOVE the colors..

AndreaV said:
AndreaV's picture

Fantastic. I love the colors and clean look. Can't wait to get started. 

Carla TV said:
Carla TV's picture

I've been looking for something different for my bed and this is simply perfect! One large cushion and I don't have to mess with small, several cushions.

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