Sewing a cover for a bolster from recycled upholstery samples

My friend Leanne, the only Iyengar yoga instructor in my area, showed me a heavy bolster or tube-shaped cushion that she uses in her classes. One of the covers on the bolster had torn, and it was torn in a way that would not be nice to fix. She asked if I had ideas on how to make a cover. We talked about using recycled materials, making a cover with more personality, and making a very strong cover that would not tear.

It reminded me that I had four boxes of¬†upholstery samples. I got these a few years ago from Freecycle. An interior decorator was updating her stock or leaving the business – I’m not sure which. I asked Leanne if she would mind a cover made from many different fabrics and she thought that sounded cool!

So now I made the cover and I’m very pleased with it!

First I sorted through my samples to see what color palettes were predominant in the collection. The main palettes were gold, yellow, burgundy, green, blue and pink/white. I took photos of fabrics from these palettes. Leanne chose the burgundy sample.

Burgundy and olive green fabrics from my upholstery sample collection

Burgundy and olive green fabrics from my upholstery sample collection

I made a rectangle quilt that wrapped around the bolster snugly but not too tightly.

The pieced burgundy quilt for the bolster cover

The pieced burgundy quilt for the bolster cover

 

Then I thought – there are a lot of seams in this. Even if I double sewed all the seams, I was worried they would tear. So then I had an idea to make another rectangle quilt, the same size, and sew them together, back to front. I would make the second quilt in a way so that the seams didn’t match up, and it would be very strong.

I made the second quilt from fabrics I didn’t love so much. I then machine quilted the quilts together, tracing the insides of the burgundy side.

BolsterInsideOut

At one end, we wanted a pull string. To make this, I folded over a tube of fabric. Along the edges, I sewed some fabric to cover the raw edges. The string is recycled from Koko FitClub where I work out. People use these to hold their security keys, and when you earn points working out, you get a new color lanyard. I asked the gym to collect the old ones for me.

Pull string on the top of the bolster

Pull string on the top of the bolster

To make the bottom of the bolster, I eye-balled the size and made an oval shape. Again, I doubled the fabric. I made a thick strap and attached it.

Making the bottom of the bolster cover

Making the bottom of the bolster cover

I basted the bottom on to the tube shape of the cover because I’m not comfortable machine sewing in a circle without basting. I zig-zagged it to make it stronger.

Strap on the bottom of the bolster - to make it easier to remove or lift

Strap on the bottom of the bolster – to make it easier to remove or lift

Then the bolster was finished!

Bolster cover - Side A

Bolster cover – Side A

Bolster cover - Side B

Bolster cover – Side B

So pleased with the finished bolster cover!

So pleased with the finished bolster cover!

 

 

 

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