Suits Me Fine DIY Pillows

October 27, 2009

I’ve been “hired” by my younger brother Nate to upgrade his bedroom in his bachelor pad that he shares with his roommates in San Francisco.   One of the projects I’m working on is a fabric covered headboard.  When I was at Joann’s Fabrics over the weekend, something in the clearance rack popped right out at me: some suit fabric on sale for $5 dollars a yard.  Score !  What better way to cover a headboard for a man’s bedroom than with material designed for a suit ?

Well of course the handsome lad must have a proper complimentary bolster to go with it.  Is there a better way to impress the ladies ?   So I whipped up a little accent pillow to compliment his future fabric covered headboard.  I was a little envious that he was getting a special pillow of his own.  After all, we gals love our stylish suits too.  I couldn’t help but select another suit fabric to create a decorative pillow for myself.  Equal rights !

Here is brother’s:

up close in living room

Here is mine:

plaid pillow in office

Here’s the skinny on how I made them.

Easy Peasy Simple Sew Bolster with Piping

I’m don’t consider myself a real sewer or seamstress so forgive me since I don’t use the proper lingo.  To make these pillows, I bought 2/3 yard of each fabric, some large brown buttons like you’d see on a suit, and some filler cord for piping.


I used a scrap of silk blend fabric leftover from this lampshade project to make the piping.  I must confess, I was terrified of piping for years.  Then I found out that all it takes is switching out the snap on presser foot on your sewing machine to the miniature version for an up close and personal seam.  I felt a little foolish.  But now I’m a self taught piping pro !

sew piping

Next, I cut a piece of fabric large enough to wrap around my bolster and two strips about five inches wide for the sides.

Riveting photo, isn’t this ?   I mean, seriously stimulating.

cut strips and fabric

I attached my piping to the long strip of fabric that I used to form the length of the bolster.

sew piping to cover

Then I flipped it over and used the existing seam as the perfect guide to attach the strip in order to form the side of the bolster.

use seam as guide

I repeated for the other side, then pinned the long seam inside out and sewed it together.

turn inside out

Once the long seam was done, I turned it right side out, and inserted my bolster (which is really just my roll of batting wrapped in thin cotton lining.  Ssshhh).  Then I hand stitched the sides by folding over approximately every two inches.

fold and handstitch end

Attach a button to hide the threads and you’re done !

up close in living room

The bolster is in temporary residence in the living room until it finds its new home next week.

bolster sits in living room

Velvet settee will be broken hearted to part with bolster buddy.

Next, I created this little sweetie for the home office.

suit pillow with others

For the square version, I created some more piping, then used my pillow form to size the piping around the first side of my fabric and attach with pins.

pin piping to pillow

I attached the piping to the fabric with my sewing machine.  Then I used the seam on the opposite side to attach the second piece of fabric to make the pillow.

One of the nice things about working with straight patterns like this is they give me a guide so I can attempt to keep my seams straight.  I’d be all over the map without them.

sew piping to plaid pillow

I left the bottom part of the pillow open, inserted my pillow form, then hand stitched the bottom closed.

handstitch bottom

I tufted the center of the pillow and added a decorative suit style button.   Again, my apologies for these less than technical directions.  Blame my amateur sewing skills and rudimentary knowledge.

fabric detail

I really like this brown and blue plaid fabric.

plaid pillow in office

I think it adds just the right touch to my home office.

just the right touch

There you have it folks, my take on decorative pillows made with suit fabric.  I can’t wait to show you little brother’s upgraded room – you’ll love the before and after.

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