Allie: Before moving to Germany I participated in a restorative yoga class every Friday evening after work. It was a quick 45-minute class that allowed me to decompress from the work week and settle into the weekend relaxed and ready to refresh. Since relocating two years ago, I’ve yet to find the same calming class scheduled perfectly between the end of the work week and the start of the weekend. While part of the appeal was sneaking off to a sunlit studio, I realized I am perfectly able to create a similar environment from my own flat. Armed with my yoga mat, an online restorative class and a few blankets, I was ready, except for the lack of a bolster. Never to shy away from DIYing instead of buying, I thought this could be the perfect sewing project. Follow along to discover how to create the perfect handmade bolster for your next yoga practice!
- 1 yard of fabric (I chose Dogwood Denim with two designs printed on one yard using Fill-A-Yard.)
- Rotary cutter and/or scissors
- Sewing machine
- Coordinating thread
- Marking tool
- Seam ripper
- Filling – I used organic spelt but you could use foam or fiberfill (the spelt I ordered was 3,25 kg or a little over 7 lbs, but spelt available online can vary in appearance, density and weight)
- Piping (optional)
*Use a 1cm (2/5in) seam allowance unless otherwise noted.
Gather your Materials
For my fabric, I choose to use Dogwood Denim since I wanted something sturdy and 100% cotton. In planning out my project I thought a color-blocked effect using two patterns would be fun. And instead of adding another seam to my project I opted for taking my two designs and ordering one yard filled with half of each using Fill-A-Yard. The designs I picked out are Mudcloth in Black and White by domesticate and Small Flowers on Mustard by amyjpeg. You can find both of them here in one collection.
Cut Out your Pattern Pieces
For this project, cut out four rectangles in the following dimensions:
(1) Bolster body: 92 x 66 cm (36.2 x 26 in)
(2) Bolster ends: 32 x 17 cm (12.5 x 6.7 in)
(1) Bolster handle : 17 x 18 cm (6.7 x 8 in)
The large rectangle becomes the body and the two smaller rectangles of each design will be the ends of the bolster. The smaller piece becomes a little handle for easier moving!
Pro tip: Use a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and clear quilting ruler if you have them to make your cuts precise and straight.
Prepare your Handle
Fold your handle pattern piece in half long ways (the 18 cm side) with right sides together. Pin and stitch together with a straight stitch.
Press your seam allowance open and turn right side out. Press with the seam running down the middle of your sewn handle. Set aside.
Sew the Large Rectangle
Fold the large rectangle in half long ways, making sure to carefully align the edge of both designs if you used Fill-a-Yard.
Pin along the long edge and sew along the edge. Press your seams open.
Attach the Handle
To attach the handle, place your handle piece in the center of one of the bolster end pieces, matching up the raw edges. Stitch across the two short ends to secure the handle to the bolster end. I used tape to hold mine in place while sewing which made it super easy and limited the amount of pinning. If you prefer, baste your handle to the center of the bolster end piece.
Attach the Ends
Attach the bolster ends to your bolster base, making sure to pin around the edges with right sides facing. If you are using optional piping like I did, simply sandwich the piping between your two fabric pieces into the seam. Stitch around the edge. I switched to my zipper foot for this part since I was adding piping. The zipper foot allowed me to get as close to the piping as possible.
Repeat for the other bolster end but remember to leave a 10 cm (4 in) opening. Turn your bolster right side out through the opening.
Once you’ve turned your bolster, admire your beautiful sewing job and get ready to fill it!
Fill your Bolster
I used organic spelt to fill my bolster but you could use foam or fiberfill or another preferred filling. I grabbed a friend for this part since it was a little difficult to manage everything.
Pro tip: Create a little funnel for filling with a piece of paper and masking tape.
Close the Hole in the Bolster
Almost there! Grab a coordinating thread and stitch your opening closed. I opted for hand stitching using a ladder stitch so it would look the same as the rest of the stitching but you could also machine stitch here.
And you’re done! Throw on your favorite me-made yoga pants (follow-along as we sew the Sloan Leggings from Sprout Patterns in this video tutorial) and prepare for your best practice yet.