How to Create a Colorful DIY Yoga Bolster

MAY 5, 2018 updated Jun 15, 2021

Heading into summer is a great time to take a break and reflect on the goals you set at the start of the year. If better self-care was at the top of your list, what better way to stay motivated and mindful than with a handmade yoga bolster. Spoonflower Berlin crew member Allie is visiting the blog today to share how she whipped up a pattern-blocked bolster to take her practice to the next level using Fill-a-Yard® and Dogwood Denim™!

How to Create a Colorful DIY Yoga Bolster | Spoonflower Blog

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!

Materials

How to Create a Colorful DIY Yoga Bolster | Spoonflower Blog

  • 1 yard of fabric (I chose Dogwood Denim with two designs printed on one yard using Fill-A-Yard.)
  • Rotary cutter and/or scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Marking tool
  • Ruler
  • 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

How to Create a Colorful DIY Yoga Bolster | Spoonflower Blog

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)

How to Create a Colorful DIY Yoga Bolster | Spoonflower Blog

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

How to Create a Colorful DIY Yoga Bolster | Spoonflower Blog

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.

How to Create a Colorful DIY Yoga Bolster | Spoonflower Blog

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.

+Allie

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  • Heather Roche

    Are you sure you only used 3.5kg of spelt? I ordered 5kg and that’s only filled it half way, and I even made mine slightly smaller than your measurements…

    • Hi Heather, I’m sorry the recommended amount of spelt did not work out for your project. In looking into the variety of spelt you can order online, it seems like it can really vary in appearance density and weight and we have updated the post to note this.

      Thank you for your feedback,
      Amy
      Spoonflower

  • I just made this bolster as a birthday gift and it turned out beautifully. However, here’s an important note for anyone who grew up learning how to fold things using the hotdog/hamburger method – the instructions say to fold the fabric “the long way.” I learned the hard way that this does not mean hotdog (but it was good bonding time with my friend’s mom as we pulled 36 inches of denim stitching out of denim fabric!). It goes the hamburger way, so you fold the 26″ sides to touch. Otherwise the bolster ends will not fit. I used fabric with one pattern but I think it would have been more obvious if, like the author of this article, I had done the fill-a-yard. Lesson learned!

    • I wish I had seen this yesterday! I couldn\’t figure out how I managed to mess up the measurements on my fabric so badly! Now that I know, I\’m going to end up redoing it.

  • Does this project require 1 yard of fabric or 1 yard + 1 fat quarter of fabric? You state both in the materials list.

    1 yard + 1 fat quarter of fabric (I chose Dogwood Denim with two designs printed on one yard using Fill-A-Yard.)

    • Hello! Thank you for your interest in this project. This project just requires one yard of fabric and I have updated the post to reflect that. Thank you for letting us know. If you’d like to use two different designs like the one featured, you can use our Fill-A-Yard option.

      Best of luck with your project!

      Amy
      Spoonflower

  • I don’t understand how the fabric should be ordered to come out with two prints as shown. Could you detail that please?

    • Hi Mickey,

      Allie used our tool Fill-A-Yard to achieve two designs on one yard of fabric. You can learn more about this tool and how to use it for your next projecthere!

  • Love this DIY especially for these times in 2020! Searching for a bolster pattern has been a long one but stumbled upon this one and I will give it a try. Already have the fabric but I may tweak it a bit for just cutting one long one for the entire length, but for the ends just two, and only one for the handle. I’m going to attempt making another for the filling however, can I just use buckwheat? I hear it’s what most bolsters are made out of. Thanks for sharing your projects!!!

    • Hi Sylvia,

      While we haven’t tested it out ourselves, we have heard that buckwheat is a great option for a malleable bolster!

  • Do you think this would work well if i used my fabric scraps as filling? I’m not sure if it would be too uncomfortable.

    • Hi Anna,

      While we haven’t tried it ourselves, we’ve seen lots of people us fabric scraps to fill their bolsters!

    • Hi Lauren,

      Great question. Allie ordered 7,5 kg of spelt and used a little less than half, so you’d probably need around 3,25 kg or a little over 7 lbs.

      Hope that helps!
      Suz from Spoonflower

  • Lovely pattern! I saw one pattern that had a back flat zipper so you can take the cover and they suggested using old clean towels for fill if the stuffing got too expensive to make it dense. Your tutorial is very good