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Round Bolster Pillow

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Oh scribbles, is there anything you can’t do?

What, you might be asking, can scribbles do for me today? Well, a while back we had a Design Threads episode that featured the cool trend of ombre, or color fading. Some of you wrote in and asked for some more examples of how this can be used, so today I’m going to show you how to use one of our new transitional scribbles design (like our little houses here) to achieve a beautiful gradient or ombre effect that’s seamless and can be repeated as much as you like. We’re going to put it on an oh-so-comfy and super simple bolster pillow, which is the perfect canvas to show off some pretty colors.


To make your simple ombre pillow, you’ll need a bolster pillow form, about a yard of fabric, some regular cutaway or no-show mesh stabilizer (if your fabric is thin like mine), about a yard and half of cord, and a spifftastic embroidery design. For this specific project, if you want to achieve the fun ombre effect of this pillow, you’ll want to use a scribble like the little houses or the cuckoo clocks. Because they’re fun and scribbly and change color, you can repeat the design and expand the beautiful ombre transition as one long design. I’ll show you how...

Designs Used

To begin you’re going to want to measure your pillow. Get the length of your pillow, and add at least 6 inches to either side to have enough to gather. Then measure around and make sure you have an extra few inches of fabric for the seam. A yard of fabric will usually give you plenty of room to work with. You can just mark your measurements out for now, and cut it out after you’ve embroidered it.

To get good placement of your design on the pillow, wrap your pillow up in the fabric (keeping it centered with plenty of excess on the sides) and mark the center with a piece of tape. I’d also recommend marking the edges of the pillow so you know the area you should keep your design inside.

Now, grab your roll of stabilizer (no-show mesh or regular cutaway) and cut of a piece that is large enough for two designs right next to each other. That will mean your stabilizer will probably be a lot longer than your hoop, but it will minimize bulk when you don’t have to trim your stabilizer and hoop up a second piece.

I would give it a light coating of temporary spray adhesive to keep it stuck in place on the back of your fabric, so it won’t shift so much when you have to re-hoop it. Line up your first hooping near one of your edge markings, so you leave enough room to double up the design.

Now it’s time for the colors. We’re going to transition our colors, but because we can stitch the 5-color design twice, we can actually get a full 10-color transition to make a beautiful long design.

Choose 10 colors that slowly blend from one color into another. Mine went basically from green slowly into purple. If you want a true ombre design, you’ll want to transition from light to dark. If you want a gradient, just pick some fun colors.

Stitch out your design once, with each house slowly transitioning in color through your first five colors.

For your next sew out of the design, hoop it up so the edge of your new design will slightly overlap with the first one. This will make it appear as one seamless design and allow you to complete your color transition beautifully.

Sew out your final design. Ta da! One long seamless gradient design, that transitions in color beautifully. This technique is so easy you could continue it on and cycle through all the colors of the rainbow, and it will all look like one design. It’s great for anything you want a really long unbroken design on, without having to have a giant hoop!

Now to take our pretty houses and turn them into a pillow...

Wrap your design back on your pillow, and pinch the fabric together where you’re going to need to sew a seam. Mark this spot with pins and then pull your pillow form back out.

Trim your fabric to size using your pin markings for measurement, leaving about 1/2 inch for seam allowance. Turn your fabric inside out and pin it back together, then sew your 1/2 inch seam down the side. You should now basically have a big fabric tube that’s quite a bit longer than the pillow itself. Turn your tube right side out again, and try your pillow inside for size, making sure it fits snugly.

Now we just need to tidy up the edges. Fold the raw edges in on one side of your pillow cover, and pin it in place all the way around. Sew a seam. Repeat for the other side.

Slide your pillow form back in your cover, making sure your pretty house design is centered on the pillow front, and that you have an even amount of excess fabric on either side.

Take your cord, fold it in half, and cut it into two even pieces. Your cord ends will quickly begin to unravel, so tie a knot at both ends to keep them from fraying.

Gather up the excess fabrics on both ends and tie them up in bows with the cord.

Delight in your beautiful new colored creation! Using overlapping scribble styles and transitioning colors, you can make a totally seamless design that fits perfectly on long, elegant pillows and the like. Plus, the pillow is so fast and simple to make, you can stitch up all colors of the seasons and change it out as the mood strikes.

Have fun experimenting with fun color transitions! Go from dark to light for a traditional ombre look, or use a gradient blend through the colors of the rainbow, or get funky with complementary color transitions. As long as you slightly overlap each design, you can continue it all as one unbroken design for as long as you wish. Make more pillows, or complete borders of houses! They're light-stitching and fast, and won't weigh down light fabrics, so you can use this technique on just about anything. Enjoy your new comfy piece of art!