Purple Skull-n-crossbones Bolster pillow

January 2009

I was on a research trip to Joann's the other day when I spied piratey-themed fabric that I had not seen before. I am just a pushover for pirate fabrics (although I do avoid the cloying sweet cartoony ones).

I'm also drawn to fabrics in colors of lavender/purple, red/pink and blues ... cuz that's what colors we "assigned" to our girls for identifying possessions. (It cut down on a LOT of squabbling). Lisa is Lavender, Rene is Red and Catherine is bluecerulean (try "cyan" for the "C" connection!

Update: Catherine informs me that I have it All Wrong. The "C" is for cerulean, not blue as previously described. Apparently I had been wofully ill-informed all these years. Thank goodness for Crayola 96 to Set Things Straight. :-) )

This new pirate fabric was irresistible .. it was purple plaid skull and crossbones on a gray camo background! And when I found the companion PINK skull and crossbones, it was a foregone conclusion that I would buy some. Sadly, I couldn't find any blue skull and crossbones. [sigh]. However, as a bonus, this themed novelty fabric was 30% off! woo hoo! Then .... I found some companion prints to go with them!

My initial idea was to make a large square throw pillow with the novelty fabric in the center bordered by the companion prints. I like welting on the edges of pillows, so I also bought some big, fat cording.

When I got home, I asked Lisa if she would like me to make her a throw pillow. Answer: yes. I had written down all the pillow inserts that Joann's had in stock and asked which of them she would like. Answer: the big 9"x20" bolster. (!! ... that was a surprise.)

So, going thru my reference books for pictures of bolster pillows to show Lisa for ideas (she's still not too good at envisioning sewing projects), we settled on the focus fabric as a center panel with the companion print as side borders and the end cap. Some sort of decorative trim would be applied over the seam.

But then I showed her a drawing of a dogtooth border (equilateral triangles making up a zig zag pattern)and she liked that a whole lot better than making another trip out to Joann's to look at trim. The dogtooth border bridges the transition between the skull-and-crossbones and the border band fabric.

(Note: a sawtooth border is made of half-square triangles , which is different from equilateral triangles.)

I spent the rest of the evening sketching out measurements, making the freezer paper foundation for the dogtooth strip, finally actually making the dogtooth strip and attaching the skull-and-crossbones fabric and the band fabric.

The next day, I finished the bolster with welting around the end cap circumference and a circular, pleated end cap. The "hole" in the center of the end cap is covered by a padded circle of fabric. A long zipper at the back seam allows for removal of the pillow cover for laundering. (I think I might be overly optimistic about the laundering part.)

I want y'all to notice something: see the zipper? See the dogtooth border along the zipper seamline? See how the triangles look as though they are continuous? Dang! I am Just That Good. :-)

[And the pink skull-and-crossbones fabric for Rene? Well, to my utter astonishment, it apparently is TOO PINK. I never knew that she would admit to such a thing existing, but she would rather not have a pillow made from it. Fair enough ... I'd rather not make her something that she doesn't particularly like. For now, this fabric is in the stash, waiting for it's day in the sun. :-) ]