Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lumbar Support Pillow and Cover Tutorial

For Father's Day I made a lumbar support pillow and cover. From start to finish, I took three hours. Hopefully you can do this quicker!


  • Foam pool noodle, about 2.5 inches in diameter
  • Small saw or bread knife
  • Batting (I used leftover poly) cut in two 28x9 inch pieces
  • Muslin square (or other fabric you don't mind getting rid of), 15 inches long/wide
  • Cover fabric (I used wool suiting): one 20x22 inch rectangle and two 3x36 inch rectangles
  • Three-quarter inch elastic in two 18.5 inch pieces
  • Odd scraps of fusible interfacing
  • Odd scraps of fabric for decoration
  • Notions: rotary cutter, self-healing mat, ruler, scissors, needle/thread, iron, sewing machine, straight and safety pins, stickers or tailor's chalk (optional)
Notions and decorative fabrics

Cover fabric, elastic, muslin, batting, fusible interfacing, foam pool noodle and saw

Lumbar Support Pillow Instructions

1. Using the saw, cut two nine-inch pieces off your foam noodle. Brush the "crumbs" off the ends and set aside.

2. Measure and cut your batting rectangles. Precision is not required :-)

3. Roll your noodle pieces in batting. If rolled tightly, no adhesive is needed.

Rolled noodle diameter recommended by my favorite licensed massage therapist

Perfect pairing not necessary!

4. Fold your square of muslin in half and sew two sides closed, leaving one open, creating 1/2 inch seams. Turn out.

5. Slip your batting-covered noodles into the pouch. Noodles ought to have some "wiggle room".

6. Turn down the top of the muslin pouch and pin closed.

7. Stitch the opening closed with noodles inside.

Congratulations! You have a lumbar support pillow!

Lumbar Pillow Cover Instructions

1. Iron scraps of fusible interfacing onto the fabric pieces you want for your design.

2. With the long side horizontal, turn the top edge of your pillow cover down about 1.5 inches and pin in place. Turn the lower edge up about 1 inch and pin in place. Wrap your cover around your pillow creating an envelope edge at the bottom. Flip over.

3. Mark the edges of where you want your design. I used stickers! You may want to use tailor's chalk or pins.

4. Cut out your decorative pieces and play!

My design

5. Pin design and sew together as a separate element from the pillow cover. Then sew onto cover between stickers.

6. Go back to the edges you turned down on the cover, and tuck the raw edges up to the fold you created. This ought to give you an upper hem approximately 3/4 inch and a lower hem approximately 1/2 inch. Sew both.

7. For the straps, match one piece of elastic to one long rectangle.

8. Fold each rectangle in half lengthwise and pin. Optional: pin one piece of elastic to one folded end.

9. Stitch each rectangle closed using a 1/8-1/4 inch seam.

When creating this tutorial, I used 2.5 inch wide rectangles rather than 3 inch rectangles. Yours will be a bit wider.

10. Turn out the tubes of fabric and run elastic through them. If you attached your elastic to the tube when creating it, place a safety pin at the free end of the elastic to keep from losing it!

Retrieve your chopstick when turning out the straps!

Don't forget to secure your elastic ends!

12. Sew elastic to ends of tubes to secure elastic and close off ends.

13. Wrap pillow around cover and pin where fabric naturally falls. Situate envelope opening as you wrap.

So far, so good! We're almost done!

14. Remove pillow and lay cover flat.

15. Open cover. Turn raw edges down about 1/2 inch and pin, repeating on both sides.

16. Re-fold cover and insert straps about 3/4-1 inch into the cover. Pin together tightly. Fabric may be too bulky to get pins through, so work carefully and pin as close to straps as possible. Do the same for both sides. You will be closing off the end and sewing the straps in all at once.

17. Sew each side closed. Sew a second seam about 1/4 inch beside the first for extra durability.

18. Reinsert pillow and decide whether to create a smaller opening for it. Pin sides such that the pillow can slip in and out comfortably but will stay securely.

19. Sew a straight line where you last pinned. Optional: for a quilted look, sew seams at intervals between where you pinned and where you stitched the straps in place.

Completed cover back, sans pillow

20. Insert pillow into cover and try out in your chair of choice! This pillow and cover worked well in office chairs, cars and kitchen chairs.

I hope you've enjoyed my first tutorial! Please feel free to ask questions or let me know if anything can be better explained!

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