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  • Nicola

Snowdrift Bolster Tutorial

I don't know about you, but I have never looked forward to celebrating the end of a year quite so much, so I am even more excited than usual to be taking part in my favourite quilter's Advent calendar: the Moda Bakeshop Countdown to Christmas.

This year our theme is Winter Frost and our blocks will be conjuring up an ice-spangled winter wonderland. So it's time to put the Frozen soundtrack on repeat, make yourself a snowball (the liquid kind) and repair to your sewing machines.

This year I've contributed a block that celebrates the Snow Bunting, a tiny song bird that looks far too delicate to withstand plunging temperatures, but is specially adapted to live around the arctic circle from Scandinavia and Greenland to Alaska. You can find the directions for making my block here.

The fabrics that we are using for this year's Countdown are all Moda basics in icy aquas and wintery blues and are listed in this blog post. And if you want to add an extra frosty sparkle to your project - I can only encourage you - I added some Guterman Metallic Effect (silver 41) and Holoshimmer (silver 6001) embroidery threads to my favourite Waxed Quilting thread (white 5709).


I decided to make a smaller project to inspire those of you who won't have time to make a full quilt. My Snowdrift bolster cushion is perfect for adding some Christmas sparkle to a bed or sofa and for snuggling into with a good book. It uses three 12" blocks.

Along with my Snow Bunting block I made Susan Vaughn's Jack Frost block, posted on Wednesday, and Jen Daly's Starflake, posted yesterday.

In addition to those 3 blocks you will need....

1 Fat Quarter for the sashing

5" x 10" scrap of background fabric for the cornerstones

½ yd of fabric for the back

1 Fat Eighth of contrast fabric for the back

¾ yd of lining fabric

18" x 46" piece of fusible batting

16" x 44" bolster pillow

Please read through the pattern before you begin, assuming a ¼” seam allowance.

Cutting out…

1. From the sashing fabric cut as follows:-

2. From the cornerstone fabric cut 8 2½" squares

3. From the backing fabric cut 1 16½" x 40½" piece.

4. From the contrast fabric cut 1 8½" x 16½" piece.

5. From the lining fabric cut 2 22½" x 16½" pieces.

To Make the Bolster Front…

6. Join the blocks, alternating with the vertical sashing together, pressing towards the sashing

7. Join 4 cornerstone's and 3 sections of horizontal sashing, again pressing towards the sashing. MAKE 2

8. Join the three rows together to form the bolster front - your seams should nest beautifully - and again press towards the sashing.

9. Centre the bolster front on the batting and fuse, following the manufacturer's directions.

10. Machine or hand quilt the bolster front. I chose to hand quilt my bolster with simple vertical lines, ½" apart - you can find more details about hand quilting in this post - using my glittery silver thread every seventh row for a subtle shimmer.

11. Trim away the excess batting and check the dimensions of your bolster front, trimming down your lining and back pieces to match if necessary.

To Assemble the Bolster…

12. Prepare the back pieces by making a ¼” double hem on one short side of each.

13. Join the two short sides of the lining to make a 16½" x 44½" piece.

14. Lay the quilted bolster front right side up then lay the two back pieces on top, right sides down, overlapping the hemmed edges.

15. Then lay the lining on the top and pin around the perimeter, marking a 5” opening. Sew a generous ¼” from the edge, sewing around the corners several times to reinforce them.

16. Clip the corners of the bolster cover before turning right sides out. Take care to gently push out the corners using a crochet hook, or something similar, before stitching the opening closed - either by machine or hand - and inserting your bolster pillow into the envelope back.

Your finished Snowdrift bolster cover should measure approx. 16" x 44"


Of course you could easily adapt this idea to dress your bed with a runner: assemble the bolster front and add backing fabric before quilting and binding.

Either way, if you're looking for good book to snuggle up with I can thoroughly recommend Sally Gardner's The Snow Song, a fairytale for grown-ups set in a snowbound landscape. Definitely one for your Christmas lists.

The Winter Frost blocks will be published every day in the run up to Christmas and most of the blocks can be made in several sizes. This is the 6" Snow Bunting block, shown in the reverse colourway. A bird in the hand, so to speak ;-)

My fellow chefs have an avalanche of inspiration to share with you, so look out for their posts on Instagram and Facebook. Our theme may be frosty this year, but the welcome will be warm. A positively lovely way to see out 2020.

Nicola xx


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