Office Chair Bolster Pillow For Us Short-Statured Folks!

My fellow short-statured friends, this one is for you! I'm sure you can relate to the struggle of finding an office chair (or any chair for that matter) where you can scoot all the way back and have your feet touch the ground. At 5'2" (5"3" on a good day) I'm either leaning forward with zero back support or sitting back with my feet dangling in mid-air. Not good when you're spending so much time on the computer.

Lowering the chair isn't an option either because the desk is way too high to comfortably type. So I came up with a budget-friendly alternative by making an office chair bolster pillow with farmhouse charm and my back is thanking me!

Farmhouse Ruffled Office Chair Bolster Pillow


Office Chair Bolster Pillow For Us Short-Statured Folks


This handy bolster pillow scoots me forward on the seat while providing much needed back support AND my feet touch the floor. Prior to making it, I was using a pillow that I slipped behind my back and was such a nuisance. It was constantly shifting and every time I stood up it would fall to the floor. Plus it was kind of embarrassing because it was just a pillow form without a cover and our guest bathroom has a direct sightline to my office.

Office Chair Farmhouse Ruffled Bolster Pillow

The bolster pillow attaches to the chair with ties wrapped around the headrest and can be adjusted as needed.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Ties

I made the bolster pillow with a red ticking stripe remnant from an armchair slipcover that I've been itching to put to good use. Some of the slipcover fabric was used to make these Farmhouse Ticking Stripe Pumpkins and to upholster this IKEA Bentwood Stool.

Slipcover Remnant For Office Chair Bolster Pillow

This office chair bolster is for a novice sewing skill level. Instead of a more difficult zipper closure, it is an envelope style pillow cover.

Here's how I made it...

Cutting the fabric

The measurements are based on a 20-inch pillow form, adjust your measurements according to your pillow form size.

Tip 1:

For a fuller pillow cut the fabric the same size as the pillow form without an allotment for a seam allowance.

Tip 2:

When salvaging a slipcover try to incorporate the parts with finished seams and recycle the tie backs too. The less sewing involved the better.

The pillow front fabric is cut  20" x 20".

I was thrilled to find a long piece of the slipcover with a finished seam that I could use for the two back pieces of the pillow cover. With envelope style pillows you want the back two pieces to overlap one another by at least four inches. My readymade option is 14-inches long which provides a four-inch overlap on both pieces. I cut it into two 20-inch wide pieces (pictured below).

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Ticking Fabric Cut

I'll be using the salvaged tie back pictured below to hang the bolster pillow around the headrest of my office chair. Saved me a lot of time not having to sew new tie backs.

Making the bolster pillow ruffle

Cut long strips of fabric (make sure the pattern is the same direction) into 4-inch wide strips. You will need enough to make a 160-inch long strip plus an extra 10-inches for seam allowances.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Ruffle Fabric Strips

Sew the 4-inch strips together as pictured below. Ticking stripe fabric is prone to fraying so I used the elastic stretch stitch on my sewing machine to stop the edges from fraying. A serging or zig zag stitch is another option.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Ruffle Sewn

Once you have your 160-inch long ruffle sewn, fold it in half and iron the fold. My ironing board and iron are kept in the basement laundry room so I have a small tabletop ironing board and travel steam iron in my office to use for sewing projects. Excuse the stains on the ironing board cover, time to make a new one.

Iron any wrinkles out of the front and back pieces of the pillow cover at this point as well.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Ruffle Folded

This step is tedious and a little finicky so you will want to take your time. It's a good step to do while watching television.

Measure the ruffle every 40-inches (double the width of each side of the pillow form) and mark with a pin.

Starting at one end, with needle and thread run a basting stitch (pictured below) the first up to the first 40-inch mark. Make sure to leave long thread strands on each end for pulling. It's important that there not be any knots in the fabric so it gathers easily.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Ruffle Baste Stitch

Slowly and carefully pull the thread on either end to gather the fabric until it measures 20-inches (the length of one side of the pillow) for a double ruffle (pictured below). Tie the threads so they don't unravel. Gather the next 40-inches of fabric much the same. Continue these steps until you have an 81-inch long ruffle - an extra inch for 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Sew the two ends of the ruffle together (make sure the ruffle isn't twisted), much like you did when making the long ruffle strip.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Gathered Ruffle

Attaching the ruffle

There are two ways to attach the ruffle to the pillow cover. If you're an experienced sewer, you can skip this step and move onto assembling the pillow cover. But in this tutorial, we're going to take the easier route of sewing the ruffle onto the front piece first.

Pin the raw edges of the ruffle to the raw edge of the pillow front piece. With the stitch length set to #4 (longest stitch on the sewing machine), baste stitch the ruffle with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, pivoting the needle at the corners.

Tip - How to sew corners

Stop near the edge and leave the same distance between the needle and the edge of the fabric (1/2-inch seam allowance). Put the needle in the down position, lift the pressure foot, pivot the fabric 90 degrees, and continue sewing. Double check that the ruffles on both sides of the corner are still facing towards the center of the pillow cover.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Attaching Ruffle

Now we have the front ruffle finished we'll work on the two back pieces for an envelope closure. You can see in the photo below that I didn't take my own advice and iron the piece first while making the ruffle.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Front Ruffle

Assembling the envelope pillow cover 

  1. Lay the front piece with the right side facing up and the ruffles pointing inwards toward the center of the pillow.
  2. Lay the ties pointing inward toward the center of the pillow and spaced approximately 6-inches from each corner. You want them hanging on each side of the headrest on the office chair.
  3. Lay one of the back pieces with the good side facing down and the finished seam towards the center of the cover. Pin the raw edges together. 
  4. Lay the second piece over the previous one, again with the finished seam towards the center, and pin the raw edges together.
  5. Sew a 5/8-inch seam allowance around the entire pillow, pivoting the needle at the corners. Take your time as there will be a lot of bulk and make sure the ruffles are laying flat towards the center, especially around the corners.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Pinned Together

Turn the pillow cover right side out, pushing the corners with the end of a wooden spoon. Slip the pillow form inside one half of the cover (pictured below).

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Top Envelope

And fold the other half of the pillow cover over the pillow form and you're ready to hang it on the chair.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow Bottom Envelope

Adjust the height of the pillow to your liking and tie it around the headrest of the office chair.

I am so glad to FINALLY have the back support that I need while scooting forward in my office chair so my feet touch the ground. No more loose pillows constantly shifting and falling to the ground and it looks lovely with its farmhouse charm.

Ticking Stripe Office Chair Bolster Pillow

If you have any questions about this project, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

For more DIY pillow inspiration and tutorials see my Pearl Earring Envelope Pillow Cover or Turquoise Rosette Drop Cloth Pillow posts.

Office Chair Bolster Pillow With Farmhouse Charm


I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.

14 comments

  1. I read your whole post, laughing, wondering how you were 1" taller on a good day. Great tutorial!

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    1. I'm the Queen of Slouch most days! LOL I'm glad you enjoyed the tutorial Sandi 😊

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  2. Your office looks amazing and I love this idea Marie! We bloggers do their fair share of writing/sitting so I'm sure this will make things more comfy... and great tutorial btw! xo

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    1. Oh it really is a back saver, Denise. I LOVE my new office pillow and I'm no longer thinking about replacing the chair. Glad you like the tutorial too. Have a great weekend!

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  3. I have pinned this and am definitely making this. I sit all day at the computer or sewing machine and my back and shoulders feel it! Saw you on Snickerdoodle!. PS. Love the colors. Thanks for the post!

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    1. You're most welcome! So glad to hear you found this post helpful and plan to make a pillow for yourself. Especially considering you are a gal who knows how to sew! Wishing your back and shoulders some relief. Thanks for stopping by and the pin 😊

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  4. What a brilliant idea. I'm not height challenged :D but two of my co-workers are. They'll love this idea and the chairs in the office are almost exactly like your Marie.

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    1. I hope your co-workers like this idea, Michelle and thank you so much for sharing it with them! xo

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  5. Marie this is such a great solution. I too am vertically challenged and have the same problem. I never get to rest my back in the chair. I even need a pillow in the car to give me height so I can see out the window.

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    1. Girl, then you need one of these! Seriously, I haven't been getting the lower back pain I used to have when sitting at my computer. I LOVE my new pillow!

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  6. The chair looks so much nicer with the fabric cushion. The all black chairs are functional but not attractive at all. As I am tall I don't need the boost, but this cushion is nice just for the decor aspect as well.

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    1. I think so too, Leanna! While the intention was to make it for back support, I really like how it dresses the office chair. While my office is predominantly black & white, the red ticking fabric picks up the red in my antique bookcase which is situated on the wall behind my desk.

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  7. Love this bolster pillow, Marie... and you did a wonderful tutorial, as well. Makes it easy for those that don't sew a lot, that's for sure!

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    1. Thank you Julie, and I'm so glad you liked the tutorial. It's always a stuggle whether I covered all the bases in a way that is understandable when writing them.

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