is there a draft in here?

Not anymore! I love our little flat, with all its quirks and funny spaces. But, the one thing about our flat I do not love are its windows. They are lovely to look at, but they are single pane and don’t close tightly so there is literally a gap to the great outdoors all along the bottom of both windows. With all the snow, rain and wind we’ve been having (not to mention a broken radiator system until a couple of days ago) our home was fast becoming an icebox. After talking with some of our expat friends here in Edinburgh I’ve realized that poor insulation is a bit of an epidemic around these parts. However, I was determined to put an end to the draftiness, and came up with a practical and quite stylish little fix to our draft problem, if I do say so myself!

When I was researching other bolsters to get ideas for the pair I was wanting to make, I decided to keep it simple and skip trying to make the traditional round bolsters, opting instead for more rectangular shapes. This was much easier to sew, and they still filled out nicely when I added the beans, (although I’m still debating adding some more beans to make them a bit fuller). J was a peach and stopped off at the only shop in town that supplies bulk beans and carried home 11kg of beans for me – thanks babe!

Alert! The next section contains math – ick! Skip to the bottom if you just want to see the pretty pictures…

Here’s the breakdown on the project if you’ve got some drafts in your house in need of attention. To make the bolsters I simply measured the length of the windows (30″) and then used the following formula to determine how wide to make my fabric: Circumference = π (or 3.14) x Diameter. I knew I wanted my bolsters to be approximately 5″ in diameter (high), so I multiplied 3.14 x 5, which equals 15.7 and behold I have the circumference (the length around the “circle”, which is also the width of fabric needed for the project). Since I didn’t need my bolsters to be exactly 5″ in diameter, I cut my fabric to be 16 x 30.5 (to allow for 1/4″ seams). Make sense? See the picture below for a visual breakdown of a circle to help you visualize the project.

Once the material was cut out, I folded them in half lengthwise, right sides of the fabric facing each other. Then I sewed up one short end, the long side, and an inch or two of the second short side, leaving a gap so I could still turn the bolsters right side out. Once that was done I filled each bolster with about 5.5kg of beans and then hand stitched the final short side closed. And voila! Two finished bolsters, and no more wind blowing through our flat! (Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the project in progress… if you’ve got questions, just let me know!)

Whew. Now that we’ve got the math portion of this post out of the way, on to the pictures!

I’m just loving mustard yellow right now. I found this wonderful yellow felt before we left Boise and knew I wanted to work it into our living room somehow. It’s so bright and cheery without being over the top and overwhelming our little flat. I think there’s just enough left to make some coordinating coasters and maybe a throw pillow…

  • Mom

    These are so cool! (or should I saw “warm”?) I’m so glad all your math classes finally paid off! I’m excited to see the coasters you make to go with it!


  • Marla

    Kate, you always bless my soul! I loved this project and it looks so cute in your flat (love the mustard yellow=)! And, it does a sister’s heart good to know that you and Jer aren’t freezing anymore in your flat. I love you! Mari

  • lisa

    *sigh*… another fabulous and stylish creation from Katy… I love it! :) When do we get to see pictures of the whole flat?

    Missing you and loving you too…


    • sparrowhopes

      Hey Lisa! So fun to hear from you… we were just talking about you two the other night and so wishing we could hang out with you! I’ve just posted a little video tour on our family blog of our flat – please check it out. I could use your thoughts on decorating our bedroom!
      Give my love to JJ, and we should all set up a time to ichat in the next couple of weeks!

  • Marla

    PS-I love the pillow in the window…Grammy’s heart would smile to see it in the window and know it is helping to keep you two warm=) love, mari