How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

Lumbar pillows are great for supporting your back in a deep or uncomfortable chair or they can be used for purely decorative purposes to add another color or shape to a pillow arrangement on a bed. Whatever you need a lumbar pillow for, the process of making one is the same and we’re going to walk you through it today.

We are making these lumbar pillows to go with the bullnose patio cushions we made a couple of weeks ago. The existing brown lumbar pillows weren’t in bad shape, but they no longer coordinated with our new teal seat cushions, so we use the old pillows for patterning and then borrowed their stuffing. Since our pillows are going to be outdoors, we’re using a Waverly Sun N Shade fabric, Santa Maria Mimosa. This fabric features 500 hour UV protection and up to 1500 hours of light fastness, which makes it a great choice for patio pillows.

Materials List:

How to Make Lumbar Pillows with Piping

1. Determine the dimensions of your pillow.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

2. Transfer those measurements to your fabric. We wanted our pillow’s panels to be the same on both sides and we wanted the main flower of the fabric’s pattern to be centered, so we patterned our dimensions around the focal point on the pattern.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

3. Cut out your panels.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

4. Lay your panels on top of each other with the right sides facing so that the patterns line up symmetrically.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

5. To make the pillows corners of the pillow fuller, we trimmed a little fabric off the corners. At one corner of your fabric panels, measure down 4” and make a mark. From the corner again, measure over 1/2”. At an angle, draw a line connecting the two marks. Then cut along that line. Do this for both sides of the corner. Then repeat the process on the opposite corner.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

6. Fold over the fabric and use it as a guide to trim the two remaining corners.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

7. Make bias cut piping to accent the edges of your pillow. Follow our bias piping tutorial for this step.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

8. Starting at the bottom center on one of your pillow panels, pin the finished piping to the right side of the fabric around the entire perimeter of the panel. Cut a relief notch in the flange of the piping to help it curve around the corners.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

9. When you get back to where your piping started, let the piping overlap itself by a few inches and then cut off the excess.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

10. Use your scissors to carefully snip the stitching out of the piping flange on one side.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

11. Fold back the fabric so the piping cord is exposed and lay the cord next to the covered, pinned piping.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

12. Cut the exposed piping cord so it lines up exactly with the other end of the piping.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

13. Fold the remaining fabric at an angle and then lay the other end of the piping on top of it so the cording ends are meeting.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

14. Fold the angled fabric over the top of where the cording meets and pin it in place. Now you’ll have a clean junction point where the piping ends.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

15. With your piping or zipper foot still on your sewing machine, sew right next to the piping cord all around the perimeter of your fabric panel, starting just before the piping junction.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

16. Now you should have two panels, one with piping and one without.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

17. Lay your panels on top of each other again so the right sides are facing each other and the patterns are lined up symmetrically. The cording should now be sandwiched between the panels.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

18. Sew around three sides of the assembly, close to the piping cord, but being sure not to sew over it. Leave an opening on the bottom edge of the pillow that’s about as wide as your hand. This is where we will insert the stuffing.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

19. Trim the excess fabric out of the corners.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

20. Turn the pillow outside right, being sure to poke out all of the corners so they can get filled.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

21. Start stuffing your pillow. We cut open our old pillow to reuse the stuffing, but you can use new polyester fiberfill for stuffing, too.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

22. When it’s good and puffy, fold under the raw, open edge and pin it in place.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

23. Using a curved needle, sew a slip stitch to secure the pinned edge. To sew a slip stitch, start by going through the underside of one side of your fabric with your needle and thread. This hides your knot on your thread. Then go back and forth running your needle through a bit of the fabric on the right and then the left sides.

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping

24. Now your pillow is finished!

How to Make a Lumbar Pillow with Piping


All of the materials needed to sew your own lumbar pillow for your home or patio are available at Sailrite.com.

Where would you put a lumbar pillow like this, on a patio chair or on your bed? Other ideas? Share your ideas in the comments.

6 comments
  1. Kerri said:

    Thank you for this tutorial. In one of your tutorials for making toss pillows, a curve shape was used to slightly round out the corners. Does the slanted cutting method above provide the same results? Thanks!

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Kerri,

      Yes, the slanted cutting method at the corners of this project gives a very gradual curve. If you wanted a more pronounced curve, then you could cut the curve right into the corners. It’s just design preference!

  2. Cory said:

    I have a question about sewing piping. I have the Ultrafeed Z which has the piping channel in the foot. I admit that I’m new to sewing piping, but I cannot seem to keep my piping the channel of that foot. I end up sewing into the cotton piping that up using most of the time. When I try not to do that, then my sewing is too far from the piping. Are there any recommendations on this. I’ve watched pretty much every video you have on this and it just doesn’t seem to happen to you guys…you make it look so effortless. Thanks in advance for any pointers!

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