Pillow shams can add color and comfort to your bed, and they’re so easy to make! Seriously, if you can sew a square, then you can make a pillow sham.
Recently, I found some fabric online to match my now discontinued bedskirt from Pottery Barn. I was so excited because I knew I could use it to make some matching pillow shams for our bed! But you could use any fabric you want to make shams, so the possibilities are endless. You can make a custom look for your bedroom for the cost of a couple yards of fabric.
Here’s how to do it:
Select the fabric you want to use – you’ll need 2 yards per sham (add more if you are using a really large-scaled pattern). Each sham, when finished, will measure 30″ wide x 24″ tall.
Pre-wash and iron the fabric, if needed.
On a flat surface, lay out your fabric and decide what part of the pattern you want to center. If you are using a solid color, you don’t have to worry about this.
Once you have this determined, and keeping the part of the pattern you’ve selected in the center, measure out a rectangle that is 31″ to 32″ wide and 25″ to 26″ tall. This will be the front of your sham, and the overrage allows for your hems.
For the back, you can center the pattern, but it’s not really going to matter as much because the envelope closure will overlap in the center on the back. You’ll need to cut a rectangle that is 36″ to 37″ wide and 25″ to 26″ tall. The extra width will allow for your hems as well as a 2″ to 3″ overlap for the envelope closure.
Once you have the 37″ x 26″ rectangle cut out, fold it in half across the width and cut it in half so you end up with two smaller rectangles that are 18″ to 18.5″ wide and 25″ to 26″ tall.
We’re going to work on these back pieces first.
Take the edge you just cut (25″ to 26″ tall), then fold and iron over approximately 1/2″ of the fabric (from the front side of the fabric to the back) to form the hem.
Do this on both of the smaller rectangles that will form the back of the sham, but only on the edges that are going to overlap for the envelope closure. Now, sew the hem down making sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of the run. Do not sew any other side just yet.
Now that you have those edges hemmed, we’re ready to start sewing the sham together. Lay the front of the sham fabric face up, and then lay the two back pieces on top, fabric face down. Line up the outside edges, and make sure the back pieces are overlapped about 2″ or so. Make sure the “good” sides of the fabric are all faced inward toward each other.
Pin all of this into place, and then sew around the entire sham edges, with about a 1/2″ hem (make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end).
With the front and back pieces all sewn together, turn the sham out so that the “good” side of the fabric is facing outwards. Back to the iron! Iron the sham edges so everything is straight and flat.
Measure 3″ from the edges inward – this will be the flange around the sham. Using pins, mark or pin around your sham the 3″ in for the flange – creating a little rectange that will be 24″ wide x 18″ tall.
Once this is finished, you’re ready to sew. Sew along your pins or marks, three inches from the outside edge, following the shape of your sham. Do not sew all the way to or from the edges of the sham – make sure you start sewing 3″ into your sham.
Guess what?? You’re done!
Put a standard sized bed pillow into your sham, and pat yourself on the back. Pour yourself a glass of wine (if you like) and admire your handiwork!
*all images from author’s personal collection.