Pillow Sham Tutorial

Spring Forward! (ok, so I'm a week early, sorry.)

I can't get enough of the fun spring floral fabrics that are popping up on the shelves. This one is my most favorite at the moment, so I decided to make some modern pillow shams out of it to replace our woefully ripped ones. To make two, you will need:

2 1/4 yard of some pretty fabric. Wash, dry and press it before beginning.
sewing machine, thread, iron and board, a sewer's gauge and pins. A dowel wouldn't hurt and a rotary cutter and self-healing mat would make it all much easier. 

Before we begin, here are the shams I am replacing. They were a wedding present, 13 years ago and they are trashed. The embarrassing part is that I took them off the pillows they were on THIS morning to take a picture of them. (shakes head in embarrassment...) Please don't judge.

Directions for one: (just repeat for the second sham)
You need to cut one front piece and one back piece for each sham, so two of each total.
Front pieces should measure 27" wide and 19 1/2" tall.
Back pieces should measure 34 1/2" long and 19 1/2" tall.
I took my long 2 1/4 yard piece of fabric, and cut 19 1/2" sections from it and then went back and cut the width for each one.

With the short side of one of the front pieces in front of you (print-side down) use your gauge to fold down the raw edge 1/2" and press.

Go back and lift the pressed fabric and tuck the lower raw edge under until it touches the pressed fold.
Press again.

You should have a thin, 1/4" pressed line.

Topstitch that line, close to the bottom fold. Repeat this process with one short side of the longer back piece of the sham. You are only finishing off one short end on both pieces.

Take the longer sham piece and fold from the stitched edge down about 7". You want this back sham piece to measure as long as the front sham piece now.

Lay the longer back sham piece, that is now folded down at one end, right side down on a flat surface. You will see the right side of the 7" fold. Lay the wrong side of the front piece down on top of that. Match raw edges and pin. The wrong sides of the sham are touching, the right sides are showing.

Stitch down one long side, across the bottom and up the other side, using a 1/4" seam. Do not stitch across the top, where your finished edges are. This is the opening of your sham.

Trim away some of the seam allowance, being careful not to cut any of the seam stitches. Also cut across the two bottom corners at 45 degree angles.

Flip the sham around, wrong sides out and push out the corners with your dowel (or your finger, or a pencil)  Press the seams flat. See in the picture below how they are kind of puffy. You want a nice crisp line with the seam line at the top of your fold. You may need to lick your fingers and kind of roll the seam between your fingers to bring that seam line up. Then just iron it crisp.

With the 7" fold facing up, stitch down the same long side, across the bottom and up the other long side as before, this time using a 1/2" seam.

 Turn your sham around, right sides out, one more time. Press again if needed. Slip your pillow inside.

What's nice about this sham is that the 7" fold tucks around the end of the pillow at the opening, encasing it so that the pillow doesn't show.


And after...

Love it! Now off to make the second one...and maybe a slip cover for that front pillow. A punch of the chartreuse would be nice!

Let me know if you decide to make one or have any questions!


Rosemary Litz said…
Thanks so much for this tut. I just happen to have to make a new pillowcase for my display at Shabby Chic Boutique & Art Gallery. You instructions are so clear and your pillow looks great. Great blog! Rosemary Litz

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