Tutorial Tuesday: Pillow Shams

6 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

We like to change things up at our house.  It keeps things looking fresh and interesting. Sometimes we will rearrange the furniture or even paint a room. It livens things up a bit.

One of the absolute easiest and most inexpensive ways to change up a room is to add or replace some decorative pillows. It uses just a small amount of fabric, and it requires minimal sewing skills -- stitching a few straight lines and some buttonholes is it!

I like to stick to a specific color pallet but use different textures and patterns when I choose fabric. Most of this fabric I've used in previous projects, leaving me with small amounts left over -- just right for a few shams.

To figure out how much fabric you'll need, measure your pillow. Add an inch on each side for the front piece. For the back pieces, add an inch for the width and add 4 1/2 inches for the height to your measurements.


- 1-2 yards of fabric

- Fusible interfacing

- 3 buttons

- Matching thread

For a pillow that is 20" square, you will need a little less than a yard of fabric. You will also need just a scrap of fusible interfacing as wide as your pillow sham and 2 inches high, cut in 2 strips. The interfacing will just provide a bit of structure for the placket on the back.

Begin by ironing a piece of interfacing to the wrong side of one of the back pieces 1/4" down from the long side of the rectangle. Next fold and press that 1/4" down over the interfacing. Finally, fold that edge 1" (the interfacing will now be completely covered) and press in place. Repeat for both back pieces.

You will have something that looks like this now:

Stitch the folded edges along the inner folded edge on both back pieces.

Using pins or a fabric marker mark your 3 buttonholes. The holes will be parallel to the folded edge. Center the first one and then measure out 5" on either side. How big do you make your buttonholes? Measure the diameter and the thickness of your button, add those together and that's the size of buttonhole.

Stitch and cut open each buttonhole:

Now all three pieces are ready to be sewn together. With right sides together, overlap the two back pieces with the buttonholes underneath by 1". If your back pieces are slightly larger than the front square, just trim them down to size (I gave you an extra 1/4" for each piece). Pin and stitch 1/2" seam around the entire perimeter of the pillow.

Trim each corner and finish seams using a serger, pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch along the perimeter of the sham.

Turn the sham right side out and sew on buttons.

Voila! It spruces up the room instantly with little money spent. You'll want to change every week.

Well, at least every few months :)

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