I get bored pretty quickly when it comes to home decor, which can be an expensive trait! Over the years, I’ve developed a decorating “formula,” if you will, to help combat the costs of my ever-changing tastes. The larger, more expensive pieces of a room are basic and versatile. For my bed specifically, I’ve had the same white comforter with grey quilt combo for quite a few years now. But by changing the throw blanket on the end and the pillows, it has taken on at least three different looks during that time. Now, if you’ve ever walked down the throw pillow aisle at Target under the impression that you could pick up three or four new pillows for a total of $50, you know that’s not real life. But beautiful pillow shams don’t have to cost a fortune! All you need is very basic sewing machine skills, and then who needs Target?
Totally joking. Target is life.
When I planned to make these DIY pillow shams, I knew I wanted them to be the pillows I slept on each night instead of just decorative shams. Because of that, I bought new pillow forms. If you’re looking to be extremely cost-effective, go to a thrift store and pick up a few pillows in the sizes you need. You’re about to sew covers for them, so who cares what they look like, right? For the fabric, I decided on a light blue satin. I also like to call it Cinderella blue!
What You’ll Need:
- Pillow forms
- Fabric – If you’re sewing (2) 24″ Euro Shams like me, I recommend 2 yards of a fabric that is at least 54″ wide.
- Thread – A lot of times, it doesn’t matter if your thread color matches exactly. But since we’ll be top-stitching in the project, it does matter.
- Tape measure
- Disappearing ink pen
Let’s Get to Work
Start by laying your fabric out in one flat piece, right side facing up. Then fold the fabric in half (top to bottom, not side to side).
If you bought your fabric straight from a store, you should now have a crease right down the center. If it came to you in the mail from an online store, you may need to measure and mark the center. Whether it’s a crease or a line that you drew, cut the fabric in half along that center line.
Start your tape measure from the edge you just cut and make a mark at 27″. Make sure you’re measuring so that you’ll be cutting the selvage (fringe edge of the fabric) away. Do this for both pieces of fabric and cut.
You should end up with two scrap strips that look like this. If you like to keep scraps to use later, go for it! If not, just toss these.
The “right” sides of your fabric should still be facing each other. Go ahead and trim the ends if necessary to make a nice even edge. There’s no need to fold over the edge like the photo below. I only did so that you could see the uneven edges.
This is where the iron comes in. Take the short edge (27″ wide) of one of your fabric pieces and fold it over about 1/2″. Iron it so that it stays in place. Fold it 1/2″ one more time so that the raw edge is covered up. Iron the fold so that it stays in place. Repeat these steps for the other end of the fabric as well as the second piece.
Sew along the inside edge of the folds you just ironed, backstitching at the beginning and end. It’s difficult to see the needle in the photo below, but I positioned the needle as far to the left as it would go. Then I lined up the left edge of my fold with the left side of the presser foot. Find a line, like the edge of the presser foot on the left or one of the ruler marks on the silver plate to the right, and keep your fabric lined up with that as you sew. There’s no need to worry about sewing a perfectly straight line, but having a path to follow helps keep it relatively straight. Sew the fold down for both folds on both pieces of fabric.
Lay your fabric out again in a single strip, right side up. Fold over one side 22″.
Then fold over the other side so that the length of the sham measures 26″. Do this for both pieces of fabric.
Pin in place along all four of the raw edges as pictured below. Place your pins perpendicular to the line you will be sewing. It makes it much faster to remove them as you go.
Sew all four of the raw edges, backstitching at the beginning and end and removing the pins as you go. Keep the seam about 1/2″ from the edge of the fabric.
When you’re done, you should have two pieces that look just like this.
Now fold both pillow shams right side out and iron the seams so that they lay nice and flat around all the edges.
Using your tape measure and disappearing ink pen, make an X that is 1″ in from either side.
To help me keep that 1″ border all the way around, I measured 1″ out from the needle and wrapped a rubber band there. You can see in the second photo below, that the rubber band gave me a guide for the edge of my fabric.
Begin sewing at one of the X’s you marked, backstitching at the beginning, and work your way down.
When you get to the bottom X, make sure that the needle is through the fabric, lift up the presser foot, and rotate the sham 90 degrees so that you’re working your way toward the next corner X. When you make it back to your original X, backstitch one more time, and cut the thread.
Just insert the pillows, and you’re all set!