This project is simple and easy and also allows you to keep your pillows looking fresh and new. Once you’ve mastered how to sew mini-shams, you can move on to doing your own custom shams for your bed as well. Custom shams are a great way to save money compared to buying new pillows and you can use an extra window panel for fabric to coordinate your pillows and drapes beautifully. Here’s easy steps to follow to re-cover and re-purpose your toss pillows.
First and foremost. Be sure to pre- wash and dry any fabric you plan to use before starting your project. Check the washing instructions if you use window drape panels to be sure they can be laundered. Be sure to select fabrics that are washer and dryer friendly that require no special treatment. The mini-shams used in this article were a polyester cotton blend. There was little shrinkage and they were laundered using a cold water setting and dried in a dryer. By selecting easy care window panels or fabric, you know your shams will be easy to keep in great shape.
After the fabric has been washed, dried and ironed smooth, measure pillows to know the exact size of the pillow on all sides. If your pillow is a square shape, you’ll need to cut your fabric in a rectangular pattern for this sham. For instance if your pillow measures 16 inches by 16 inches, your fabric will be 17 inches by 34 inches. To be safe, make sure to measure the thickest part of the pillow for the total length of fabric you need, much like you’d measure your own waist adding two inches to whatever measurement you get. The extra two inches will allow for an overlap in the back seam of the sham and enough fabric to finish the seams nicely. Cut your fabric to the correct length and be sure to add up to one inch for at least a 1/4 inch seam allowance on both top and bottom edges of the pillow. The extra 1/4 of an inch added if you need to make your pillows sham a little more snug fitting. If you don’t feel you’ll need it, adjust your fabric size accordingly.
Once fabric has been cut to size, turn fabric over so the wrong side is down and the right side is facing up. Place your pillow in the center of the strip and bring both sides of the fabric up and over the top of the pillow. Be sure to make the fabric overlap and that there is enough extra fabric to finish both seams. Fold the seams in around a half inch, twice and use fabric pins to hold in place for stitching. To prevent edges from fraying, fold over twice so the cut edge is completely concealed. Make sure that seam that will be next to the pillow is overlapped by the top seam to create a split seam that will cover the pillow when it is on pillow.
Once the overlapping seams have been stitched and finished, again place fabric right side facing you, and wrong side down. Place your pillow down on the fabric and bring both finished seamed sides up. Overlap the stitched seams so that one is over the other one to form a split closure for the back of pillow. Using fabric pins, pin the seams on top and bottom of the pillow and carefully remove the pillow from the split seam you’ve already finished. Stitch down your remaining seams using a ¼ inch seam allowance. When done, turn your mini-sham inside out and you should have a sham that is square with a split seam in the back that will conceal the pillow inside. See photographs used with this article for example. Good luck with your next room make over and remember to think outside of the box for solutions to your design problems.