Pillow Shams that Match My Quilt: A Project Years in the Making

I have been meaning to make these pillow shams since I stitched together my very first quilt years ago. Years. As part of my happiness project, I’m rolling around to unfinished lingering projects and finally knocking them off that perennial to-do list. Although other happiness-project goals may be cast on the wayside more than I’d like to admit (like reading Latin and writing every morning for 30 minutes), I’m slowly and surely making progress on new and old crafting goals.

For these pillow shams, I wish I had a pattern or that I had ever even sewed a pillowcase, let alone a quilted sham. Instead, I hobbled the pattern together based on the general size of my pillows and the leftover fabric I had. As a result, I’ve made several mistakes in crafting these, but they certainly function as I expected. The pillows that I have in my shams are rather thin and flat, so I think they’d look better with a larger pillow. Maybe one day I’ll splurge on better pillows for the shams, but for now, I’m happy that they’re done and look reasonably good.

The shams on the bed with our stuffed marmot modeling them.

My made-up steps for this project:

(1). Piece together blocks for the front of the quilt following the original quilt pattern.

(2). Piece together blocks for the back of the quilt, completely making up block designs based on the size and quantity of the fabric I had left.

(3) Make the quilt sandwich and quilt the front of the shams.

(4) Sew together the blocks for the back into two uneven panels to make the entrance for the back; they should not be attached to each other and function as separate panels.

(5) Sew a lining to the back blocks, treating them like pillows to be turned inside out. Press the remaining hole as if to sew, but you’ll seam it when you piece the rest of the pillow together.

(6) Attach the middle border (the purple stripe on the side) to the front of the sham, right sides together as if to sew the binding. I used 3 inches width.

(7) Sew the two back panels to the border; make sure to have your panels overlap. Work inside out, careful not to sew the back panels to the sham. I found sewing the sides individually to be a better practice:  first the long top, then the long bottom, and then sewing down the sides. Note:  You’ll have to be careful with the corners where you have excess border fabric. However you decide to fold your corners in on the short sides, do so the same way on the other side.

(This may have been the step where my second sham was better than the first, ahem, learning from mistakes and all).

(8) Flip right side out again, stuff your pillow in, and admire your handiwork!

The back of the pillow sham using two panels of different sizes (one panel = 2.5 blocks, the other 1.5)
The second pillow sham, showing the overlap where you put in the pillow.

Cost for these shams? Just a spool of thread. Everything else I used for these were raided from my original leftovers from the project and leftovers from other projects, like the lining for some curtains I made for the house.

What’s next? Besides continuing to knit the bunnies for charity, I’m planning on getting back to that winter rosettes quilt. Maybe we’ll have enough cold late winter days that I’ll get to use it! Or, if my quilting nerves still have the better of me, I’ll bust out another old project and sew myself a costume with just maybe enough time to wear it for Purim.


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