How To Make A Pillow Sham or Cover {sewing pattern}


Are you looking for an easy pillow sham pattern to recover a pillow or two for the holiday season?  You are going to love this easy way on how to make a pillow sham or pillow cover!  It’s a quick and free sewing pattern that can be tailored to fit any size pillow.

How To Make A Pillow Sham or Cover

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How To Make A Pillow Sham

Easy Envelope Closure ~ Pillow Tutorial

This basic tutorial walks you through just how quick and EASY it is to create your own accent pillows for your home. I’ve shown a more complex front using some piecing and quilting, but this is optional. Also, you can adjust the pattern to fit any size pillow you have … I’ll explain how at the end of the tutorial.

Finished Size: Approx. 16″x16″

Materials Needed to Make a Pillow Sham:

(1) Front Piece 16″x16″ {I’ve shown a quilted version, but you can just do a plain piece of fabric too}
(1) Backing Piece 12″xWOF {width of fabric} OR {12″x16″ and 8″x16″}
(1) Batting & Scrap Piece 17″x17″ {if creating a pieced & quilted front}
(1) 16″x16″ Pillow Form
Coordinating thread {I used neutral for everything except my quilting which was white Sulky thread}

Make Pillow Cover

1. Create your front piece. If you are creating a most basic pillow, all you need is a 16″x16″ piece of fabric.

**Quilted front tutorial was created following this tutorial for my ‘Zig Zag Ricky-Rac table runner.’ I created two zig zag ‘blocks’ and then added a 5″ strip to the top and bottom {adding ric-rac as I sewed the seams} and then a 3″ strip to the sides {again adding ric-rac as I sewed the seam}. I then made a quilt sandwich:: scrap bottom piece {this will be on the inside of the pillow and not seen} right side down, batting, pieced pillow front right side up. I quilted it very similar to the table runner following the zig zag pattern.**

2. Cut backing piece {if not already done} to two pieces, 12″x16″ and 8″x16″. Finish one of the 16″ edges {I used my serger, but you could also do a zig-zag stitch} on each piece to prevent fraying. Then measure 1/2″ in from this finished edge and fold fabric, WS {wrong sides} together. Top stitch folded edge {I did a double stitch on mine}. Repeat for other piece of fabric.

3. Layer your pieces as follows:: Front piece, right side up; 12″x16″ back piece, right side down with finished edge on the inside; 8″x16″ piece, right side down with finished edge on the inside {this piece will overlap the 12″ piece by a couple of inches}.

4. Pin pieces together, especially where they overlap. Stitch around the entire perimeter using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Back stitch the two sections where the back pieces overlap. I like to finish my edges by serging them to create a clean finish {you could zig-zag or skip this step}.

5. Turn pillow right side out, using the opening in the back and GENTLY push out corners. They will be slightly rounded which I think looks fine for a pillow. However, if you want very pointy corners, you should trim the excess fabric from your corners {on the inside before you turn it right side out}.

6. Stuff your pillowcase with your pillow form and admire your work!

Pillows add such a fun splash of color and personality to a room. If you’re intimidate by quilting the front, try adding trim {ric rac around the edges or a ruffle down the middle} or using a neutral base fabric and painting a cute silhouette or phrase for the current season.

How to Adjust for different size pillows?

I like to cut my front and back pieces based on the size of the pillow {mine was 16″x16″}. I don’t add in a seam allowance as I like my pillow covers to fit snug. If you want a looser fit, you’ll need to add an 1″ to each pillow form measurement for your cut piece {I would have needed to make mine 17″x17:}. For the back pieces, you’ll just make one piece about 3/4 the width of your pillow form {mine was 12″ x 16″} and then make the other piece about 3-4″ less in width than your first piece {mine was 8″ x 16″}.**

How To Make A Pillow Sham or Cover

How to Sew Series:

I’’m Andrea of Knitty Bitties …my little shop that fills my heart as I sew my days away in a wonderful room creating little bits of happy for you. You can read more about my days, my love of iced tea, running, baking & my newest love, our puppy, Daisy girl.

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How To Make A Pillow Sham or Cover. Free adorable {sewing pattern}!


  1. Comment-Anonymous Kim

    I just made two pillows following your tutorial. Thank you so much for the easy directions! They look great!

  2. Comment-Anonymous Melva Fowler

    Could not find a way to print Pleae e-mail me
    instructions to make a pillow sham – you used a
    16 x16. Thank you

  3. Comment-Anonymous Anna

    Wow, these look really nice once finished! I will keep these instructions handy next time I find myself with a stained or ripped pillow! Great idea.

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