DIY Pleated Pillow Sham

February 13, 2012

Hello all, happy Monday!  I’m slowly working on redoing my 8 year old daughter’s room, it will be shades of gray, white, and yellow with some blue too.  I bought her a new matelassé coverlet for the end of her bed but beyond white sheets and a white duvet, I couldn’t find a pleated pillow sham that I like so I decided to make her one out of simple cotton fabric.

pleated pillow sham labeled


Two weeks ago I bought myself a new sewing machine after my old (and very basic) Singer started acting up.  I thought cleaning it would help, it did a little, but it was in need of a repair, so I took it in to have it looked at. The estimate to repair it was slightly more than the trade in amount so I decided it was time to invest in an upgrade – I plan to do a lot more sewing in my life so after trying a half dozen machines in the store, I decided on the Singer Quantum Stylist and can I just say Oh Em Gee sewing with this machine is a dream.

Its rays of awesomeness radiate from within.

singer rays of awesomeness


It’s quiet.  It’s easy to use – I had a bobbin ready in like 45 seconds, because of the easy to read numerical step-by-step directions on the machine.

thread a bobbin


It also has the most wonderful invention in the universe, a needle threader.  A needle threader!  Where have you been all my life, I died and went to sewing heaven.  I push a lever and it actually threads the needle for me, no more licking the end of the thread and squinting to work it through the needle, oh no. I could just kiss the person who came up with this idea.

needle threader


The machine has like 600 different stitches and just the Greek key stitch alone has me dreaming up new projects.  But I won’t go on an on today, you’ll hear more as I get to know it better, but it’s so nice to be sewing with such a dream machine.

Back to the pleated pillow sham, if you want to stitch one up yourself, you’ll need 60” inches of 44” wide basic cotton fabric.

Here’s how I divided the 44” x 60” cotton fabric for a standard size sham:

fabric pieces


Part A is the front and measures 22” x 33”, parts B and C are the back and measure 17” x 22”. Parts D and E measure 5” x 54” and Part F is 5” x 44” – those three 5” wide strips come together to form the pleat.

To start, prewash your cotton fabric then cut your pieces as shown.  Roll under and pin one of the the 22” sides of both pieces B and C then hem to form the edges for for the back closure.

hem back pieces


Stitch together the ends of pieces D, E, and F to form one longer strip, then fold the 5” strips in half and press with an iron for a crisp edge.

press strips


Slowly work the long strip of pressed fabric through the sewing machine tucking the fabric with a fold every inch and a half to form the pleat.

hem pleat


You will end up with a strip of pleats long enough to wrap around the sham.

perfect pleats 2


At this point you can pin it all together inside out and stitch it together with the sewing machine.  I chose instead to first attach the pleat to piece A instead of all at once.

attach pleat


Once the pleat was attached to piece A, I pinned the top piece of part B to the back then stitched it together.  With this method, you have to flip the A fabric underneath as you turn the corners.  Repeat same method for piece C.

pin top before sewing


In the end, you’ll have an opening in the back of the pillow sham where you can slide the pillow insert in and out.

back of sham


That’s all there is to it… your own custom decorative pleated pillow sham!

pleated pillow sham cg

pleats up close

pleated pillow sham on bed cg


If you’re sewing a Euro sham or King size sham I imagine you’ll need at least 2 yards, but how fun is the possibility of making your own pleated pillow shams with any fabric you love.  Enjoy!



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