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How to Sew Euro Shams

Today I’m going to show you how to sew Euro shams!  (This post is a collaboration with Tonic Living, but all thoughts and opinions are my own). 

Learn How to Sew Euro Shams

Can you believe I’ve never sewn Euro shams?  Weird, right, considering alllll the sewing my Mom and I do:

That’s not even all of the DIY sewing tutorials we’ve shared – and it barely scratches the surface of all the things we’ve sewn!  We’ve sewn everything from pyjama pants to dresses to dog coats.  But still, I have been buying Euro shams for 10 years.  It’s because I used to prefer that my duvet cover and Euro shams match, so I’ve always just bought the Euro shams that go with my duvet cover, and mixed in my own DIY throw pillows:

Beach Boho Bedroom Design

But for my recent bedroom makeover, I decided to shake it up.  Instead of matching my shams and duver cover, I mixed and matched a grey and cream striped linen duvet cover with linen Euro shams and throw pillows in shades of watery blue/grey.

How to Sew Your Own Euro Shams

The look is still coordinated, especially because all of the bedding (even the curtains!) is linen, but the overall vibe is little more relaxed and beachy.  The beautiful fabric came from Tonic Living – the Euro sham color is called Lake and the smaller throw pillows are made using OceanYou can see all of the beautiful linen options here and find the tutorial for the Euro pleat curtains made with Tonic Living linen hereThe lumbar pillow is one I ice dyed myself, using white linen.  I love using linen for ice dyeing and Tonic Living has a fabulous selection of pure linen fabrics.

DIY Linen Shams and Throw Pillows

What is a Euro Sham? Where do Euro Shams Go?

Not everyone uses a Euro sham, so in case you’re not sure: a Euro sham is the largest of the three pillows on my bed – it’s a large, square shaped pillow at the back of my pillow collection.  I have a king sized bed and three Euro shams perfectly fill the back.  For this size bed, I just personally really love the look.

DIY Euro Sham Pillows

How Big is a Euro Sham?

The standard size of a Euro sham is 26″ square.


How to Sew Euro Shams:

First, measure and cut out two squares of fabric for one Euro sham, adding a seam allowance of approx. 5/8″ – or even 3/4″ for the zipper.

How to Cut Fabric Properly

You can use scissors to cut your fabric, but if you’d like to easily cut a perfectly straight line, use an Olfa self-healing mat and rotary cutter with a straight edge:

How to Cut Fabric Straight

Pin the two squares together on one side (which will be the bottom of the pillow).  Make sure the warp and weft are matched in the same direction, and that the right sides are facing each other.

DIY Linen Throw Pillows

The first step will be to insert the zipper.  Lay down the zipper beside the pins and mark the beginning and end of the zipper with a pin:

How to Make a Zippered Euro Sham Pillow

Sew along what will become the zipper side of the pillow, starting 5/8″ in from the edge of the fabric.  Sew a line from this point until the spot where the zipper will start, using regular stitches, and back stitch at both ends.  Then continue sewing the length of the zipper with the longest stitch your machine has (basically, you’re just basting the section where the zipper will be).  Repeat the regular stitching at the other end of the pillow, stopping 5/8″ short of the edge again:

How to Make a Euro Sham

You can see where I’m pointing, the stitching changed from a basting stitch to a regular stitch.  The basting stitch will later be opened up, it’s just temporary.

Zipper Sewing Tips

Then lay the fabric flat, with the two sides of the pillow spread like a butterfly.  Press the seam open with an iron:

Sew Your Own Euro Shams

Pin the zipper and loosely baste into place – basting is optional, but makes sewing the zipper in so much easier:

DIY Euro Shams TutorialSewing a Zipper into a Throw PillowWhy You Should Baste a Zipper Before Sew

Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew around the zipper following the basting stitches:

How to Insert a Zipper into a PillowHow to Sew a Zippered Euro ShamHow to Make a Zippered Pillow

Remove the basting stitches:

How to Sew a Zipper into a Pillow

Then flip over the fabric and, using a seam ripper, remove the stitches from in front of the zipper:

How to Sew a Zippered Pillow

Now the zipper has been installed and the most important step is next: OPEN the zipper!

How to Insert a Zipper into a PillowHow to Sew a Pillow with a Zipper

Place the right sides of the fabric facing one another again and pin the edges, leaving a 5/8″ salvage.  Sew the three remaining sides and then turn the pillow right side out – that’s it!

How to Sew a Euro Sham PillowHow to Sew a Pillow

Hopefully this tutorial for how to sew Euro shams was helpful – you can, of course, use this tutorial for any size throw pillow!  And if you’d like to see more pillow sewing tutorials, check out this post: how to sew a lumbar pillow.  For a slightly different pillow sewing tutorial, learn how to sew a pillow with a flapped zipper here.

How to Sew Euro Shams

How Do You Style a Euro Sham?

This is how I style my Euro shams and make my bed:

  1. Smooth the duvet and pull it up close to the headboard, folding the flat sheet back over a few inches.
  2. I used to stand up the pillows we sleep with, against the headboard.  But I recently added a second set so now I stack the sleeping pillows against the headboard.
  3. Then layer on the three Euro shams.
  4. Place two smaller square pillows and one smaller bolster pillow in front of the Euro shams.

DIY Euro Shams

How do you make and style your bed?  P.S. in addition to beautiful home decor fabrics, Tonic Living has a lot of beautiful pillows for sale, just so you know…

Don’t Forget to Pin This Tutorial for How to Sew Euro Shams for Later!

How to Sew Euro Shams


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