What You Need To Know Before You Shop For A Pillow Sham

Apparently a lot!  Last week I had several requests for pillow shams.  Could it be a trend?

I start all of my projects with R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H.  It's just the scientist {or procrastinator} in me.  What size is a pillow sham?  How big should the flange be? Zipper closure or something else?

I was a little surprised at what I found - but it makes a lot of sense when you get the visuals going.
Photo of king pillow sham with a nicely sized 2 inch flange and applique

Let's start with the easy bit.  The flange, which is the flappy edge of the pillow sham, can be whatever size you like.  It's truly personal preference, but flanges generally range from 1 to 2 inches wide. Of course, a king size sham, like the one in the photo above, deserves a king-sized two inch flange.

Best closure? Do you know me?  Then you know I am going to say the best closure is a zipper.  I like a nice lapped or flange zipper. This is where the zipper is up out of the pillow seam and covered by a flap of fabric.  Flanged zippers are great for when someone actually wants to snuggle your pillow {no scratches}.

A flange zipper keeps the zipper out of the seam and camouflages it

Yes, zippers are a bit scary at first, but they can be mastered with a little practice and good instruction {for free on Craftsy}.  Two other closure options are the simple envelope and almost-as-simple button closures.  Sadly, both have a tendency to not close firmly and can result in a rumpled looking pillow.

Now on to size.  There are really two elements to pillow sham size: 1. What are the standard sizes of shams?  2. What size sham goes on what size bed?  This is the complicated bit, because it's not what you think.

Photo of king pillow sham on a twin bed fills space nicely

You see, a twin sham on a twin bed looks too small.  To really deck out that bed and fill the space, use a king sized sham.  The above photo shows a king sized sham really pumping up this puny twin bed {my son the avid reader's - see the messy well used bookcase!}.

Check out the handy table below for standard sham sizes and their best use. Best use being, how many of what size sham do I put on which sized bed.
image of table showing pillow sham standard sizes and best uses

Hope you found this helpful!  Bookmark this post for your next bedroom spiff-up shopping trip. Or Pin the graphic to your "Bedroom Revamp" Pinterest board for later use.