Do you adore the romantic, distressed elegance of shabby chic style? Ever peeked at the price tag of these gorgeous frayed-edge euro shams at West Elm (whoa, $39 each!) and thought, “there has to be a better way?” Well today, I’m sharing how you can create your own stunning DIY frayed-edge pillow shams for a fraction of the cost!

Above are the West Elm Euro Shams, which are the inspiration for my DIY version below!
DIY Pillow Shams

How to Make Euro Pillow Shams

DIY Frayed-Edge Pillow Shams
Supplies Needed:

5 Yards of 100% cotton fabric (creates 2 shams)
Matching thread
Sewing Machine

I headed to Joanns and picked up gray 100% cotton fabric.  I purchased 5 yards for 2 shams.

A standard euro sham is 26″ x 26″.

Cut the front sham square to 27″ x 27″ – you will need 3 pieces at this size.

Next, cut two sections for the back of the sham – 27″ x 17″ each.

To create the frayed-edge, layer the three front square pieces and then sew diagonal lines.  This is the process:

Grab the first square and fold it in half diagonally. Press the fabric along the fold with an iron to create a line to follow while stitching.

Line the three front pieces up and pin in place.

Starting in the middle of the pillow, sew along the diagonal line you created with the iron. Sew all the way to one corner. Do not bother cutting strings now – you can do it all at the end.

Go back to the middle of the pillow and follow the diagonal crease in the other direction to the other corner.

Move the fabric over so that you have about a 1/2″ between your stitching. Line the sewing maching foot up with your last stitch, and starting in the corner, go all the way to the other corner.  Continue doing this a bazillion times until you fill half your pillow.  Note: You can do the whole pillow, I chose to do half!

This process took me about a half an hour.

Create the Fray

Grab a pair of scissors and cut the first two layers of your squares in between each of the stitches.

ONLY CUT BETWEEN stitches! DO NOT CUT to the side of your first stitch that does not have another stitch on the other side.  Go carefully, you don’t want to cut through the third piece of fabric. Once you’ve cut between each stitch, set this front piece aside.

Preparing the Back of the Sham 

With one of the back pieces of fabric, we’re going to create a hem. Fold the fabric over a 1/4″ along one of the 27″ sides and iron flat.  Fold it again, as close to the original fold as possible, iron and stitch in place.

Repeat for the other back piece.

Now you are ready to complete your pillow sham.

Finishing the Sham


Place the frayed front piece right side up. Match one of the back panels right side down and hemmed side toward the center and pin in place.  Do this again for the next back panel, making sure that the two back panels overlap.

I suggest pinning where they do so that you know where to backstitch to create a nice secure seam for when you stuff in your pillow.

Stitch around the entire pillow sham. Fold the sham right side out and put it through the wash.

Frayed-Edge Pillow Shams Tutorial

Once out of the wash, place a euro pillow inside the DIY frayed-edge pillow sham and admire your gorgeous handiwork!

How to Make Pillow Shams

With a little creativity and these simple steps, you can add a touch of shabby chic charm to your bedroom for a fraction of the price of store-bought options. My DIY Frayed-Edge Pillow Shams cost $16 for two, using a 40% off coupon for the fabric, while the West Elm shams were $80 for two! So grab some fabric, fray those edges, and get ready to enjoy the cozy elegance of your handmade euro shams1