How to Make a Quilted Pillow Sham From Leftover Blocks

Do you have orphan quilt blocks laying around that you’ve stitched up, but haven’t used in a quilt project yet? Today I’m going to show you how to turn any 12.5″ quilt block into a quilted throw pillow cover. These quilted pillow shams will look great on your sofa or living room chair.

Completed quilted pillow sham

Once you’ve learned how to sew a pillow cover, you’ll be able to easily replicate this project to make many different styles of throw pillows, including a basic pillow cover with no patchwork. You can also customize your pillow cover to use blocks and pillow forms of different sizes.

Let’s learn how to make a quilted pillow sham!

quilt block


  • 16″ square pillow form
  • 12.5″ unfinished quilt block
  • 5″ x WOF border fabric (blue text print)
  • 16.5″ x WOF backing fabric

For quilted pillow front:

  • 18″ square of batting
  • 20″ square of muslin or backing fabric for quilted pillow front

cutting border fabric

1. From the accent/border fabric, cut two strips 2.5″ x 12.5″ and stitch them to the top and bottom sides of your quilt block. Press the seams toward the border.

framing quilt block

2. Cut two strips 2.5″ x 16.5″ and stitch them to left and ride sides of the quilt block. Press the seams toward the border. This is what your framed quilt block will look like.

making a quilt sandwich

3. Make a quilt sandwich from the muslin/backing fabric, batting and your quilt block, which should be on top with the right side facing up. Baste with pins or spray baste your quilt sandwich.

quilting the pillow front

4. Quilt the pillow front as desired. I used a stipple or meandering quilt stitch around the border and background, and left the Dresden Plate block unquilted.

trimmed batting

5. Trim the excess batting and backing off the quilted pillow front. Trim to 16.5″ square for a looser fit or 16″ square (the same size as your pillow form) for a snug-fitting throw cover pillow.

cutting the backing fabric

6. Cut two squares 16.5″ square (or the same size as your pillow front) from the pillow backing fabric. A home decor fabric works great, or you can choose a quilting cotton and add interfacing to make it a bit thicker.

press backing folds

7. One one of the backing fabric panels, fold one edge of fabric 2″ toward the wrong side, and then fold over 2″ again toward the wrong side. Press. Repeat with the other backing fabric panel.

stitch the edge

8. Stitch 1/4″ from the innermost folded edge. Repeat with the second panel.

stacked cover

9. Stack your quilted pillow cover right side up in front of you. Place one backing panel right side down on top of the pillow front, with the three raw edges aligned to the left of the pillow front as pictured.

other backing panel added

10. Stack the other backing panel right side down on top of the pillow front, with the three raw edges aligned to the right of the pillow front as pictured. Pin the pillow front and the two backing panels in place around the perimeter. Stitch 1/2″ from the raw edges through all layers. Use a zigzag stitch or serge the edges around the perimeter to prevent fraying.

finished pillow

11. Flip the pillow cover right side out and poke out the corners. You’ve just learned how to sew a pillow cover from any 12.5″ quilt block!

pillow back

12. On the flip side, you’ll have this nice, finished envelope-style pillow back with deep pockets. This makes it very easy to change out pillow covers and wash them, but your cover won’t slip off thanks to the deep pockets.

finished sham front

Changing the pillow size

To sew a pretty quilted throw pillow cover in a size other than 16″ square, simply add borders to your quilt block until it is the same width and height as your pillow form (for a snug fit). For a looser fit, just make the pillow front a half-inch wider in both directions. Then, cut the two backing fabric squares the same size as the front.

Do you have any leftover quilt blocks from a project that you’ve never used? Make a pillow!

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