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Pillows and Pillow Shams

Introduction to Pillows and Pillow Shams

Drapery Style TreatmentPillows used in interior design are made to perform the function of adding softness, color, or pattern to a room.  They enhance the overall design and create a mood of comfort.  The pillow originated as a padded fabric sack which was used to lay ones head on while sleeping, or to prop or pad body parts while resting.  Because this is a function associated with comfort, the role of the pillow in interior design has evolved from something purely functional into a decorative and mood creating feature.  Although decorative, these items are still a working part of daily life and therefore, when designing the decorative pillow it is good to keep in mind this dual purpose.  If too fussy, they may lose some of their appeal over time with use.

The business rule differentiating the decorative pillow from the pillow sham is that a pillow is a decorative fabric casing which is stuffed and sewn closed.  A pillow sham will be a decorative fabric casing which has a separate non-decorative pillow inserted inside it, and is made with some type of a constructed closure which allows it to be opened and the insert removed.  A pillow sham can be removed for ease of cleaning or to replace the pillow insert should it deteriorate over time with use.  

According to this rule, when a pillow is ordered, a decorative or non-decorative non-removable cover is provided.  When a pillow sham is ordered, the decorative cover will be removable and an inner, non-decorative pillow insert will be provided, or a pillow sham can be ordered with no insert and the consumer can provide one of their own choosing.

To learn more about designing and specifying Pillows and Pillow Shams, refer to chapter 13 in the book Elements of Soft Treatments

Pillow and Pillow Shams are divided up into sub-categories which consist of:

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Knife Edge

Styles pictured here may be available as either a pillow (PW) or pillow sham (PS). The knife edge style is the most common, versatile and widely used pillow/pillow sham style. A sampling of knife edge style pillows are shown here. Also included here will be the code numbers for custom knife edge pillows & pillow sham products, re-make labor, and mock-up or sample work when done on a knife edge pillow or pillow sham.

Flange

Styles pictured here may be available as either a pillow (PW) or pillow sham (PS). Flanged style pillows/pillow shams will have a fabric border around the outside edges. Some flanged style pillows are shown here. Also included here will be the code numbers for custom flanged pillows & pillow sham products, re-make labor, and mock-up or sample work when done on a flanged pillow or pillow sham..

Round

Round pillows in this category will typically be knife edged. See also the "Boxed" section for some other round styles. Some examples of round knife edged pillow styles are shown here. Also included here will be the code numbers for custom round pillows & pillow sham products, re-make labor, and mock-up or sample work when done on a round knife edged pillow or pillow sham.

Boxed A boxed style will have a side section or gusset added between the front and back to give the pillow more of a distinct 3rd dimension. These pillows will also tend to have a more tailored appearance. Also included here will be the code numbers for custom boxed pillows & pillow sham products, re-make labor, and mock-up or sample work when done on a boxed pillow or pillow sham.
Neck Rolls A neck roll is a cylinder or wedge shaped style. Smaller versions are called neck rolls and larger versions are bolsters, see the "Soft Accessories" section for bolster style numbers. Also included here will be the code numbers for custom neck roll pillows & pillow sham products, re-make labor, and mock-up or sample work when done on a neck roll pillow or pillow sham.
Specialty Specialty pillows come in various sizes and shapes. They can have characteristics of knife edge, flanged, or round styles, or they may have their own unique shape. Some examples are pictured here. Also included here will be the code numbers for custom specialty pillows & pillow sham products, re-make labor, and mock-up or sample work when done on a specialty pillow or pillow sham.

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General Information
  • Manufactured pillow sizes are measured seam to seam before stuffing
  • Flanges, ruffles, and similar add-ons are added to the ordered finished size
  • Pillow tolerances are within ½” overall, as fabric will shrink when stitched

Pricing can be: (Check with your current drapery workroom)
  • Pillows are priced per each for a basic style.  Different workrooms may have different items included or not included in their basic styles, so ask for detailed pictures or samples to be sure of what is considered the basic style pricing.
  • Add-on items are priced separately and are usually priced per each or per pillow


Kirk Axelson

Precision Draperies Education

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