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Pillow Design Glossary

Purchasing pillows seems like a relatively simple activity, until you come across some unusual terms. For example, what are tufted pillows? What does it mean when a pillow is "flanged," and what is a French back closure? If these are some of the questions circling through your head, you've come to the right place! Learn the many design terms referring to pillows, so you can be 100% certain of what you're getting when you order a few for your home.

Button Closure
Button Closure
The opening on a sham where a stuffer pillow is inserted, then held inside with buttons and button holes.

Button Tuft
Button Tuft (Tufted Pillow)
An indentation in the center of a pillow that is secured by a button.

Wide, flat trim that extends off the edges of a pillow on all sides.

French Back Closure
A flap centered on the back of a sham or pillowcase where the pillow is inserted.

Fringe (Fringe Pillow)
Loose or knotted threads that decorate the outside edges of a pillow.

Piped (Piping, Welting)
A decorative border formed by a cloth-covered cord; piping finishes the outside edges of a sham or pillow.

Quilting (Quilted Pillow)
Stitched designs that serve three purposes: holding batting in place, binding fabric layers together, and providing decorative flair to the pillow or sham.

Reversible Pillows
Pillows or shams that can be displayed front or back.

Scalloped Edge
Scalloped Edge
A decorative border that creates a series of curves or waves around all four sides of the pillow or sham.

Self-Covered Button
Self-Covered Button
A button covered with the same color and print of fabric as the pillow overall.

Side Gusset
Side Gusset (Gusset Pillow, Shirred Gusset)
Narrow band of material that connects the top and bottom faces of a pillow; the gusset encircles the entire pillow and provides depth.

Shirred Pillow
Shirred (Ruched)
A decorative element created when fabric is bunched by several rows of parallel-running stitches.

A design that describes pillows with a crisp edge and neat right angles at each corner.

Vermicelli Quilting
Vermicelli (Vermicelli-Quilted)
A kind of stitch pattern that involves a continuous, meandering design; the pattern never crosses over itself.

Zipper Closure
Zipper Closure
The opening on a sham where a stuffer pillow is inserted, then closed inside by a zipper.