The shams are nice fabric. Not comfortable for sleeping, I'm sure, but I don't think shams are intended for sleeping. They do not have zippers, they are more envelope style in design. I found the standard to be a snug fit for my pillows, but I think a pillow in a sham should be full in appearance. I didn't want the shams to be much larger than the pillows. While I was wrestling in one of the pillows, however, I heard some stitches give. I don't see any unraveling and it wouldn't be that big of a deal to put in a few stitches if necessary. I don't see any damage, but I've been a bit more gentle with the shams ever since. I have found it difficult to find reasonably priced, plain solid color shams. These shams fit the bill well. The somewhat rough fabric goes well with a patchwork quilt. I doubt it would work well in a more formal bedroom-- it is a better match for a country style quilt than it would be for a more elaborate bedspread.