How to Make a Neck Pillow

DIY Mini Travel Pillow With A Snapping Strap
Mollie Johanson

Anyone who travels knows that a long flight or car trip feels a lot better when you have a specially-shaped pillow to support your head. It's easy to sew your own with our free neck pillow pattern. This mini cushion fits easily behind your head, but you can also adjust it to one side or the other. Plus it has a strap with snaps so you can attach it to your carry-on luggage.

Start to finish, this pillow takes less than an hour, so it's even suitable as a last-minute sewing project before your trip. In addition to being a fast project, it's also easy enough that kids can make their own pillow.

Sewing Supplies for Making a Travel Neck Pillow

The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Snap fastener tool
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)

Materials

  • 1/4 yard Quilting cotton (or a fat quarter)
  • 1/4 yard Anti-pill fleece
  • 1/8 yard Fusible interfacing
  • Thread
  • Stuffing
  • Snap fastener

Instructions

  1. Print Out the Patterns

    Download and print the two pattern piece JPG files as large as they will fit on US letter or A4 paper. Be sure to print both pieces at the same size. Cut out the patterns and tape them together so the arrows match up.

    The pattern includes seam allowance, but you can add seam allowance if you'd like a larger pillow.

  2. Prepare and Cut the Pieces

    Cut Out the Neck Pillow Pieces and Straps

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    Use the printed pattern to cut one quilting cotton piece and one fleece piece.

    Fleece stretches more in one direction than the other. It's best to match the stretch with the arrow as indicated on the pattern.

    Cut two 2-1/2 x 4-3/4 pieces of quilting cotton and two of fusible interfacing. Press the interfacing onto the back of the fabric. 

    Tip

    A rotary cutter makes it easy to accurately cut the rectangles for the straps, but you can also mark them with a pencil and cut them with scissors.

  3. Make the Straps

    Sew the Straps and Turn Them Right Side Out

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    Press the two strap pieces in half the long way with right sides facing.

    For each strap, sew one long edge and one end. Trim the corner to reduce bulk. 

    Turn the strap right side out, poke the corners into shape, and press with an iron.

  4. Assemble the Pillow

    Pin the Straps and Layer the Neck Pillow Sides

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    Pin the two strap pieces to the outer curve of the quilting cotton pillow piece. Match the raw edges as shown.

    Pin the two pillow pieces with right sides together. Starting on the inner curve of the pillow, sew around the shapes, backstitching at the beginning and end. Use a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  5. Stuff the Pillow

    Fill the Mini Neck Pillow With Stuffing

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    Turn the pillow right side out. Fill the shape with stuffing until it is firm. 

    Tip

    Use small pieces of stuffing to avoid lumpiness.

  6. Sew the Opening Closed

    Hand Stitch the Opening Closed

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    Use ladder stitch to hand sew the opening closed. To do this, take a small stitch on one side, then a small stitch directly across on the other side, and so on. Pull the stitching tight as you go. 

    Secure the end with a concealed knot.

  7. Add a Fastener to the Straps

    Attach Snaps to the Straps

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    Install a snap fastener to the ends of the two strap pieces. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation.

    If you'd rather, you can sew hook and loop fastener tape instead of using a snap.

  8. Fluff the Stuffing

    DIY Mini Bean-Shaped Travel Neck Pillow Pattern

    The Spruce / Mollie Johanson

    With the neck pillow sewn closed, take a moment to squish and adjust the stuffing to even it out.