DIY travel pillow with a free pattern

In this post I am going to show you how to make a travel neck pillow by yourself. This DIY tutorial comes with a free pattern in toddler/kids and adult sizes.

 The toddler's size pattern fits nicely to an 8-years old as well, so you can use the toddler's version of the pattern for older kids.

To download the free travel neck pillow pattern, scroll down to the end of this post.

I had two reasons to make this pillow myself. First, I didn't like the support our store-bought pillow provided. Of course, I could go and buy a more supportive one, but I also really wanted it to match the car seat cover I've made a while ago. And I was pleased with the results.

Here is how to make it yourself:

What you are going to need to make this travel pillow (image 1)

  • the pattern
  • 12 inches/30 cms of non-stretch fabric for the kids version and 20 inches/50 cms for the adult one​​
  • pins, scissors,  sewing machine
  • poly fil or other stuffing material
  • a h​​​​and needle and a matching thread

Steps to follow when making the travel neck pillow

Use the pattern to cut two details of the travel pillow

The idea to make a travel neck pillow came later, so I didn't have enough fabric left to use.  

That’s why I’ve joined some pieces together in order to get the shape of the pillow. If you are using the pattern and enough fabric, you are going to end up with two whole and even details that look much prettier than mine (image 2).

Put them face sides together and pin if you like. I am going to sew all around the pillow except the narrow part on the inside. I am going to use it as a hole through which I am going to turn the pillow inside out later.

When I leave the hole at this place, it would be a bit harder to hand stitch later, but it’s the least visible place so that’s where I am going to make it. If you prefer, you can leave the opening elsewhere in order to be easier for you to hand stitch later. 

Sew it with ⅜ of an inch or 1 cm seam allowance (image 3).

Use a straight stitch and anchor the seam at the beginning and the end.

Turn the pillow inside out by pushing it through the hole we left (image 4).

 You might want to iron at this point, but the filling is going to pull the seams anyway so I am going to skip this step.


diy travel neck pillow

Stuff the pillow with poly-fil or other stuffing material

Here is how the travel pillow looks by now (image 5). Now I am going to start stuffing the fill in (image 6). How much you are going to stuff the pillow depends on your preferences.

I am using my thumbs to push the stuffing all the way in and I am careful to use the same amount of fill in all parts of the pillow (image 7).

diy neck pillow for kids

Close the opening we left in the middle of the pillow

Once I am done, I need to close the hole in the middle (image 8). I am going to do that with invisible hand stitch or the so called ladder stitch. Here is how to do it: 

Start at one side and insert the needle a bit in on one side and then on the other side so the seam allowance get pushed inside and both sides get joined together (image 9).

This pillow is nicely stuffed, so i don’t pull the sides together right from the first stitches. I make a couple of them and then pull together so that the thread doesn’t break under the pressure. I am going to go all the way up until I close the hole.

Then, I am going to go backwards. Going back is not strictly necessary, but in my case the fabric has a tendency to unravel, so I am going to secure it.

To finish the stitch, instead of making a knot I am going to stick the needle inside the pillow. Then, take it out on the other side, cut the remaining thread and the end of it would disappear in the inside of the pillow (image 10).

how to make a travel neck pillow

Here is the video I made while making this travel neck pillow.

To download the pattern, click on the button below. The adult and toddler/kids versions of the travel neck pillow pattern are provided in separate PDF files.

If you appreciate the patterns I share for free, please spread the word, comment below or pin for later.

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