DIY sewing tutorial: How to make your own neck pillow

Summertime is the season for travelling. To ensure maximum comfort for your next drive or flight while on your way to the next holiday destination, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how you can transform just a little bit of fabric into a super fluffy and attractive travel pillow. The great thing is, this is so easy that even sewing beginners will be able to do it.

The idea

A crescent-shaped cushion can be quite a valuable companion during long flights or train rides. After all, it is soft and keeps the head in a comfortable position while you are seated, thus enabling you take a nap, without having to worry about waking up with a headache. However, many of the acquired models smell strange, at least this is the case directly after they have been purchased, or simply don’t look all that appealing. So why not just use a sewing machine, scissors and thread to create your own personal neck pillow from a few scraps of fabric? It looks harder than it really is and thanks to our instructions, the pillow will be finished in next to no time. Just give it a try!

You will need the following:

  • 2 different types of fabric (1 cotton fabric, 1 microfibre plush fabric), each amounting to around 70 cm x 50 cm
  • Wadding
  • Sewing thread that matches the colour of both fabrics
  • Tools: sewing machine, scissors, pen, 1 piece of paper in size A4, pins

Step 1: Create a pattern

Draw half of the crescent on the A4-sized piece of paper, while making sure that it corresponds to our picture. The half crescent should fill up the entire piece of paper, to ensure that it is large enough for an adult to use later on. With a little skill, you can even draw it yourself by hand. For all those who don’t think they can, then either print out our picture on A4-sized paper and then cut the crescent pattern out, or download a similar pattern from the internet.

Step 2: Pin the pattern on the fabric

The completed pattern only consists of half a crescent. Therefore, what you need to do is fold one of the pieces of fabric in half, ensuring that the right sides are facing in and the wrong sides are facing outward. Place the patterns directly on the fold, which is also referred as the crease line. Then attach the pattern with needles and use a pen to draw the outline on the fabric.

Step 3: Cut the fabric

Now cut out the shape, while making sure to leave a seam allowance amounting to approximately 1 cm. Repeat the cut for the second piece of fabric. This creates two parts of the crescent – one for the top and one for the bottom. We have selected a cotton fabric featuring a cheery summer pattern for the top and a cuddly microfibre plush fabric for the bottom.

Step 4: Sew the pieces together

Stack both pieces of fabric, with the right sides facing in and use the pins to attach them to each other. Then with the help of a sewing machine, sew them together along the drawn line using a straight stitch (stitch length ca 2.5 cm). On the top side where the crescent is straight, make sure to leave an approximately 10 cm gap for turning the pillowcase inside out later on.

Step 5: Trim the curves

To ensure that no unsightly bulges of fabric appear around the curves later on, we recommend trimming the fabric until just before you reach the seam. We cut out little triangular-shaped notches. But be careful – don’t cut too close to the seam, as this will cause it to come apart!

Step 6: Fill the pillow

Then turn the pillow right side out and stuff it by inserting the wadding through the opening. If you prefer, you could use different types of grains or cherry pits instead.

Step 7: Close the opening

The final step is to close the opening used for turning the pillowcase inside out and filling it. Fold the cut edges into the pillow, affix with pins and sew them together. You can either do this by hand or use the sewing machine.

A tip for those wishing to replicate the project: Since plush fabrics tend to become very fuzzy after cutting, we placed the fabric in the drier for approximately ten minutes on a low temperature setting. This removes the fuzz and saves you the trouble of having to vacuum after you have finished sewing.

A crescent-shaped cushion is the ideal travel companion. With a little skill, you’ll finish sewing the cuddly pillow in no time.

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