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DIY Travel Pillow | Neck Pillow Pattern + VIDEO Tutorial

Traveling can get very uncomfortable at times, especially if you’re traveling by car or worse, bus. But if you have the right equipment for the trip, you can make it as comfortable as possible. What kind of equipment am I talking about? Neck pillows.

A well-made neck pillow can make a big difference during long trips during which you have no other options but so sit put.

Since I don’t really like those you can get in the stores, I came up with a cute and very comfortable DIY travel pillow design. It’s easy to make and it requires very little time. And I’m about to show you precisely how to make a travel pillow yourself. It makes a great gift and can be made in colorful fabrics to coordinate with your luggage or your fabric luggage tags!

Below you will find my step by step written tutorial with VIDEO instructions for all the visual learners.

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How to Make a Travel Pillow

You don’t need all that much for this project, it’s likely that you even already have all of the essentials in your sewing supplies.
First up you will need to download the free neck pillow pattern below – it’s a U-shaped design that is very comfortable.

Supplies and tools

DOWNLOAD: FREE Travel pillow pattern (PDF file)

Follow us for free patterns & tutorials!

Notes: You can use a variety of materials for the stuffing – I’ll cover the options at the bottom of this tutorial if you’re not sure what to use. use what you consider to be the most comfortable option.

Once you prepare all that, you can start making the travel pillow.

How To Sew a Travel pillow

Watch the diy travel pillow video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
Please enjoy and don’t forget to Like and SUBSCRIBE over on YouTube to be kept up to date with new videos as they come out.



STEP 1: Prepare the pattern

Print out the travel neck pillow pattern you downloaded and cut it out. Make sure you print it as 100% (no scaling) on either a US letter or A4 paper. Cut it out and tape it together

If you don’t have a printer or you can’t use the downloadable pattern for some other reason, you can draw it yourself on a piece of paper.

Just draw one half of the usual travel pillow shape. Similar to a bean. Then cut it out.

STEP 2: Cut the fabric

Fold the fabric in half and align the edges. Then put the travel pillow sewing pattern on the fold, pin it and cut through both layers according to the pattern. The seam allowance is already included.

Do this two times, as you need two identical pieces of fabric – one for the front and one for the back. If you have larger scrap pieces – this is a great project to use couple of them!

STEP 3: Pin

Unfold both pieces of fabric and set them on top of each other, right sides facing each other. Align the edges and pin everything in place. Leave an opening for turning.

STEP 4: Sew

Stitch all around the edges using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Leave a gap of about two inches unstitched so that you can turn the DIY neck pillow inside out.

Use your scissors to notch all around the pillow, snipping small triangles out of the seam allowance about one inch apart from each other. This will allow the pillow to form properly along the curves. Don’t notch the gap.

STEP 5: Turn inside out and press

Turn the whole pillow inside out through the opening you left unstitched earlier. Tuck the seam allowance of the opening inside and press it. Press the entire thing flat with an iron using a lot of steam.

STEP 6: Fill the pillow with the stuffing

Take the polyester stuffing you have prepared and fill the neck pillow with it. You can put as much stuffing as you wish, it’s your choice. If you like your pillows to be fluffier then put a bit more, just don’t overdo it so that it doesn’t become too hard.

STEP 7: Finish the DIY travel pillow

Once you have finished stuffing the neck pillow, all that’s left to do is to close up the opening on it. Take your needle and a thread and close the opening shut with a ladder stitch.

That’s about it, now you know how to make a travel pillow!

Psst… do you like the gorgeous roses in the image above. Here’s how to make them


As I mentioned earlier, you can use whichever stuffing you prefer, but if you’re not sure, here are a few suggestions and their characteristics.

  • Option 1
Polyester filling
The kind that is used for kids toys is the best option. It’s light and easy to clean.
  • Option 2
Shredded memory foam
Very comfortable, offers great support and it holds its shape quite well. The only downside is its potentially bad odor and the fact that it will flatten out when it absorbs a lot of body heat. It will revert to original though, once it rests and cools down.
  • Option 3
Very similar to the shredded memory foam, with a few minor differences. It keeps cool so it’s great for summer, but it will deteriorate with time so you have to replace it relatively often. It also doesn’t offer variety in firmness as it is basically always medium firm.
  • Option 4

No products found.

  • Option 5: Feathers

Light and soft, very comfortable, and it can be shaped easily. It tends to flatten often and it can get pretty hot during use.

Down is the more expensive but a lot softer variation of feather filling that lasts long.

I hope you liked this neck pillow tutorial and that you found it useful and interesting. Let us know what you think about it by sharing your thoughts with everyone in the comment section below. If you have some suggestions for improvement, do tell, your feedback is very appreciated!

Now go ahead and make a few of these DIY travel pillows for yourself and your loved ones, they’ll be grateful for sure!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 31 comments
Lalka Crochetka - July 1, 2020

such a great idea! thank you for tutorial – it makes me think I can try to sew my own travel pillow 🙂

    Helen - July 8, 2020

    Sure you can. It’s such an easy so, and the travel pillow is so comfortable

Chas Greener - July 2, 2020

It turned out awesome, and thanks so much for sharing the great tutorial.

    Helen - July 3, 2020

    Thank you for your kind comment, Chas. I love it!

Julie - July 4, 2020

What a great tutorial, thanks for sharing with us at Handmade Monday

    Helen - July 8, 2020

    Thank you, Julie. It’s a pleasure to share my projects with you!

Antionette Blske - July 5, 2020

Thank you for sharing your post at this week’s #TrafficJamWeekend Linky Party.

Have a wonderful weekend!

    Helen - July 8, 2020

    Thank you for dropping by!

Regina - July 5, 2020

Thank you for the instructions. We need to get neck pillows for our next trip and this will let us personalize them.

    Helen - July 8, 2020

    Looking forward to travel is such a great treat…and then the memories are so sweet. Share photos of your creations with us! I love seeing items made with my patterns

Kaycee - July 6, 2020

This is fantastic! Absolutely cannot wait to be able to travel again! Maybe the time at home will give me time to make some of these as Christmas gifts! Thank you for linky up at Oh My Heartsie Girl’s Wonderful Wednesdays, I’m co-hosting at My Crafty Zoo!

    Helen - July 8, 2020

    Oh, how I miss traveling! These make wonderful gifts everyone would love to receive

Karren Haller - July 6, 2020

Such a great tutorial and pattern, thank you for sharing on OMHGWW it will be featured this week. Please stop by and share again!

Have a great week!

    Helen - July 8, 2020

    I will. Thank you so much for the feature and hosting this wonderful party

Donna @ Modern on Monticello - July 6, 2020

I like your choice of fabric. It turned out so pretty. The tutorial is very detailed and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing. #HomeMattersParty

    Helen - July 7, 2020

    Thank you so much for the kind words, Donna. I love it!

Michelle - July 6, 2020

So many times I have wanted one of these! I can quilt, but making 3D items is always more of s struggle. I think I can manage this though. Look for your neck pillow to be featured in this week’s Creative Compulsions.


    Helen - July 7, 2020

    It’s actually very easy, I’m sure you can manage it! Thanks for the feature, I’ll stop by this week

Linda S - July 7, 2020

My daughter and I recently traveled on airplane and I was wishing I had a travel pillow. This will be on my to-do list for our next cross-country excursion!

    Helen - July 7, 2020

    It’s a must have travel item for me! So comfy

Judi Stello - August 3, 2020

I love the pattern. I use the micro-beads and use them in a separate pillow then the decorative outer shell I put a 1/2 inch loop in the seam. I attach a carabiner to that. When I am not using it after a flight I can attach it to a loop or strap before I leave the plane and don’t loose me favorite pillow.
Just a thought worth mentioning.

    Helen - August 4, 2020

    Great idea, Judi, thanks for sharing. This sounds like a handy feature

mickey - September 17, 2020

this is amazing but here are the some best travel pillows for tall person that support your neck and head than that any other pillow

    Helen - September 18, 2020

    These are custom made pillows so that can be made to fit any person tall or short

HOMEiA - December 10, 2020

That’s really very nice. Thanks.

    Helen - January 22, 2022

    Thank you!

Carol - July 25, 2021

Great project. I will be making one of these soon. Could I use scraps of fabric with the Polyester fill?

Susan - July 23, 2022

If you do yarn crafts, put a zipper on the back and leave a small gap at the bottom of each “arm”. Put 1 skein in each arm, threading the end through the gaps. Put an extra skin or 2 to fill it for comfort and now you can knit or crochet easily.

    Helen - July 23, 2022

    That is clever! Thanks for the tip, Susan!

Susan Ramsay - August 13, 2022

Lately I have seen notices that say we use this type of pillow wrong. The opening goes in the back. This is so the pillow supports our head when we fall asleep and the head nods forward. Always something new to learn.

    Helen - August 14, 2022

    Yes, isn’t it funny how we are taught to do something and we are doing it this way for years when suddenly you realize you are doing it all wrong


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