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Guys, it’s once again Sew a Softie Month, and I’m so excited! Every year Trixi from Coloured Buttons organizes a month-long extravaganza during which sewing bloggers publish tutorials for stuffed projects that kids can sew. How amazing is that? Learning to sew teaches kids important skills and life lessons but, more importantly, it’s dang fun! This month I have a travel neck pillow template pdf download and tutorial that is for both children and adults, and which can be sewn by hand or also mostly by machine!
The Cucicucicoo free neck pillow template pdf has two sizes; child size is for up to 4-6 years, while adult size is from about age 6 and up.
But the feature of my neck pillow pattern that I love the most is the (optional) carry strap!
These are two simple rectangles sewn into the top of the pillow and joined with snaps or, if you prefer, velcro.
These straps are perfect for hanging your pillow from a suitcase or backpack while travelling, or simply hanging up at home when you’re not using it. So useful!
Use a nice fuzzy fabric for incredibly comfortable neck support that you and your children will love using in the car, on planes or even relaxing at home! Sofia hasn’t stopped using hers since she finished sewing it!
So, what do you say? Want to sew a fantastic neck pillow with your kids (or even on your own)? Watch the video for all the details, or keep on reading for instructions and photos!
- Fabric. I usually recommend that children or beginners who are hand sewing use fleece or felt, which don’t fray and are easy to cut and sew. However we used a lovely soft Minky with raised dots* in two colors.
- Neck pillow template pdf. (My free patterns are available to all Cucicucicoo Newsletter subscribers. The Newsletter is sent out every two weeks and you can unsubscribe whenever you want. Sign up for the Newsletter here for access to dozens of free downloads, templates and patterns! If you are already subscribed, just look at the bottom of the last Newsletter you received for the link and password.)
- Medium weight fusibile interfacing* (only for the straps).
- Protective ironing cloth* (only for the straps).
- Fabric shears. I loooove these Fiskars tabletop scissors* because they make it easy to cut around patterns.
- Pins. We used these glass head pins*.
- Embroidery floss. We used DMC cotton pearl floss, thickness 8, red #321*, but obviously use whatever color matches your fabric best.
- Hand needle. We used DMC size 22 chenille needles*.
- Stuffing. We used memory foam stuffing*, which is perfect for a pillow that is soft, but still really supports the head and neck.
- 2 snaps* or velcro (only for the straps).
If you are making your pillow with a sewing machine, you will need matching thread and a machine sewing needle, as well as a hand needle.
(If you’d prefer receiving the free pattern and newsletter in Italian, just sign up here instead!)
Assemble the neck pillow template pdf:
1. Sign up for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter (as explained above) for access to the reserved area with all the free downloads. (Or, if you’re already signed up, check the last Newsletter that you’ve received for the info and password.) Download and print the neck pillow template pdf.
Assemble the six pages so that the triangles form diamonds and cut out the pieces that you need. (The video shows how to assemble the pattern.)
Prepare the optional carry straps:
2. Trace the strap piece twice onto the non-sticky side of the fusible interfacing, leaving a small amount of space between them. Cut them out, again leaving a bit of margin around the lines.
3. Iron the rectangles on to the wrong side of the fabric, sticky/shiny side down, using the ironing cloth to protect the iron. Make sure that the arrow on the pattern piece matches the fabric’s grainline.
Then cut out the rectangles along the traced lines.
4. Fold the rectangles in half and pin the top and long sides closed. Make sure that the fabric nap, if there is one (nap is the direction of the fuzzy fibers), goes down the strap, with the top at the top pinned side.
5. Sew along the pinned sides with a 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance. If sewing by hand, I suggest using the backstitch. (If you need help with the backstitch, watch the video above to see how to sew it by hand.) Then clip the corners as shown above.
6. Turn the rectangles right side out using a pen or large tweezers.
Put the straps to the side for now.
Sew the pillow:
7. Place the pattern on two layers of fabric with their right sides facing. Again, the grainline must follow the arrow on the pattern and, if the fabric has a nap, make sure that it runs down towards the bottom of the pattern.
8. Trace around the pattern. Mark where the straps will go at the top (black arrows) and a space to the right of where the straps will go (red arrows). Remove the pattern and pin the fabric.
9. Start sewing along the traced line from the marking furthest to the right (A above). Again, use the backstitch. Sew all the way to the marking furthest to the left (B above), then tie a knot.
10. Pin the straps together, matching up the unsewn ends, and slip them inside the pillow, against the last stitches sewn. Make sure that those unsewn ends of the straps stick out at least 1 cm (3/8″) beyond the traced line, then pin them in place.
11. Continue sewing from where you left off to the last remaining marking, as shown above. Then trim the fabric close to the stitching.
12. Turn the fabric right side out.
13. Stuff the pillow. I love using memory foam, though the little bits do tend to make a bit of a mess!
14. Use the ladder stitch to close the opening. (Read my tutorial on how to hand sew the ladder stitch, or invisible stitch.)
Finish it up:
15. Overlap the ends of the straps and apply two snaps, or sew on pieces of velcro.
And look at that kid-sewn travel neck pillow! So soft, so comfy, so convenient!
But most of all, look how proud your child will be to be able to use a neck pillow that she sewed all by herself!
Remember, if hand sewing isn’t your thing, you can always machine sew the straps and pillows (with the exception of the final ladder stitch to close it up). That’s what I did with these two pillows that I made to test the pattern. I also sewed a little tag with my logo into the sides of the straps.
Don’t think that kids aren’t capable of sewing! After all, if they’re capable of playing video games and figuring out how to get around the password protection on your smartphone, I’d say that they’re more than capable of putting together some fabric and holding it together with a bit of thread! But most importantly, learning to sew is very empowering for both children and adults!
Make sure that you check out all the other fantastic projects and tutorials for Sew a Softie month by searching the hashtag #sewasoftie or visiting the Sew a Softie Facebook group. Click here to learn more about Sew a Softie, for archives of all the projects in past editions, and how to join in!
Now that you’ve practiced with this simple neck pillow template pdf, why not go a step further with this super cool variation: a cat neck pillow pattern! This is purrr-fect (bada bum!) for all you cat lovers out there!
Want to sew a travel neck pillow, but without a pattern? Check out my easy repurposing tutorial on how to make a neck pillow from a sweatshirt that has been outgrown! This pillow is so fast to sew and incredibly fun to use! It feels as if your old clothing is hugging you!
Do you want all the new sewing techniques and cool modern sewing projects, in addition to the FREE neck pillow template pdf? Then sign up for the Cucicucicoo Newsletter here for access to dozens of free printables!
And, of course, if you liked learning how to hand sew a memory foam travel neck pillow, click here now to save this tutorial on Pinterest!
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