We've made dozens of these neck pillows as gifts, and I use one myself every night. If you like warm and cozy, use flannel or a super soft minky (check out the selection from our friends at Minky Delight). If you're like me and enjoy a cool, crisp pillow, stick with a quality 100% cotton fashion fabric.This awesome pillow pattern debuted back in December 2009 and has maintained a consistent position on our Most Popular Projects list ever since. The bow tie shape is perfect for propping up your noggin while you watch TV or read in bed. And, we've gotten a number of emails from S4H fans who've made them for older relatives who LOVE the little pillows as gentle support for their necks while they sleep. They're easy to create despite their complex-looking shape; you can make one in less than an hour with just a half yard of fabric.
½ yard of 45" wide fashion weight cotton fabric or cotton flannel. I made one from Aqua Garden Trellis/Flights of Fancycollection, a Paula Prass design from Michael Miller, and one from Duck Egg Acanthus/Belle collection, an Amy Butlerdesign from Rowan.
2 feet of 7/8" satin or grosgrain ribbon per pillow.
Bag of Poly-fil to stuff pillow
Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
Hand sewing needle
It's best if you pre-shrink your fabric before cutting.
Download and print FOUR copies of our neck pillow pattern.
IMPORTANT: You must print this ONE 8½" x 11" PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
Butt the four pattern pieces together to make one bowtie-shaped pattern piece. Do NOT overlap. Tape in place.
Using your assembled pattern, cut three pieces. I fold my fabric into thirds so I can cut all three pieces at once.
You'll see an * on either end of your pattern piece. Once you have your 3 pieces cut, and while they are all still pinned together, cut the tiniest little V-shaped clip, about 1/8" in depth and width. This marks the spot where you stop stitching and attach the center of your ribbon handles. While you can use a marking pencil, I found this V-clip easier to spot while sewing.
At Your Sewing Machine
Pin two of your three pieces of cut fabric right sides together along one side from one V-clip to the opposite V-clip. Using a 3/8” seam allowance, stitch from the precise center point of the V on one side to precisely that point on the opposite side. One side remains open. Because of the narrow seam allowance and the curves, sew slowly to assure your stitching line is smooth and accurate.
NOTE: This pillow is essentially a chubby triangle, which is helpful to keep in mind as you are assembling – remember you need three sides to create the correct dimension.
Loop your ribbon to form a handle and pin on center of each V-clip with the loop facing inside.
Stitch your second seam from V-clip to opposite V-clip to include half of the ribbon as shown below. Backstitch over the ribbon to give it strength.
Pin your remaining open seam as shown:
Stitch from one V-clip to about the center of the pillow (again, as you sew over the ribbon be sure to backstitch for strength). Leave open a 4" gap in the seam. This is where you will stuff your pillow with Polyfil. Then, finish stitching to the opposite V-clip. Be sure to backstitch (back-tack) at both sides of the opening to keep the seam from coming open during the turning and stuffing process.
Turn your pillow right side out, and stuff the shape until pleasingly plump but not so rock hard that it's uncomfortable.
Tuck in the seam allowance at the opening and slip stitch closed.
When finished, a comfortably stuffed pillow looks about like this: