Travel Pillows for Children

17 Jan

Free Travel/Neck Pillow Pattern


We bought plane tickets to Japan! Yipee! I am EXCITED but mixed in with the excitement is a lot of nervousness. I am especially nervous about how my kids will do on an airplane for 15 hours. We don’t plan to take car seats and I know their little heads will not reach the headrests on the airplane’s seats.

SO… I decided to make them their own travel pillows (they might be called “neck pillows” too). They turned out even better than I had expected, was inexpensive, and they each took less than an hour to make, even for a beginner sewer like me. Want to make some too?

First, download this free travelpillow PDF pattern (my pattern is for 2T and 4T size). Print two copies, cut out, and tape together.Or, on an 8×10 paper, draw a pattern like this:

Cut on the solid line for 4T (and up) and the dotted line for about 2T (my son is 18 months and this size fits him perfectly).

Lay the pattern onto fabric (I recommend fleece). Make sure the fabric is folded in two so you get two identical pieces.

Next, pin the pattern into place.

Then cut around the pattern with fabric scissors, leaving about 1/4″ around the pattern:

When you are finished, it should look like this:

Next, take the pattern off, and turn the fabric so the right sides are facing each other, and pin.

Then sew all around the edges, making sure to leave 1/4″ seam allowance (is that what it’s called?). IMPORTANT: Leave about a 4″ opening UNSEWN so there’s a hole to put fiberfill in! Another tip: Sew slowly and carefully around the corners.

When finished, turn the pillow inside-out.

Then, fill the inside of the pillow with fiberfill (the stuff you put in pillows or stuffed animals). I bought mine at JoAnns… they were located in the pillows section. Stuff it a lot for a firm pillow and less for a soft pillow. I prefer firmer for these travel pillows.

When finished stuffing, sew the opening closed by hand using a blind stitch.

And voila! Custom travel pillows for your kiddies!

Isn’t this football fleece too cute? It was 70% off so I paid less than 2 dollars for it!

For my girly-girl:

Both of my kids LOVE their travel pillows!! I just hope the pillows help them sleep comfortably on the airplane!

How do you help your children fall asleep and sleep comfortably on long flights?

P.S. Even though I sized my daughter’s pillow to “4T”, I can use it comfortably as well. So go ahead and make one for yourself too!

P.S.S. I’ll be doing a separate post on things the kids can do on the plane while they are AWAKE. Email me if you have any great suggestions! (UPDATE: Click HERE and HERE for my blog posts on how to travel by plane with your children)


JULY 2012 UPDATE: I hate to toot  my own horn, but these pillows were a lifesaver on our long flight to Japan. Our flight was full so there wasn’t enough room for the kids to lie down, so when they wanted to sleep, they had to sleep sitting up. We put these pillows around their necks then placed blankets on either side of them to keep them from falling down, and it worked great!! Here’s the proof:

40 Responses to “Travel Pillows for Children”

  1. yseino January 17, 2012 at 2:26 PM #

    Those turned out so well! Neck pillows always help me sleep better on plane rides (and it prevents you from falling onto the person next to you when you’re asleep). I’m excited to see more posts about your trip!

    • Hiragana Mama January 17, 2012 at 4:27 PM #

      I’m debating if I should make one for myself or not!

    • Debbie February 16, 2015 at 2:29 PM #

      Thank you, thank you, thank you !!! I spent the better part of a day trying one without a pattern and they kept turning out too big !!

  2. Anne March 9, 2012 at 3:23 PM #

    These are so cute. We are taking a long flight this summer….and I am going to try to make these for my 3 kids. Thanks for the template. Hope they turn out as nicely as yours. I am not a seamstress 😦

    • Hiragana Mama March 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM #

      I’m not a seamstress either! 🙂 I hope the pillows work out for you. I’ll let you know how they work on our flight to Japan.

  3. Stephanie June 20, 2012 at 9:14 PM #

    Thanks for the template! I just made two of these for my kids and they were super easy. I’m looking forward to trying them out on a trip to the beach in a couple of weeks. Thanks again!

    • Hiragana Mama June 21, 2012 at 7:27 AM #

      Thank you so much for letting me know! I am relieved to know you thought it was easy 🙂 Have fun on your trip!

  4. Chelsea February 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM #

    This is great! I’m hosting the first ever pattern party on Friday. I’d love for you to link up! Thanks for sharing

  5. L2L May 14, 2013 at 7:49 AM #

    We will be flying to Japan at the end of June and I will be making one of these for each of my children. I love how it is flat in the back seems like it would work better in airplane seats than the ones that are curved!!!! Thanks

    • Hiragana Mama May 14, 2013 at 8:54 AM #

      Have fun in Japan! Let me know how it goes! (I designed it flat in the back because it makes more sense to me that way!:))

  6. Rachel M May 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM #

    Thank you for sharing this!!! I’m going to make these for my kids (and maybe my husband and myself, too!) for a long plane trip coming up.

    • Hiragana Mama May 24, 2013 at 8:36 PM #

      Thanks for the comment! Good luck and have fun!

  7. Lalla Jones July 10, 2013 at 5:56 AM #

    Thank you for this post and the pattern! I ended up making five pillows for my daughter, nephews, and a friend. In my daughter’s words, “Mama, it’s perfect!” They are not, but I’m glad she loves her pillow.

  8. F MacLeod-Green July 15, 2013 at 5:53 PM #

    Love your idea! I am going to make this travel pillow for my Wee Bird – we have a commercially-bought one, which is starting to look “well-loved” 🙂 but I might get towelling for one side and fleece for the other, just for the seasons (it gets very hot and humid where we live)

  9. Ksharma September 28, 2013 at 5:12 PM #

    If I bought 1/2 metre of fleece would that amount be enough?

  10. celine March 16, 2014 at 12:18 PM #

    hello, I have just made one for my 14 month old for the long walks we do when she sleeps in the backpack….Great pattern, Thank you

  11. vicky March 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM #

    Love them wanna make one for me i will have to make template bigger huh thanks

  12. MSM April 2, 2014 at 4:15 AM #

    Absolutely a great idea. Beats taking a carseat for sure! I’ll have to put those pillows on a carry-on list! Thank you!!!

  13. Jeannie January 31, 2015 at 1:30 AM #

    I’d like to make one of these for my son, he is just over 3 years old. Should I make the 4T size for him?

    • Hiragana Mama January 31, 2015 at 10:48 PM #

      I think either size would be fine! 🙂

      • Jeannie February 1, 2015 at 2:05 AM #

        Ok thank you! I think I will go with the 4T size, that way he will still be able to use it next year for our trip to Disney World 🙂

        • Jeannie February 4, 2015 at 2:43 PM #

          I made the 4t size for my son! Fits him perfectly and me as well! Thank you for this pattern/tutorial! I’m off to make myself one now! 🙂

        • Hiragana Mama February 5, 2015 at 9:15 PM #

          Oh good! Thank you so much for letting me know!

  14. SewTales August 4, 2017 at 2:11 AM #

    Thank you for the pattern! You are mentioned in my post!

  15. Sarah Gurewitz January 7, 2018 at 1:40 PM #

    Thank you! Guessing on patterns is hard. Thank you for providing an awesome pattern to follow. It looks like you have been making life easier for mommies for years. You are fantastic!

  16. The Stitch Mouse February 13, 2018 at 9:52 PM #

    Could you just cut on the fold instead of printing two pattern pages and taping them together?


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