Travel Neck Pillow Cover

Sarah and I are planning a fabulous Mother/Daughter holiday next year to Paris so our mind is filled with travel related projects. I spotted travel pillow covers made by Anna over at Thimbelanna for her recent trip which inspired some new covers for our travel pillows.

The first cover I made was a craft fail. It fit the neck pillow perfectly but I forgot to take into consideration that the neck pillow is filled with polystyrene balls that mould to your neck and are nice and squidgy  My well fitted cover did not allow the balls to move so it was as hard as a rock! Not want you want on a long haul flight. In hindsight, using a stretch fabric would have been better but I really wanted to use fabric that I already had in my stash. The next version worked so much better but is not as pretty due to the slightly baggy cover required. I think of it more as a pillow case for your neck pillow. At least the colour is better and it can be easily removed for laundering.

If you would like to make your own, here are some general instructions showing the process. You will need to check the size of your travel neck pillow and adjust accordingly. Our travel pillows are approximately 12 inches (from top to bottom) and 13 inches wide.


  • 2 fat quarters or 1/2 yard (0.5 m) of quilting cotton
  • 5 inches of ribbon
  • 10 inch (25 cm) zip
1. Cut fabric so that you have three rectangles measuring:
  • 16 1/2 x 13 inches (pillow cover front)
  • 16 1/2 x 9 inches (pillow cover back)
  • 16 1/2 x 5 1/4 inches (pillow cover back)
2. Pin the Zipper to the middle of the larger back piece, with the wrong side of the zipper facing upwards (as photographed). Using your zipper foot, stitch in place.
3. Pin the other side of the zipper to the small back piece and stitch in place (as photographed).
4. With the right side of the back cover facing upwards, fold the fabric above the zipper so that it overlaps the zipper by 1 inch. Press. (Refer to photographs).
5. Stitch this overlap in place, by stitching closing to the edge on either end of the zipper, and then stitch around the zipper as photographed in the last image.

6. Pin the front and back of the cover together with the right sides facing and the zipper opened. Position the pillow on top of the fabric. Squish it down as flat as you can whilst tracing around it, leaving 1/2 inch -1 inch clearance.
7. Fold the ribbon in half, and pin to the top of the pillow, between the two layers. Stitch around the traced outline. Pop the pillow inside the cover to check the fit. If you are satisfied with the fit, stitch around the outline a second time for reinforcement. Then trim away the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Clip curves.
8. Turn the cover out the right way and press.

Now we will have fresh covers for our travel pillows.

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  1. Rosemary says

    I didn’t see version 1, but why didn’t you put the zipper in the seam-just curious? Was it more difficult due to the shape of the pillow? I recently made foam covered chair cushions which required the seam on the curve around the back. I did that first before assembling the rest of the cushion so it was not difficult. It’s just that that pillow in that place looks awkward.

    • A Spoonful of Sugar says

      The travel pillow I covered was very “squishy” and it needed quite a bit of adjustment to get a good fit. It the cover fitted too well, there was no room for the pillow to bulge and you lost some of the comfort. (Hope that makes sense!). Also I wanted the zipper to be away from my neck as if the seam shifted position, it may rub during a long flight. I am sure it would work equally well in the seam.

  2. Arcie says

    Instead of sewing a cover for my neck pillow, I just purchased a pair of men’s tube socks. You may stitch the ends closed or just tie the ends with a piece of ribbon. Remove and launder when needed.

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