So you’ve booked yourself a ticket out of this place, huh? Good for you! I’m sure you’ve made a list of things you need to arrange before you travel and essentials you need to pack. One thing you may not have thought of is a neck pillow for that long flight/drive/cruise/what-have-you. But before you resign yourself to picking up a cheap polyester squishy thing from the convenience store, why not spend a bit of time making your own unique travel companion? Plus, you can finally put those scraps of material that have been building up in the corner of your room to good use.
– scraps of cotton fabric – the more prints, the merrier!
– one piece of cotton fabric (something nice as this will be the back of your pillow) – 38 x 50cm
– one piece of any type of fabric for the lining (can be polyester) – 38 x 50cm
– medium bag of polyester stuffing
– sewing machine
– needle and thread
– rotary cutter, ruler and mat
– iron and ironing board
1. Download and print out this pdf pattern. Make sure the printer setting is at 100% scale – you can check to make sure the size is correct by lining up a ruler against the Test Square when it’s printed. Cut out both pieces and use tape to stick them together where the arrows are pointing. Grab your backing fabric and line the pattern against the fold, pin and cut it out. You should now have a nice big jelly bean.
2. Do the same thing again with your plain fabric. You should now have two big jelly beans.
3. Now we start the scrapworking. The first piece of fabric you use will be built up around it so make it something that has at least five edges. There are no rules whatsoever with this process. As long as you use your rotary cutter and ruler to keep all your edges straight it doesn’t matter what shapes you use.
4. Start along the longest edge of your first piece and cut a scrap that’s slightly longer than it (because you can easily trim down any excess fabric). Pin the good sides of the fabrics together and sew. I used a 1cm seam allowance for this entire project.
5. IRON IRON IRON! You will learn to love the iron! After every single time you sew a piece on, you need to iron it. Trust me. I’m only telling you this for your own good.
6. Continue sewing scraps around the edges of the starting piece, like a spiral. You can trim basically anything you want along the way. Be random. Create new shapes as you go along! You’ll find that the larger the piece becomes, the bigger scraps you will need. An easy way to get around this is to create new larger pieces with smaller scraps.
7. I ended up making two half jelly beans with my scraps and then joined them together afterwards. To make sure I wasn’t sewing more than I needed to, I used one of the pieces I had cut in the first two steps and kept checking along the way that I was keeping to the right shape.
8. For the left side, I sewed the scraps in a clockwise direction and for the right side I sewed around in an anti-clockwise direction. But, in all honesty, it really doesn’t matter what you do because the less it makes sense, the better!
9. Now that you have your third jelly bean cut and looking beautiful, pin it to the lining piece. The reason we do this step is so when we add the stuffing, the lining keeps it smooth. I used the edge of the foot as the seam allowance for this one.
10. Get your backing fabric and place it face up with the scrapworked side. Pin them together and sew, but leave a gap of a couple of inches along the top for the stuffing.
11. Turn the pillow the right way out and give it one final iron. This will be the last iron, I promise. Grab the stuffing and go nuts. The firmer you make it, the better because it will soften over time. If you think you’ve got enough stuffing in it, you’re probably wrong. Get a ruler and jab at it to make sure it’s properly stuffed right to the edges.
12. Get out your needle and thread, do a ladder stitch to close it up and you are ready to travel in style! Bon voyage!
See more of Phebe’s fantastic work over here.