These little bow-tie shaped neck pillows are super for proppin’ up your noggin as you watch TV or read in bed or do a little browsing on your favorite device. They’re also great for supporting your neck while sleeping. This is one of our original designs, and it remains a perennial favorite. They have the perfect contour and softness to cradle your head and neck in comfort. In fact, this project comes with a warning: once you make one and share it with friends and family, you’ll be on the hook to make many, many more. Good thing you can finish one in under an hour.

Reactions are likely to run the gamut from “love it” to “get your own” to “gentle snoring.” If you make one for everyone, they’ll be less of a struggle.

We’ve made countless of these as gifts, and use them ourselves every night. If you like a cool, crisp pillow, use a quality 100% cotton décor fabric. If you’re looking for warm and cozy, try flannel or plush fleece. Overall, we recommend a slightly heavier fabric for the best, longest-lasting results, although our samples in quilting weight cotton have also turned out nicely.

Many people tell us how well-received this pillow is by seniors or those who must spend many hours seated or in bed. It offers therapeutic support for the neck, allowing those hard-working muscles to relax.

Despite the complex-looking shape, our bow-tie pillow is super easy to make. As mentioned above, this thoughtful gift only takes only about 30 minutes, start to finish.

The optional loop handles at either end are the perfect length to grasp and adjust the pillow into your perfect position.

Each pillow finishes at approximately 16″ with a 14″ circumference at the center and a 22″ circumference at the ends.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ½ yard* of 44″+ wide fabric per pillow – we recommend a slightly heavier décor weight, although we have made options with standard quilting weight cottons. We’ve also done successful sets in cotton sateen and plush fleece.
    NOTE: * While ½ yard is sufficient for one pillow, if you select a fabric with a large motif as we did for these samples, we recommend getting ¾ to a full yard for the very best fussy cutting options. The photo below shows how we carefully mapped out the cuts for one of our pillows.
  • ⅔ yard of ¾” to 1″ ribbon or tape per pillow; we used a twill tape in natural for this set, you could also use grosgrain ribbon, suede or even make a matching tie from the same fabric
  • ONE medium bag of premium polyester fiber fill; we used Polyfil® 100% Premium Polyester Fiberfill by Fairfield
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print FOUR copies of our Neck Pillow Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on the page to confirm your printout is the correct size. 
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
  3. Butt the four pattern pieces together, flipping over two of the four pieces, to make one bow-tie shaped pattern piece. Do NOT overlap. Tape in place.
  4. Using the assembled pattern, cut THREE pieces.
    NOTE: As mentioned above, a careful fussy cut is a good option, but also remember to pay attention to whether your fabric has nap (like fleece or suede) or any directional print to insure everything is oriented correctly.
  5. You’ll see a red ✱ on either end of your assembled pattern piece. On each of your three pieces, make a small V-shaped cut, about ⅛” in depth and width, at these two symbols. These are the points where you start/stop stitching and attach the center of your ribbon handles. While you can use a marking pencil, we’ve found this V-clip is easier to spot while sewing.
  6. Cut the ribbon/tape in half into two 12″ lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. This pillow is essentially a chubby triangle, which is helpful to keep in mind as you are assembling; you need three sides to create the correct dimension.
  2. Pin two of your three pieces of cut fabric right sides together along one side, from one V-clip to the opposite V-clip.
  3. Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch from the precise center point of the V on one side to precisely that same point on the opposite side. The other side remains open. Because of the narrow seam allowance and the curves, sew slowly to assure your stitching line is even and accurate. You might want to slightly reduce your stitch length for a smoother curve and tighter seam. For more about this technique, check out our full tutorial on Sewing Smooth Curves Every Time.
  4. Loop each 12″ length of ribbon/tape in half to form a handle, aligning the raw ends. Pin the raw ends in place at the center of each V-clip with the loop falling to the inside.
  5. Place your third fabric piece into position against one of the remaining raw edges of the original two pieces, matching all the curves and sandwiching the loops between the layers.
  6. Stitch a second seam, again from V-clip to opposite V-clip.
  7. You are starting and stopping the seam to include half of the ribbon/tape as shown below. Backstitch over the ribbon/tape to give it extra security to hold up to its job of tugging the pillow into position.
  8. Pin the two remaining raw edges together in the same manner but leave a 3″ – 4″ opening along the inner curve, as shown in the photo below, for turning right side out and inserting the filler.
  9. Stitch this third and final seam from one V-clip to the opposite V-clip. As before, remember to backstitch over the ribbon/tape for strength and remember to lock your seam at either side of the 3″ – 4″ opening.
  10. Turn the cover right side out. Use a long, blunt-end tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner, to gently round out all the curves. Pull the loops out into position at either end.
  11. Press in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  12. Stuff with filler until pleasingly plump but not so rock hard it’s uncomfortable.
  13. Pin the seam allowance at the opening …
  14. … and hand stitch closed, using tiny stitches so the filler doesn’t poke out. We suggest a slip or ladder stitch.
  15. When finished, a comfortably stuffed pillow looks about like this:

Contributors

Project Design and Instructional Outline: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

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53 Comments
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Birgitta
Birgitta
20 days ago

I have made numerous pillows with my own pattern that I lost during my last move. Finding this tutorial when I was looking for a quick pattern was a real treasure. Exactly as I had done it. It always turns out great and people LOVE the gift. My husband and I are using our own favorites every day. I can’t count how often I have thrown them into the washer – Thank you!

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
20 days ago
Reply to  Birgitta

Hi Birgitta – We’re so glad you found our pattern. It is TRULY one of the most popular. Have fun 🙂

Deb
Deb
22 days ago

I’m stuck on step 5. I had to restart with scrap fabric so I didn’t ruin the final fabric choice.

Do I lay the fabric right side down, or wrong side down on top of the two-piece sandwich I just made?

For step 6, “stitch a second seam” — on top of which seam? The first one (from step 3) or the one made in step 4?

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
22 days ago
Reply to  Deb

Hi Deb – Sorry you’re having a bit of trouble. The key to keep in mind is that you have three seams. As it says at the beginning, you’re making a “chubby triangle.” Your pieces are always sewn right sides together. Take a look at the early steps again, you are only pinning and then stitching from v-clip to v-clip for the first seam. Then, if you want loops, you place them. Then add the THIRD panel, aligning it right sides together with one side of the two pieces you just sewed. Stitch v-clip to v-clip again to create the… Read more »

Deb
Deb
19 days ago
Reply to  Liz Johnson

Thanks for replying so quickly. Yes, the 3D is messing w/ my head. With my test fabric, I had sewn the wrong edges together and it was flat so I knew it was wrong. I ended up making a paper mock-up and stapled the sides as if they were stitches. I used 3 different colored papers, and wrote R(right) and W(wrong) on each side to know which side to put down, and which sides to sew together. I then followed the steps and sewed (stapled) per the instructions. I then wrote the step # on the paper. Now I have… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by Deb
Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
19 days ago
Reply to  Deb

Yay – it sounds like you have a solution. Truth be told, what you’re describing is not too far off from what we do here when putting together our prototypes :-).

Niekol
Niekol
1 month ago

Thank you so much for the tutorial of this pillow.
My neck was hurting so much. I made the pillow and used it watching tv and for sleeping. My neck feels so much better.

Last edited 1 month ago by Niekol
Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Niekol

Hi Niekol – That is GREAT news — these little pillows are loved by so many folks!

Dawn
Dawn
1 month ago

I made this with a zipper in one side for a travel pillow. Instead of filler, it is empty. Then I can fold up a sweater, sweatshirt, something I would like to travel with if I need to change while travelling.Or works to put extra underwear, pajamas, etc, so if your luggage is lost, that night you are still “covered”. Just use soft things in it like knits, etc. I love it!

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 month ago
Reply to  Dawn

Hi Dawn – what an interesting and clever idea! Thank you so much for sharing.

Catherine Panos
Catherine Panos
1 month ago

This may be a lame question…how do you wash them?? I am looking forward to making these. I hope to hear from you in my email pls. Ty soooooo much for sharing !!
😁🙏💕💐💃
Catherine Panos

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 month ago

Hi Catherine – No lame questions! We’ve made many of these and laundered them in a standard washer and dryer…. much like you might a little stuffed animal. They key is to make sure your filler is polyester and your fabrics are washable (not sure if anyone is making these out of silk, but you never know – lol). If so, pop the pillow into the washer on a gentle cycle and tumble dry on warm (not hot). You can also simply spot clean.

Sue
Sue
5 months ago

Could you let me know where I can find the fabric that you have used to make this pillow? -Sue

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Sue

Hi Sue — this is a 2019 post for which we originally pulled fabric from our S4H Stash. It’s an older Kokka Fabrics (from Japan) print. I’m afraid we no longer have any details other than that. Kokka changes out their fabric lines pretty regularly so it is unlikely to still be readily available.

Sue
Sue
5 months ago
Reply to  Sue

Thank you for your quick response, Liz. I have used this pattern and made a pillow for my friend for her birthday gift. She was very happy with it and told me she can finally sleep through the nights. Thank you thank you.-Sue

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Sue

You’re so welcome. Great to hear about your friend’s relaxation!!

Teri
Teri
6 months ago

This pattern is absolutely brilliant and you really can stitch up a pillow in about 30 minutes. I made one using a scrap of luxe fleece and I love it! The fabric is super soft so it’s perfect to use for a neck pillow and I know that there will be many places I can use it. These pillows will make outstanding gifts and I already have a second one in progress. Many thanks for a terrific project!

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
6 months ago
Reply to  Teri

Hello Teri – Wonderful news! We’ve made them in fleece and minky before and they are, indeed, SO soft and comfortable. We’re happy to know you are making more to share.

Marianne
Marianne
7 months ago

What a wonderful project…made one for myself and my husband tried it and asked me to make him one (a first!). The pattern/instructions are clear and the result is cute, useful and comfortable, Thanks so much for sharing,

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
7 months ago
Reply to  Marianne

Hi Marianne – Thank you so much. These little guys are so all-around popular! I love stories like yours!

Charlee Powell
Charlee Powell
1 year ago

Thank you so much. I love this design. I have chronic neck problems and use neck pillows EVERYWHERE.

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlee Powell

Hi Charlee – Thank you so much! We’re glad to know you’ve had such great success with our pillow!

stephanie
stephanie
1 year ago

Thank you-Love this pattern!Made one yesterday for my husband out of his old BDU pants – to go with the BDU quilt I made him for our anniversary.
I will definitely be making a lot more of these!

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  stephanie

Hi Stephanie – what a perfect pair!! He’s going to love it.

M S
M S
1 year ago

Love this pattern! Made this pillow for a friend and now my husband wants one. I also made one for my Auntie who lives about 40 miles away. What is the best way to send this to her, please? Is there a particular USPS pkg prepaid supply available for this type and size?

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  M S

Hi M S — so sorry, but we’ve not shipped these anywhere, so I don’t have a specific recommendation for you. I’d measure your finished pillow and see if you can see any box sizes on the USPS website that could work for you. The good news is that it should be quite lightweight – either using your own box or one of theirs :-).

Tara
Tara
1 year ago

Fantastic! Thank you!

Diane
Diane
1 year ago

.Thank you SOOO much for this pattern! I have been looking, literally, for years for this pattern.

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane

Ahhhh, Thanks Diane! This is one of our most popular projects by far. Enjoy!

Claudia
Claudia
1 year ago

Thank you for this pattern. I made one for my stepdaughter (in Portland, by the way) who is undergoing chemo. She really appreciates it and reports that she is now able to nap on the couch without getting a crick in her neck. I stuffed it with shredded memory foam; because the memory foam isn’t really washable I made a pillowcase for it, with an opening at the bottom for the loop and snaps to close up the top and still allow the loop out.

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Claudia

Hi Claudia – What a perfect gift for your stepdaughter! Thanks for letting us know – and for sharing your memory-form-in-a-pillowcase option.

Julie
Julie
1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this pattern. Its been an absolute hit with my family and friends.

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Julie

Hi Julie – thanks for letting us know. These little pillows are definitely in out Top 10 most popular projects ever 🙂

Zulma
Zulma
1 year ago

I made one to try and it is a success in our home! My kids are requesting one, I was thinking to print the patter to 85%, but wanted to ask if someone has made it. Both my kids are under 8 yo. Thank you!

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Zulma

Hi Zumla — So glad the pillow is a hit. It is a super popular pattern. We haven’t tested it at the smaller size, but it should work for you. Let us know.

Julie
Julie
1 year ago
Reply to  Zulma

I accidentally printed one at 85% and sewed it anyway. It works perfectly as well.

Dori Johns
Dori Johns
1 year ago

How kind of you to create and share this wonderful pattern and tutorial! Thank you so very much. 🙂

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Dori Johns

Hi Dori – This is indeed one of our most popular patters ever 🙂 – Let us know how yours turns out.

Flora May Kercheval
Flora May Kercheval
1 year ago

This is an amazing pattern. Thank you for sharing.

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago

Hi Flora May – Thank you so much. It’s one of our most popular patterns ever. Have fun with it and let us know how your pillow(s) turn out.

cassatina
cassatina
2 years ago

This pillow is amazing!!! I This pillow is amazing!!! I made one of them years ago for a fried. He really loves it. Now I need your help. I forgot how much stuffing I put in. Could you please tell me how much is “one medium size polyfill bag” in grams? 🙂 Over here in Germany you can choose among several packages but all of them are sold by weight. I HATE shopping online and that is why I support local shops (as long as they wil be there…. how knows?). Could you please help me? Thank you so much… Read more »

Ajscreations2
Ajscreations2
2 years ago

I made one for a lady for a

I made one for a lady for a present… easy and fast to sew up. I didn’t add the elastic tho… thanks for sharing

Rochelle @ eSheep Designs
Rochelle @ eSheep Designs
2 years ago

I’d like to say great minds

I’d like to say great minds think alike, but I had no part in creating this pattern, so I can’t. That said, I coincidentally featured my take on this item on my blog this week. I recycled an old microbead pillow to use as part of the stuffing and love how it turned out.

Thanks for the inspiring project!

Patty
Patty
1 year ago

I just made one of these pillows and really love it. I was wondering how this could be made with a removable cover! Has anyone tried this? Zipper or Velcro?

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Patty

Hi Patty – so glad to hear you are loving the pillow. It really is one of our top faves of all time. It is indeed meant to be spot cleaned although the entire pillow can also be tossed into the wash. So, we’ve not experimented with a cover. In general, with all the seaming – and to get a nice tight fit, Velcro within one of the center seams, perhaps the last seam, might be your best bet.

Claudia
Claudia
1 year ago
Reply to  Patty

I stuffed one with shredded memory foam, which you can’t toss in the wash, so I made a pillowcase for it.

Lynn
Lynn
5 months ago
Reply to  Patty

This is an old conversation but letting you know that I made a zipped cover for my neck pillow. I put a zipper (shorter than the piece I will cut) into a piece of the fabric before it’s ever cut. Once I’ve inserted the zipper, I lay my pattern over that zippered fabric (I usually adjust it so that the zipper seam is between the middle area of the pillow and the seam of the pillow). This becomes one of the three sides (with a zipper offset into it). Then I sew it per the instructions (leave the zipper slightly… Read more »

Liz Johnson
Admin
Liz Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Lynn

Hi Lynn — thank you for weighing in on how you you handled adding a zipper.

Nancy Rose
Nancy Rose
5 months ago
Reply to  Lynn

Hi, Lynn, I’d really love to see a photo of your zipped cover! njrose1000@gmail.com

Rhonda Moats
Rhonda Moats
3 months ago
Reply to  Lynn

Hi Patty,
I’d love to see a photo of your bone pillow with added zipper. Thanking you in advance.

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