Comfortable road trip car pillow

DIY Seatbelt Pillow

Hi! Stephanie from Swoodson Says, and I have a really easy DIY seatbelt pillow tutorial that's perfect for car road trips. It's made from fleece, which is perfect to personalize for kids and completely machine washable – you can use up the small scraps from this project and make a fun car activity for kids too! The little pocket can hold a phone or an ipod, so it doesn't get stuck in the seat cushion.

As always, please use your own discretion in terms of safety – I've seen these used with car seats and boosters but be sure to check your manual to make sure you don't void any warranties!


  • (2) 4.5″ Velcro strips
  • 1/4 yard of 57″ wide fleece (perfect for raiding the remnant bin!)
  • Poly-fill or other stuffing
  • Coordinating thread, machine, scissors, hand sewing needle

Cut fleece rectangles:

  • (2) 26″ X 6″
  • (1) 9.5″ X 6″
  • (4) 6.5″ X 3.5″


step 1

1. Take the 9.5″ X 6″ piece and turn down a short end 1″ to the wrong side, hem. This forms the pocket.

step 2

2a. Take each 6.5″ X 3.5″ piece and fold in half,  sew with 1/4″ seam allowance along one short side down the open long side, leaving the second short end open.

2b. Trim the seam allowance down, turn right side out, and sew the Velcro piece on. Repeat for all four tabs.

step 3

3. Lay one of the long pieces right side up and baste the pocket's 3 raw edges on to the bottom, leaving the top open.

step 4

4. Layer the Velcro tabs on top of one another to make two gripped pairs and baste them about 4 inches away from the short ends, on the right side of the second long piece. Leave about an inch hanging off each side (hold on to this while basting so it stays straight).

step 5

5. Place each long piece right sides together and sew with 1/4″ seam allowance (I used my serger for sturdiness but this isn't required). Leave a 2 inch opening to turn right side out, stuff firmly, stitch to close (I used a ladder stitch).

Seatbelt Pillow Tutorial

Voila! No more neck pain or headaches when you take a nap in the car.

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I'm Stephanie and I blog at about sewing and crafts for myself & my toddler son. I love upcycling, using up scraps,  and having the freedom to make what I can't find or afford in stores. I spend way too much time online - you can connect with me on twitter/pinterest/facebook/instagram !


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43 Responses to Comfortable road trip car pillow

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  6. Phyllis Ann Naecker (@jn66355) says:

    The best idea since sliced bread!!!!! Phyllis Naecker

  7. Alisa says:

    I’m curious as to how this holds the head up? I made my daughter one and her head slides down the pillow and she still slumps forward. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks

  8. Cat says:

    Made this today. Simple and fun. I made mine a little longer because I am tall. Thanks

  9. Rosalyn says:

    Is there a printable pattern. I’ve looked all over for about 30 min and can’t find anything to print, and I can’t lug my desktop upstairs to my sewing area. any suggestions

    • Rhonda R says:

      use print
      Also 1/4 yard (9″ x 57″) is not quite enough. Fortunately, I purchased 1/2 yd to make 2 which will just barely work.

  10. Diane Bacon says:

    A quarter yard is only 9″. If you need 12″ you need 1/3 yard.

  11. Sherry says:

    Quarter yard by 57 inches….?

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  13. Molly Musante says:

    I bought a quarter yard of 6 different fleeces to make 6 of these and I can’t figure out how to cut all the pieces that are needed from a quarter of a yard. Can someone please help me.

    • Tracy says:

      You need a quarter yard. 12″ is the minimum.

    • Maureen Carter says:

      Take your ¼ yard, which is 12” of fabric and with it still folded in half the way it comes on the bolt, lay it down on a table in front of you with the selvedge edges together on the right hand side, and the fold along the left hand side. With it folded this way it will be 12″ from top to bottom and approx. 28.5″ wide because it is still folded in half.
      Measure 6” in toward the middle from the top or bottom edge in 3-5 places and put a light mark with a pencil or pen.
      Use a yardstick laid across the fabric from left to right along the markings you made, draw a line across with pencil or pen and cut on that line (or if you have a rotary cutter just cut across on that line with your cutter against the yard stick while firmly holding the yardstick in place so it doesn’t move off the line). this will result in turning your 12″ tall piece into two 6” tall x 28.5″ long strips/pieces.
      Still keep each of the strips folded like they came off the bolt. Trim just the selvedge edge off of one of the strips. Measure 26” in from the selvedge edge in toward the folded edge, and draw a vertical line (north to south direction line) at the 26” mark and then cut on that line. This gives you two strips that are 26” x 6”. You will have one scrap (where this strip was folded in half) that is too small for any of the other parts you need.
      You should still have one more long strip that measures 6” tall x approx. 57”. Open this long strip up. Trim just the selvedge edge off one end of this long strip.
      Measure 9.5” from the edge where you cut off the selvedge in to the left toward the middle and make a vertical line, and cut on the line. This gives you the one rectangle that is 6″ tall x 9.5” wide.
      With the long strip that is left, measure in (from right to left) 6.5 inches from the right hand edge toward the middle and make a vertical line and cut on that line. This will give you a rectangle that is 6” tall x 6.5” long. Set that one aside for now, but do this same measurement of 6.5” in from the right hand edge 3 more times so you will have 4 of these rectangles that are 6” tall x 6.5” wide.
      Measure 2.5” in from that top or bottom of the side that is 6” tall, and make a line. Double check before you cut on that line, making sure you measured so after it is cut it will give you a rectangle that is 3.5” tall and 6.5” in the other direction (from left to right) and you will have a scrap leftover from each of these 4 rectangles that is 2.5″ tall x 6.5″ wide.
      Now you have all of your parts needed from ¼ of a yard of 57” wide fleece.

      • Linda G says:

        Please be aware that 1/4 yard is not 12″, it is 9″ of length on fabric (36/4 = 9). If you are using the measurements and layout for a 12″ length, make sure you have 1/3 of a yard (36/3 = 12). As Demetria suggested (below), it is probably best to cut out the rectangles in paper and lay them out to determine the amount of yardage you will need for the width of the fabric you have available. Fleece widths vary from product to product. If you choose to use a different fabric, it will have a different layout and yardage requirement.

    • Demetria says:

      If the 1/4 yard of fleece you have is only 45 inches wide then I’m not sure if it will work the same. It would have helped if they had used that standard width of fabric or showed a cutting diagram for the 14 1/4 x 57 inches of fabric that they did use. My suggestion would be to cut paper sheets to the sizes that you need (Sort of like sewing patterns) & arrange them on the fabric till you’re happy with arrangement. HOPE THAT HELPS.

  14. NanaJ says:

    I have made 5 of these for adults and kids. Working on my 6th one today. Super easy and loved by all.

    • Molly says:

      To the people who made these ….how much fleece did you buy?You cannot do it with a quarter of a yard.

    • Tracy Thayer says:

      Hi NanaJ I am wanting to attempt this for our road trip to Disney… there are so many comments on what the correct measurements are. I am certainly not a seamstress… Would you be able to give me your version of the instructions and measurements? I am looking to make at least 3. If not I understand. Thank you

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  16. Deborah James says:

    Looks great I,m going to give it a go.

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  18. Diana Carter says:

    I love this idea! Making them for my grandbabies that are front facing, as well as my daughter-in-law for their 5 1/2 hour road trip home to visit. I have seen too may pictures of my grandbaby slumped over in her car seat. This was an easy project. The only thing I did different is I left the two ends open, stuffed in the cotton batting, then hand stitched the ends shut. Love that it even has the phone pocket! Thanks for the great, and new to me idea! One happy Grandma

  19. Ann Byrd says:

    This may be a stupid question, but I am somewhat confused about where you put the seat belt in relation to the velcro pieces! Do you run the belt through the velcro to hold it in place? ??? Please clear this up for me! Thanks so much!!
    Ann Byrd

    • Diana Carter says:

      You velcro the pillow around the seatbelt Ann Byrd. There are actually 4 straps with velcro on them. Two for each end.

  20. Wendy K. Harrison says:

    I’m the one who usually does all the driving in our home but on the odd times my husband gets behind the wheel, I’m out like a light in minutes lol. Because I can’t stand anything hugging my neck, the standard travel pillows aren’t for me – but this really is! I made one just prior to the beginning of camping season this spring and I absolutely LOVE it!! The moment we returned from our first RV trip, I immediately made myself another one out some of that very aptly named “snuggle fleece” (my hubby then inherited the first one lol). I especially love the little pocket – I wear my earbuds & use my iPod to drown out the hubby’s horrendous taste in music (lol) but it usually ends up on the floor of the truck while I’m sleeping…not any more!
    Thanks so much for this one 😀

  21. Fiona says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. It was quick and easy to put together and my daughter absolutely loves it. I will be making more!

  22. Barbara Curtin says:

    I see it’s demonstrated on a backseat seat belt. Have you tried it on the seat belt in the front seat (passenger side, of course)?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Barbara, I can’t see why you couldn’t/wouldn’t use on the front passenger seat. Probably best to avoid the driver’s side..

  23. Gaelle says:

    Great idea! I’m french and we use centimeters…can you confirm that you talk about inches? Before I start calculating the instructions in the wrong unit… 🙂
    Thank you!

  24. Hannah says:

    Omg what a great idea!

  25. Ann Byrd says:

    What a great idea…way to go!!!

  26. Barbara Pedraza says:

    Great idea for even short trips . Kids tend to get sleepy even on trips to the store.

  27. Wonderful idea for long trips…….

  28. vicky myers says:

    My kids are always moaning about stiff necks on long car journeys- this is perfect:)

  29. Lori M. says:

    Great little tutorial…This will come in quite handy this summer……

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