Sunday, March 10, 2013

Seat Belt Pillow Tutorial

My family and I are gearing up for a rather long car ride and in order to make it more comfortable, I was thinking of getting some travel pillows.  I looked online and I found these great pillows that attach to the seat belt so you can just lean over and be cozy.  Unfortunately, they were $25 + shipping!  If I wanted two, that'd be over $50!  Crazy!  So, being crafty like most crafty people are, I said to myself, "I can totally make that." So here is my tutorial for the awesome SEAT BELT PILLOW.  Enjoy! :)

First, I wanted to make these washable so I actually made a pillow and then I made a pillowcase with a zipper.  You can choose to do this or just make one pillow and stuff it and move on with your life.  I was just thinking that and stuff.  
Secondly, these are not crash tested or DOT approved or anything like that.  I just wanted to make a pillow for the kids.  If you choose to make one, you do so at your own risk.  (I can't believe I have to write that crap)
Here's a closer look at the back of the pillow.  It has a velcro flap that encases the seat belt.  You can also see the zipper going up the long side of it.

Materials needed:
1/2 yard scrap fabric for pillow (I used leftover muslin I had around)
1/2 nice fabric for pillow case (I used fleece)
12-14in. invisible zipper
velcro (I used 1" wide and a 10" strip but that's just because that's what I had on hand)
polyester fiberfill- again I used what I had on hand but I'd say you'd use a fair amount to get it nice and firm
seam ripper (for the zipper insertion)

Ready, Set, Go!
First you have to make your pattern piece.  I just did this on the fabric itself because I'm kinda lazy like that.  I didn't even iron the lining fabric because who's going to see it?  LOL
 Crappy picture, I agree but I made a large 7.  You can make it whatever size you want but I just arbitrarily made it 16" along the top and 21" down the side.  It was 7" wide. Cut 2.

Ta-da!  I just cut it out and sewed around it.  MAKE SURE TO LEAVE A HOLE TO FLIP IT RIGHT-SIDE OUT!
Here it is all flipped and stuffed. I just sewed up the hole (black thread) on the sewing machine.
Now let's do the pillow case!
Cut out 2 more 7-shapes on your cover fabric.  (do this by folding the fabric over itself so you  have a front and a back 7) With right sides together mark (with pins) where you want your zipper to be on the LONG side of the 7:

REMOVE THE ZIPPER but leave the pins there.
Starting at the top sew a normal stitch until you get to the first pin.  Do a few back stitches then change to a basting stitch. ( a really long stitch) Baste all the way down to the other pin that denotes the end of the zipper.  Again, switch to your regular stitch.  Back stitch a little then continue to the end of the side.

Put the zipper back ON THE SEAM ALLOWANCES ONLY, with the zipper facing down.  Sew each side of the zipper on to each seam allowance.   A little tricky at first, but super cool.  

Once you have sewn on the zipper, close the seam allowance at the top and bottom of the zipper by sewing perpendicular to the seam.  That way no stitches will show.  I, of course, was having some camera issues at this point so I don't have a better picture.  :( 

Flip the cover to the right side and then rip out your basting stitches.  Like magic, the zipper will appear,  but no stitches will be seen!  Awesome! 

At this point, it's important to UNZIP the zipper a few inches.  Set the pillowcase aside.

Now, lets work on the velcro! Cut 2 pieces of your cover fabric 6x11.  On the RIGHT side on one piece, apply the ROUGH strip of velcro on the side.  

Now place your other piece of cover fabric over top, right sides together and sew up the top, the side with the velcro and the bottom.  Turn.

**Here's the tricky part. You need to visualize which side of your child the seat belt goes over- you can have a regular 7 or a backward 7 depending on which side of the car they sit on.  We have "places" in our car so each child sits in their own spot all the time.  If you can visualize this, the cover needs to be attached to the INSIDE side of the 7.  So, I suggest you put your pillow case out in front of you the way it will be worn on the child (right sides out) and then figure out where the placement of the coverpiece should be. It should be placed on the BACK of the INSIDE (opposite the zipper) of the 7.  Once you figure out which side of the pillowcase the cover should be attached to, BASTE it on (RIGHT side of 7).  (this is in case you screw it up anyway- which I did.  It was a lot easier to take out this way!)

When you think you've got the cover on right and it is basted on, then you can figure out your placement for the soft part of the velcro.  Mark it on the 7 with pins and then sew it on.  I actually sewed around the perimeter and then zig-zagged down the middle on both parts of the velcro. 

Almost done!  Now we just sew the whole thing together.  Make sure your zipper is slightly unzipped!!!  Align the 7s, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and sew up the remaining sides (sandwiching the velcro cover in the middle).  Turn rightside out through the zipper hole.  Shove in the pillow form that we made hours ago and zip up your pillowcase.  Place in vehicle and enjoy the peaceful snoring sounds of your children.  :)


  1. lol - less than a year between posts and it's a useful one too! I may have to try this - for myself!!!!!

    1. Aww! Thank for reading! ;) If you do decide to do it, just round the edges a little. I did on the pillow form and forgot on the case so it's a little pointy. And, of course you gotta share when you do it!

  2. Hi,
    My name is Rini and I am from Singapore. Do you sell these pillows? Firstly they don't sell these pillows here and secondly, I don't own a sewing machine as I don't know how to sew. Maybe because I never liked sewing and I will end up pricking and bleeding myself everytime.
    That is why i was wondering if you sell these pillows. You need not stuff them for shipping to Singapore as they are easily found here. You could jus sell the inner and outer sewn fabric with a small hole for stuffing.
    Just a thought and hoping that you do sell... Thank you.

  3. Hi you came up on my Pinterest search for seat belt pillows. I'm gonna make some for the grand kids this Christmas. I was wondering how the velcro has held up? Do they do around and have you made any adult pillows? Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. Hi! I'm going to make one of these for our upcoming road trip. I made a straight line seatbelt pillow already for my daughter, and I thought I'd make this suggestion: I made mine with snaps instead of velcro (but you could still use velcro, but just with straps), and sewed straps into the side seams so that it can be used facing either direction. If you did it with this pattern, you wouldn't have to decide which "direction" you wanted it to face (or which side of the car it would be used on). Just a thought! Thanks for this tutorial. I will absolutely be adapting it to make some this week.

  5. Thank you for giving us this idea. Wish these were around when we did our traveling with our children.