Skip to Content

Kid’s travel pillow sewing tutorial

Sharing is caring!

travel size pillow cover

If holiday travel is in your future, I have the perfect fast gift to sew for you! I used one of JOANN’s adorable fleece prints for this kid’s travel pillow sewing tutorial. I’m excited to share that I’m collaborating with them to share this project. That means they compensated me for my materials and my time, but of course I only share products & stores that I already use and love, and all opinions are my own. With a handy pocket to store a book and a little handle for dragging along, I think it will be well received by any kiddo, and they are so fast to sew! There are a zillion prints to choose from which makes it easy to pick one that fits each kid’s personality.

Please note: this is sewn and written for fleece, which does not fray and has a touch of stretch. I have not tried it in quilting cotton; if you sew it as is, you will have a raw cotton edge and raw seams that would fray longterm if you’re washing it frequently. An easy fix to this would be to encase those raw seams with a single fold bias binding – maybe at some point in time I’ll rework this in cotton but proceed knowing those terms 🙂

kid travel sewing project

We got a chance to test this out on a 13 hour road trip to Florida recently! I actually borrowed it for a nap, and I fully endorse it as a travel pillow for adults too. The fleece makes it “cozy” but this pattern would work with woven or knits as well.

sewing kid size pillow case

The handle lets it slid on to a suitcase, or be carried over a little shoulder (or, fair warning, used to whip it at a sibling, ha!)

A small stuffed animal and book fit in just right, which is what we let them take on the road anyways! Otherwise we’d be buried under all their favorite stuffed friends.

Isn’t this print adorable? We have been all about castle, knights, unicorns, and dragons lately so I knew they would love it.  I ordered the supplies online when I was thinking about them and picked them up in store, it was so simple. I appreciate that my kids still fit in a cart there, it makes it much easier to shop!

diy kid pillowcase cover sewing

It is sewn envelope style, so no zippers to worry about, and great for beginners! Ready to make your own?

Pin this kid’s travel pillow sewing tutorial for later using this link or collage photo:

See how to sew a travel pillowcase in this easy fleece sewing project. Photo tutorial with travel pillow dimensions - sew one up with a handle and pocket, perfect for traveling with kids. #sewing

Kid’s travel pillow sewing tutorial



**Over time I’ve heard some comments it is hard to follow with this fabric, so I sewed up a quick second sample with different fabric, and added more step out photos**

sewing pillow handle collage

Step 1- Cut a rectangle 11″ tall by 3″ wide, fold it in half length-wise, right sides together and sew down the open long side. Turn it right side out and top stitch along both long edges, forming the strap.

pillow tutorial

Step 2- Cut 1 rectangle of fleece 14″ long X 12″ tall. Cut another rectangle 14″ long X 9″ tall and hem one long side with 1″ hem, single folded. Layer the hemmed rectangle, right side up, on top of the 14″ long X 12″ tall rectangle, right side up, and sew along all 3 edges with a basting (long) stitch (shown above).

pillow tutorial step 3

Step 3- With the same 14″long X 12″tall rectangle in step 2, hem the right, short side with 1″ hem, single folded. Just showing how everything lays in the bottom photo!

handle pillow tutorial

Step 3- Cut a rectangle 16″ long X 12″ tall and lay it facing right side up. Sew the handle on, centered and tucked down, away from the edge, as shown.

envelope pillow layering steps

Step 4.1- Cut another rectangle 12″ long X 7.5″ tall.

4.2- Lay down the rectangle with the attached handle facing right side up, and then the rectangle with the hemmed pocket facing right side down.

4.3-Layer the 12″ long  X 7.5″ tall rectangle on top (this is the rectangle you see on the top, to the right, in the photo). No need to hem its edge because we are using fleece; fleece doesn’t fray and the edge will be hidden.

4.4-Clip around the entire rectangle and sew around all 4 sides with 1/4″ seam allowance.

Step 5- Clip the corners off, turn right side out through the envelope opening, push the corners out with a pen and your pillow is ready!

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Deborah W.

Friday 16th of February 2024

The links to the travel pillow and JoAnn's fabric do not work?


Friday 13th of May 2022

I think step number two is missing information. The left side of the pocket is left unfinished.


Sunday 3rd of July 2022

Thank you. I’m wondering about the 12x7.5” piece. Should it be 12” tall and 7.5” long if the fabric is dimensional, the fabric would be sideways, right? I love this pattern and have made them for all my nieces and they love them. They make amazing gifts. 💓💓

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 15th of May 2022

Chrissy, you're right! I feel awful about this, but I recently re-took more step out photos and fixed everything up. My sincere apologies.

Diana gardner

Thursday 10th of March 2022

I'm with Linda. I'm stuck on the final layering protocol. I can' t figure out how this goes together. Please help!

Chrissy Bouschor

Friday 22nd of April 2022

@Stephanie - Swoodson Says, when I flip mine right side out the left edge of the pocket piece is not hemmed like yours in the picture. It seems like maybe step 2 needs one more part?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Friday 11th of March 2022

Hi Diana! I'm so sorry, I had it on my list to take alternate photos with two-sided fabric and then had some family/health issues crop up and forgot. I'm going to try and do this tomorrow to help.

Sharon Stringer

Thursday 24th of December 2020

I love the pattern, very useful and creative! Question about the pocket on the front. Instructions say to run a basting stitch around 3 remaining edges - but this leaves a raw edge on the side that goes over the flap and it looks unfinished. The photo looks like it's hemmed on the side over the flap. Did I miss something?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 24th of December 2020

Hi Sharon! I've realized that this pattern is harder to follow than I intended because fleece doesn't have a clear "wrong" side; but I wrote it for fleece so those edges can stay raw inside. I'm thinking I might revisit it with a different fabric in the new year so it is easier to follow! It's hard without seeing a photo of where you're at, but I'm wondering if with the two "envelope" pieces that overlap you put the wrong one down first? There should not be any raw edges visible once you've sewn it all together and turned it right side out.

Linda H.

Friday 24th of April 2020

I’m not understanding the layering of the 12”x7 1/2” piece to sew in for the envelope of the pillow. By the directions, I’d have a flap but the side would be sewn up. How do you layer it with the two large rectangles?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 10th of May 2020

Hi Linda, I'm so sorry, this got stuck in my blog's spam filter. Did you get this figured out? I know it was a while ago :(

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!