Neck Pillow and Space Saver

I made this for my trip to Costa Rica this spring with Yobel International. We needed to travel light so we could bring supplies to and from, not to mention it was an 8 hr red eye on the way down. So, how about a pillow that, instead of taking up extra space, relieves space from my suitcase? Even better, you can make it for ALMOST NOTHING.

Travel Pillow

What you need:

  • old teeshirt (or comfortable fabric
  • sewing machine
  • travel plans

It’s pretty straight forward, just an empty neck pillow that you then fill with (comfy) items that you want to bring with you.

I’m sorry, I don’t have a pattern for yet, but I wanted to get you this idea with the holidays approaching. You can see the proportions on the teeshirt below. Also, sorry for the terrible photos… it was a crazy time and this was a late night craft.

Step 1: Fold your comfy shirt in half.

Step 2: Cut out half a neck pillow shape (but across the folded shirt it will make a full pillow)


Step 3: Sew all the edges together.

Step 4: Cut a small slit on the top (for stuffing) and flip inside out


Step 5: Stuff with clothes that you are packing!

I was able to fit all of the below in mine, it was amazing! I ended up taking a little out of the back of the neck so it was more for the sides of my head to lean on on the plane. It could be a good idea as well to put a couple undergarments in here in case of lost luggage.


The extra nice thing is that very seldom do you get told you need to fit this in your carry-on. I flew all around with it just “attached” to my carry on, which can also be great for those of you who, like me, try your hardest to never pay baggage fees! It’s really amazing how much you can fit in your “carry on and a personal item”. I’m becoming a pro.


Again, this was like a 20 minute craft, but kind of looks like it. You can easily class it up with some nice fabric and finish up the seem around the stuffing hole (terrible name…). You could also get even fancier and make the side with the slit 2 separate pieces, creating a nice overlap where you stuff so that nothing is peaking out! I’ll have to try that idea soon and give a 1 hour version to join with the 20 minute version.

8 thoughts on “Neck Pillow and Space Saver

    1. Show me when you do! I don’t typically take pillows either, but for the 8 hour red-eye it was needed, and I’m thinking “why not?” for the upcoming 6am flights I have around christmas.

    1. The one I made I think was a little big, it sometimes slid away from my neck, but I think if you just make sure it’s narrow enough it’d be perfect. The great thing about it is that you can take out some of the filling if you need to. And yes, I definitely packed a couple “extras” for if our luggage didn’t make it with us.
      The other change I’d make is to use some non-cotton fabric, especially for taking it to a place like Costa Rica. After our week on the coast in the jungle, EVERYTHING was damp, and to have the pillow dry out a little easier and not carry that damp smell would have been nice for the trip home. But, if you’re just going to a drier climate it probably wouldn’t be necessary.

    1. Not a bad idea Judy. I wanted to keep this one as simple as possible, and when I wasn’t flying everything was out of the pillow so I didn’t need to be getting things out of it on a regular basis. Just be sure not to put the zipper on the side by your neck or you pillow will become drastically less comfortable…

  1. I already have a travel pillow with a zip off pillow case. This is ingenious! I am going to take the pillow itself out and fill my pillow case with my nightgown, scarves and a few t-shirts. Thanks for this brilliant idea!

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