A neck pillow is a small U-shaped pillow used to support the head and neck. Travelers often pack one for air or car trips when they expect to sleep in a sitting position. They are also used for orthopedic purposes or simply for lounging on a sofa. They fit comfortably around the back of the neck with the open end in front, thus preventing the head from slipping into an uncomfortable and possibly harmful position while sitting or sleeping. U-shaped neck pillows are also used to relieve stress and relax the neck and spine. You can find a wide variety of neck pillows from those filled with fiberfill offering a softer pillow to rice-stuffed pillows conforming to the shape of your neck, but it is much cheaper and quite simple to make your own u-shaped pillow. Depending on your personal choice you can make your U-shaped neck pillow from cotton, muslin or jersey, or use a slightly stretchy material such as fleece for a rice-stuffed pillow.
Cutting the Fabric
Fold your fabric in half, with the right sides together and draw a U-shape that is slightly bigger than the size of your finished neck pillow. You can find various patterns in special pillow design books or online. If you prefer to use foam, place it on your fabric and draw a line all around that is roughly 2 inches bigger than the pillow.
Sewing the Pieces
After cutting both layers of fabric as neatly as possible with a sharp pair of scissors, sew them together leaving an opening in the outer edge of the U-shape. If you want foam stuffing for your U-shaped neck pillow, leave a larger opening, about 3 inches long.
Without cutting through the stitching, make small slits in the seam around the curved edges. This will make it easier to turn the pillow right-side-out, and will also ensure the edges of the neck pillow are smooth.
Stuffing the Pillow
After turning the pillow right-side-out, insert the foam, rice or fiberfill stuffing. Pack in the filling until the pillow is firm, leaving about an inch of space at the opening. If you prefer to use a rice fill in your neck pillow, mix some white rice with some fragrant herbs, such as crushed cinnamon bark or lavender.
Tucking in the Rough Edges
Tuck the rough edges of the pillow inward and pin them together, so they are not visible. Stitch back and forth from one edge to the other until the opening is closed. Remember to tie off your thread with a good knot so it will not open later. Make a double seam for a rice-filled neck pillow to prevent the rice grains from leaking out.