Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Neck Bone Pillow

A while back, I was riding in my Mom's car and I was using her neck bone pillow she always kept there for long trips.  It was not big & bulky like a regular pillow and it kept its shape.  I had notice her pillow was old and almost thread bare from years of use and wash. She had kept it for quite some time because she hasn't been able to find one like it anywhere in our area.  I had studied it for a while on our trip & decided I would make her one. I didn't have a ruler, just my eyes and memory. My first attempt did not turn out. I gave it to my dog as a pillow. LOL My second attempt hit the mark.  Since, I have made 8 pillows. Two of them, I kept for myself until my little brother called & asked for one to help him with his back, Three of them, I took to a family auction to raise money for the next reunion; two sold for $20, the other sold for nearly $60 (to my Mother-reason being the type of fabric I used), One of them, I made extra soft for my dad to use in the morning while he watched TV, One of them, I gave to my Aunt that uses it for her back when she sleeps, the Last one, I made to show how to make them & give away as a white elephant gift for our New Years get together.

My directions are as follows:

Things you will need:
Fabric one piece that is at least 20" x 60"
Sewing Machine
Stuffing (I used 100% poly-fill - bought a 50lb bag & didn't even make a dent in the bag)
Bone Template

Choose your fabric wisely... You don't want to pick something too thick for your sewing machine, yet you don't want to pick something too thin for the stuffing will wiggle its way through the fabric.  My last attempt is made of fleece just because I had extra material leftover from another project. Fleece stretches & was not too bad to work with, maybe a little thicker than I would have liked.  My fleece pillow turned out shorter and fatter than my other attempts. My Mom liked the brown floral one she purchased because it hid the most dirt, figuring she would be leaving it in her car mostly.

I tried to lay out my template on paper to copy but it took up 3 pieces of paper! So I folded my template & traced a quarter of it.

Below is my traced 1/4 copy that should fit on an 8.5 x 11 printer paper once you blow it up to the right size. Once you have it the right size, print 4 of them so you can tape them together to make a template like mine on the left.

I then fold my material into threes big enough to fit my template, because I do not want to cut it out three times.

I then pinned my template onto my folded fabric, cut it out & set it aside.

Using the rest of the material, I then made two 19" x 5" strips. These strips will be used as handles to make it easier to control the pillow as you are placing it behind your neck so the length of the strips is totally up to you.
I folded the strips in half and sewed a straight line down the side of each of the strips.
I then invert the strips.  I used a large safety pin only because I do not have the cool little tool I have seen once upon a time.
I sewed a line on each side of my strips to reinforce my handles.  This is the first time I used a decorative stitch on the handles and it didn't work out the way I wanted it to because of the fleece fabric stretched.
Setting the handles aside, I then went to work on my three pieces of fabric I had cut out from the template.  I folded each in half length wise & cut a nick out of the ends so I will know where the center is.
I placed two pieces right sides together. Let's call one 'top' & the other 'bottom'. I only pinned half of the two together.. I did not pin all the way to the middle nick marks because I will be placing my handles in that spot later on.
I then folded up the top half ways up & lined up the bottom half with the third piece right sides together & pinned the bottom & third piece together. Then I folded the third piece down so that I may have a space to place the handles.
I then folded each of the handles in half and placed them in the center of my nick marks of the bottom piece.  Make sure to place the folded part of the handles inwards and not sticking out.  The pillow will be turned right side out later on.
I then unfolded my top & third piece to where the nick marks met each other over my handles.  I then pinned the rest of the way of my top and third piece to the nick marks making sure my handle was pinned down.
I then lined up the top left-over half & the third left-over half & pinned them together.
In pinning the top & third half, I left a space about 2 inches long & marked it with double pins so that I may remember not to sew there because that will be my opening that will allow me to turn the pillow right side out and stuff it.
Now, I am working with two pieces pinned together and I will call them edges A, B & C.
To sew around edge A from one handle to the other, I had to lay edge C down together with edge B.  I made sure the needle was as far back to the join where edge C & edge B met with edge A.  I repeated the process for edge B.
I then pinched the handle in half so that I could lay edge B back with edge A and sew around edge C, making sure I did not sew over my opening marks.
 I then sewed a zig-zag around each of the edges.
I turned the pillow right side out through the hole I had left open on edge C.
I started stuffing the pillow through my opening, making sure to place my stuffing in the corners furthest away from the opening.  I found the stuffing was more maneuverable when I spread it out and fluffed it up before I stuffed it into the opening. I stuffed only a hand full at a time, making sure the stiffness and lumps were distributed evenly throughout.  I worked my way up the pillow to where I had stuffing protruding out of my opening.  When I get to the end, I always feel like I am finished stuffing until I try closing the opening and it doesn't have the same feeling as the other edges.  Once I feel I have stuffed it enough, I then use pins to hold my opening closed while I use a needle and thread & hand sew the opening closed.

The blue & white stripped pillow is one of the ones I had made for me.  The fabric is very similar to the denim on pants.
Ma's Neck Bone Pillow

Pa's neck bone pillow made extra soft just for him.
My Aunt's Back Bone Pillow on her beautiful tiled table.
Made another one using this fabric for the auction that sold for $20.

I had asked those who recieved the pillows if they would take a picture of it so that I could post them.  When I get those pillow pictures, I will post them.

Since I continue to make these awesome things, I'll just keep posting them...
Blue Flame 2012 - for an upcoming auction at my family reunion to raise money for future reunions..
Purple Sunflower Crum Reunion 2012
Green Leaf with Red Flower Crum Reunion 2013
Blurquoise requested by my Sis 2014


  1. Thank you for posting this! I have a bad neck so im excited to make this. I see the straps on the pillow, how are thry used?

    1. Hi Sylvia! I'm glad you're going to give it a whirl and make try out the pattern! The straps are nothing more than handles, a way to make it easier for you to get a grip on the pillow as you arrange and position it when you are trying to use it.

  2. I have made this many times for me & friends. It is so easy. I have one in the car, one down stairs in the den, & one on the main floor. I keep one in the suitcase so I do not forget it.

    1. I agree! It is super easy to make and so fun to see it come together. Keeping one in the suitcase is a good idea! Thanks!