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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Simple Machine Sewn Gifts for Kids to Make

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

My next few posts will be sharing my kid-tested directions for some great gifts. 

First up: A Seat Belt Travel Pillow

Pillows seem to have 'feet' in the car, so strap them to the seat belt with these directions.

At the outside, I think 3 hours will accomplish this project, with you guiding the child.  If you have any questions, just text or give me a call:  217-369-4687, and I'll be happy to answer.


12” x 16” pillow form (or use loose fiberfill) Fabric for front: 12” x 16” - so 3/8 yard is safe (13.5” of length) - a very soft ‘Minkee-type’ fabric is especially nice and softFabric for back: 3/8 yard will also do - but make it a coordinating cotton fabric. Velcro - 7” 5/8” wide withOUT adhesive (adhesive gums up the machine needle)


Cut a 12” x 16” rectangle from each fabric. I always cut fabric EXACTLY THE SAME size as pillow form. Then, taking a 1/2” see allowance yields a fully stuffed pillow! :) Cut from the cotton fabric ALSO a piece 7 1/2” x 9” Stitch the sticky loop side of the Velcro to the right side of the small cotton rectangle, centering it 3/4” from one of the long edges. Stitch close to the edges around all 4 sides of the Velcro using either straight stitch or zigzag 2.5 wide 3.0 long. 

4. Fold this piece in half right sides together, lengthwise. Stitch along oneshort side and pivot to stitch the raw long edges together with 1/2” seam allowances. Leave the other short end NOT stitched. Trim seams, clip corner where you pivoted and turn right side out. See picture below. After turned right side out, it looks as in the 2nd picture below.

5. Turn in seam allowance on the open end and press. ZigZag stitch across both of the short ends. See picture below.

6. Decide on the exact angled placement for this ‘flap’ on the cotton side of the pillow - mark. See the location I decided on after sitting in my car with the seatbelt to position it. In the picture below, the white strip shows the innermost edge of my flap. This edge will be stitched down securely right along its finished, folded edge. I both zigzagged and straight-stitched this edge for durability. 

7. Snap the soft side of the Velcro to the sticky side of the velcro in order to determine the exact placement for it on the pillow back. Pin in place on the cotton pillow back. Stitch all around the sides of this Velcro strip using a zigzag stitch 2.5 wide and 3.0 long.

8. ‘Shape’ the corners as instructed in this video of Londa’s:

Below I’ve described this technique. 

Mark a dot 1/2” in on the wrong side of the cotton layer at all 4 corners. Fold the fabric in half and in half again the other way. Trim from nothing at each midpoint to the dot in each corner as shown in the photo below. Doing this shaping will eliminate ‘dog-eared corners on your final pillow.

9. Lay the cotton piece right side down on top of right side of the front pillow fabric. Cut the front pillow fabric using the cotton piece as the ‘pattern piece’. 

10. Stitch with a 1/2” seam allowance all around pillow, leaving a 5” opening on a short side. At each end of the opening, pivot and stitch to the cut edges. See photo below. Trim corners. 

11. Turn pillow casing right side out. Insert pillow form.  I find that adding loose fiberfill in the corners helps it look even better.  If stuffing with loose fiberfill, pull into SMALL tufts and stuff fully.  

12. Pin opening together to prepare for hand-stitching. The SlipStitch is used to invisibly close the opening. Use a doubled strand of thread. This video explains how I like to do this stitch.

To use, unsnap the Velcro, placing the seat belt into the flap, and secure Velcro to hold in place on the seat belt.

copyright 2019 Londa J. Rohlfing Londa’s Creative Sewing for Londa’s Sunroom Sewing Studio

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