Comfort is an essential for any traveler, whether by means of road or air.
Long distances especially can be very exhausting and exaggerate fatigue when one is unable to catch an ounce of sleep.
This is why travel pillows are a critical investment. Not only are they an accessory but they offer firm neck and shoulder support ushering in a good rest.
Good neck pillows come in different shapes, sizes, fabrics and designs and it is up to you to find the perfect one suitable for your sleeping needs.
You can either opt to buy one or simply make a home make version of the same.
Before delving into the nitty-gritties of a hand- made pillow case, let us first acquaint ourselves with the common features of any travel pillow.
Considerations to arrive at the best travel pillow case
Here we go;
Type of fabric for the pillow case
Fabrics are at the heart of any external design. The fabric used ultimately determines the comfort levels.
Different fabrics work well with different seasons.
For instance, cotton or soft plastic materials are good for summer seasons as they do not collect too much heat that can lead to profuse sweating.
Fleece materials on the other hand are appropriate for the winter as they retain body heat to keep the traveler warm.
The right fabric should equally not dehydrate your face nor cause skin irritability.
Silk fabrics have no competition when it comes to this.
For this reason, keenly observe your skin’s reaction to different fabrics before settling on a long-term one.
Compressibility of the pillow case material
If you are the kind to pack light then compactness is at the top of your list.
Although travel pillows generally come in light weight, particular kinds are heavier than others. Those infused with micro beads for instance are bulkier and do not size down as much.
Its nature demands for more carry space, thus sliming its chances of fitting in your slim travel bag. For lighter options consider flexible materials that are more compact.
Pillow stuffing material
Pillow cases infused with memory foam padding have gathered a string of compliments from many users. Buyers attest to its unique support system thus explaining the rave Amazon reviews.
Memory foam unlike just any other filling hugs the neck and shoulder pressure points conforming to the perfect fit.
Technological advancements have brought with it a motion sensitive adapter that moulds and re-moulds to accommodate involuntary neck movements when asleep.
This way you do not suffer from aches even when you make drastic posture changes. Plus, they are non – allergic.
Polyester fibers are also appreciated because of their softness. They shape better and come with the advantage of easy cleaning.
They can be blended with different materials such as cotton for additional comfort. Go for healthy, soft stuffing when looking for quality pillow cases.
The pillow case extra stability allowance
Even with the best of travel pillows travelers are still prone to awkward sleeping postures that could result in minor aches.
The pivotal thing is to go with firm straps or stands that allow the pillow to sit right on your chair. The Cabeau Evolution design is one to mimic when it comes to securing your head.
Its extra support elements allow the traveler to firmly fix the pillow case onto the seat head preventing much movement.
Pillow case fabric durability
For frequent travelers a longer life span means lesser traveling expenses. When searching for the right travel comforter consider its durability.
This involves factors like washability and price range. Generally more costly pillows come with stronger materials that can serve for quite a while.
Again, if the zip cover material is washable then you don’t have to worry about damaging it in the process. Go for options that will give you both value for your money and long-term service.
Design pattern of the pillow case
The market is flooded with multiple designs to choose from. Each design is custom made for a particular function.
A turtle neck pattern can double up as a pillow rest or scarf allowing you to fold it up into either one when en-route.
Its 360-degree structure offers maximum neck alignment making is a viable option for passengers with sensitive necks.
The U- shape pillow which is actually the most common is known for its wrap shape that accommodates awkward rest postures.
It is conveniently spongy appealing to the shoulder blades. Additional designs include the Travel Rest Ultimate and J Pillow Chin models.
The two do stray away from other conventional pillow outlooks but come with contour benefits.
The former particularly has a unique structure, and is designed to support the upper body creating balance from the torso all the way up. It offers exemplary spine alignment that other designs could only wish for.
Not to mention its flat surface this horizontally rests the back against the chair effortlessly. J pillow chin designs come with an additional chin support.
This makes it a 3-phased comfort provider (neck and shoulder included) keeping you supported in every way.
Pillow size and weight options
The two do not differ very much from the compressibility factor but are important considerations as well. The best travel pillows are considerably small in size and less dense.
According to The Sleeping Judge, standard pillow cases range around the measurements of 11 by 16 inches thus the cases fall significantly close to those numbers.
Your pillow size and weight directly determine the kind of covering it will require. Bearing in mind the following components to a good travel pillow, we now take a look at how to make a befitting case.
The U-shaped pattern is the simplest when it comes to DIY pillow cases. They are less complex, have easy to follow steps and take a short period of time to make. With enough practice you can complete one in about 30min.
How to design your own pillow case
Using the following instructions, go ahead and enjoy the process of designing your travel pillow case like a pro!
- Get all the necessary materials and equipment
You will need, tailor chalk, scissors, a hand needle or sewing machine, and thread. Pick out a beautiful color palette or embroiled textiles that will you will love designing. If you are making them for your kids, let them choose color tones they prefer.
- Get the right measurements
Just for exact fitting, measure the width of your neck and apply it in the cutting process. A tape measure will easily get this done.
- Cut the Fabric
This step will require prior preparation. Use a removable pen or tailor’s chalk to draw out the outline. In this case you are looking to achieve convex patterns.
A seam gauge or ruler should help with the accuracy such that the end result is a smooth curve.
Remember to leave some seam allowance between the margin edge and the line along which you will be sewing on. This extra space helps to shape out the case to the closest fit possible.
A wrong seam allowance will result in either an oversize or small pillow case. You will need two fabric pieces for the job. Here is a pattern guide for the U shape neck pillow.
- Stitch away
Place the cut outs with the right sides facing each other and stitch round the curves using a needle and thread. Ensure you are thoroughly following the curve lines that you had drawn.
Leave a 4cm gap on the outer side (completely untouched) of the fabric as you do so, this is where you will feed your pillow stuffing through.
Designers recommend using smaller straight stitches for a seamless look, preferably between 2- 2.5 lengths if you are using a sewing machine.
- Clip and turn the fabric
Clip out triangular shaped patterns from the stitched material; eventually this will play out to produce tighter curves.
Once done, gently turn the fabric the right way out without destroying the stitches. Remember not to interfere with the 4cm opening.
- Give the fabric a good press
This is optional. Ironing however goes to smooth it out and give it a neater finish. Use the appropriate heat levels to avoid burning.
- Stuff in the fillings
At this point, fill your pillow with soft fibers. Polyester is quite affordable and readily available. The measure will depend on the kind of comfort you are going for.
Generous amounts are advised because of the material’s spongy nature so make it fairly hard.
- Close the gap
Once satisfied with the size, hand-stitch the gap carefully. Use the blind stich technique so that the thread is not visible when finished. With that, your DIY pillow is all-ready!
For an even fuller set, you can create matching eye masks from the same pillow case fabric. You tube tutorials work well to provide visual assistance on every step.
The important thing is precision and accuracy. Try out the following steps and gift your family and friends with the best travel pillows for those road trips and camps!