I get asked all the time how to make the seat belt pillows that are sent to Walter Reed. When I first started this I went like many do into the world of the interwebs and asked a question. There were and are thousands links out there for places to get instructions and I used a few and over time created my own way of doing them based on the feedback of those who received them.
There are three sizes that are offered on this site for any who need a seat belt pillow and for those I make for Walter Reed because options are a good thing. Below you will find the photos using the small size I offer which is 5×5 inches. I will add additional data for the larger sizes as I go through the process but it is basically the same all around.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.
Since you are here looking for instructions, I am sure you know what basic materials are needed for sewing so I will not list everything. One thing I do for the port pillows is use nylon webbing for straps and KAMsnaps rather than hook and loop. I get my supplies from Amazon but you can use any form of straps but do recommend the KAMsnaps as they tend to last longer than hook and loop.
So let’s get to the instructions here, gather all your materials and put on your best crafting music!
Here are the rough cut sizes for the port pillows. Choose your size and cut the amount of pillows you want to make.
- Small – 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
- Medium – 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
- Large – 5 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
- X Large – 5 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches
You will sew with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Straps will be 3 inches long, 4 needed for each port pillow. I use nylon webbing and it can be found at this link here.
This is a 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch square, cut for the Small seat belt pillow. Set one piece right side facing up.
Now you will be ready to add your straps, you will need 4 straps. Each strap is 3 inches long.
Place straps 1 inch from top and 1 inch from bottom for small pillows. Just like shown here in this picture. Straps will overlap a bit and that is okay.
If making other sizes, place straps 2 inches from top and bottom.
You will now place the second piece of fabric on top of this, right side facing down.
Right sides of fabric will face each other with the straps in the center.
Here you will see the fabric sandwich with the straps pinned to keep from moving while you sew.
Now you will with a 1/4 inch seam allowance using a straight stitch all around leaving at least a 2 inch opening on top.
As you can see here, there is an opening left on the top enough to allow you to turn it out. Be sure to snip the corners but do not cut the thread.
Once you have it turned out, iron the seam but be sure not to iron the nylon webbing, you could melt it.
Here is the seat belt pillow turned out and ironed. Now onto the next step.
Now you will sew around three sides, leaving the side with the opening alone. This gives it a finished look as well as supporting the nylon webbing.
Time to stuff the pillow!!!
It is very important not to over fill the pillow. You will need enough to give it some puff but not stuff it full.
The purpose of the seat belt pillow is to distribute the pressure of the seat belt so that a port-a-cath or other sore sites are not painful when wearing a seat belt.
Now you will sew the top with the opening and ensure the opening is sealed. You will also add the KAMsnaps which will finish the seat belt pillow.
Now you have a finished seat belt pillow also called a port pillow! Congrats.
I like using two different fabrics, just makes it more fun.
If you are making these for Walter Reed, you do not need to stuff them or add KAMsnaps, I can do that here once they are received.
You can contact me by filling in the information below.