Aside from spending more time with Hubs, this Adirondack chair head pillow is probably the best thing to come out of the stay at home order this year. Hubs hasn’t worked since March so I want him to take advantage of the opportunity to take it easy for change. If anyone deserves some rest and relaxation it’s him. But I bet you do too and I’ll show you how!
By the way, if sewing isn’t in your skillset, it’s your lucky day! Today is our monthly blog hop hosted by Andrea from Design Morsels and Chloe from Celebrate and Decorate. I’m excited to share the fun and crafty creations of 16 other bloggers. If you are visiting from My Hubbard home, Welcome! I just love the free printables that Rachelle shared!
At the very bottom of this post, I’ll be directing you to the next stop on this venture. But don’t forget to check out the other stops too. Be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!
Upcycled Outdoor Patio Chairs
Last year we found these perfectly good outdoor patio chairs tossed to the curb and are now using them in our backyard. Known as Adirondack chairs in the US, here in Canada we call them Muskoka chairs :).
Hubs like to lean back when he’s reading or unwinding, but these chairs aren’t exactly comfortable (which is probably why they were tossed in the first place!). A neck support pillow is the perfect solution to relax in comfort!
An outdoor headrest pillow will not only help you slow down but to avoid neck pain. With the proper customization, an Adirondack chair head pillow is the best neck support so you can read without getting that painful crick in your neck.
How about soaking in some rays in the great outdoors? I know that when I’m sitting outside in the sunshine, I can’t help but take in a few ZZ’s every once in a while! Those generic patio chair cushions with the high back just don’t cut it when you happen to fall asleep. I know I’ve woken up so many times with neck pain that can be avoided. An outdoor chair is nothing without neck support – period!
Envelope Slipcover for Adirondack Chair Head Pillow
For easy care, I want the fabric to be removable so I can can wash it. Enter the envelope slipcover, which has two overlapping flaps at the back. It encases a pillow without a zipper. Hubs may be relaxing a little more these days, but he’s still got his manly chores to do, like laundry 😉. This slipcover will be easy to put on and take off.
Outdoor Fabric for DIY Neck Pillow
Just before Fall set in last year, we went looking for a suitable outdoor fabric so I could make Hubs this pillow. We found the fabric below at our local Fabricland. It’s bright, cheerful and well suited to our little urban oasis.
I also bought outdoor piping and a 13 x 20 pillow form. Hubs wanted a fairly wide pillow so he didn’t have to worry about keeping his head centred on the chair! That would be too much like work :). You can find a pair of 12″ x 20″ pillow forms on Amazon, but you will have to adjust the pillow pattern accordingly.
Pieces to Cut for Adirondack Chair Head Pillow
You need 4 pieces of fabric for this pillow (a piece for the front, two pieces for the back and 1 piece for the tab). Since the pillow form is 13″ x 20″, the front piece of fabric will be 14″ x 21″. If you have different size pillow, all you have to do is add 1″ to the height and 1″ to the width to get your finished measurement. Note that this already includes a 1/2″ seam allowance.
The back is where the opening is, so you need two pieces. To make it easy, cut one piece first and then cut it in half. I want my opening to be horizontal, so to calculate the back, the width is exactly the same as the front (21″), then you will ad 9″ to the height (13″ + 9″ gives you 22″). You’ll end up with a piece of fabric and is 22″ high x 21″ wide (again, the same width as the front).
Then cut the back piece in half to form two pieces that are 11″ x 21″. Clear as mud? See the dimensions below (and feel free to ask me questions in the comments if you run into any problems).
Outdoor Headrest Pillow with Strap
The last piece you need is the tab. I cut mine 6″ high x 16″ wide. Again, that includes seam allowance but only 1/4″ this time.
Here’s the calculation of how I figure out the slack needed to get around the spoke on the backrest. Have a look at the picture below. The width of the middle spoke is 7″ and there is also 1″ of depth on either side (which totals 9″ needed just to get the tab around it). You’ll find that between the two ‘X’s’ on my pattern (which I’ll demonstrate later) there’s an extra 1 1/4″ giving you a total of 10 1/4″ of extra fabric.
Prepare Back for Adirondack Chair Head Pillow
If your fabric has a direction, be sure to fold the edges for the back in such a way that when they overlap in the middle, the pattern will still be going in the same direction on both pieces.
On each of the two pieces, fold 1/2″ on the edge of the long side and fold again. Iron.
Topstitch on right side to enclose raw edges. Set the back pieces aside while you work on the front.
About the Piping
The piping gets sewn onto the front piece of the pillow with right sides together. I accidentally started to pin with the wrong side facing up before I realized my mistake and flipped the fabric right side up.
Note: Start the piping at the bottom of the fabric. This will make the connection of the piping much less noticeable than having it show at the top of the pillow.
I like to pin my piping first and notch the four corners before I begin sewing. However, you can just start stitching right at the machine and notch as you go. Some sewers will make several notches in the seam allowance of the piping and actually curve it around the corners. I prefer to do sharper corners.
Pre-Notch the Piping
I make myself a cardboard template (shown below) that has pencil markings at 1/2″. Then I line it up to the corner of the fabric and cut into the piping at the top of that mark (i.e. the edge of the cardboard). Be sure that you don’t cut through the stitching on the piping, just right up to it as close as you can get.
As you can see below, I could come a tiny bit closer to the stitching on this corner cut. Turn the piping 90 degrees and continue pinning it and cutting the corners in the same manner.
Here’s how it will look if you decide to pre-notch the corners like I do. Leave yourself plenty of overlap before you cut the end of the piping when you’re back to where you started.
Sew Piping for DIY Neck Pillow
Use a zipper foot so you can get close to the edge of the piping. When you start sewing, don’t start right at the edge of the piping. Start a few inches down as shown (this is so you can overlap the two edges together later). Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams.
When you get to a notched corner, make sure your needle is in the down position right at the tip of that notch. Then lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric 90 degrees. Continue sewing to the next notch and continue around until you’re almost back to where you started.
As you approach the starting point again, stop a few inches back and lower the needle. Use a seam ripper to rip out a few inches of stitching on the piping. Do this at both ends.
That will allow you to fold back the fabric and overlap the piping as shown below.
Where the pipping meets in the middle, cut right across both pieces with scissors as shown.
This will allow you to butt the two edges of the cord together like this:
You can cut away a bit of the piping cover on the lower end if you find you have too much, but make sure it extends past the cut edges of the cord. Tuck the lower fabric inside the upper fabric of the piping.
Fold the upper edge under to hide the raw edge then bring it down over the lower edge so it’s neatly finished like this.
Now you can continue sewing through the join until you’ve reached where you started. Backstitch and cut the threads.
Fold tab in half to form a tube and stitch 1/4″ seam along one short edge and the longer edge leaving one end open to turn. You don’t have to serge the edge because it will be enclosed, but I did it anyway.
Position the seam in the centre and iron flat.
Turn the tube inside out.
Turn in 1/4″ on the open edge and iron. Topstitch all around.
How to Determine Where to Position the Tab
It can be tricky to figure out where the tab needs to be to hold the pillow at the right height when you’re sitting in the chair. The pillow form comes in this plastic bag, so this is what I did. Grab a family member and have them hold the pillow on the back of the chair at different heights while you sit in the chair and guide them to where it feels most comfortable.
Since the bottom of the tab will ultimately rest at the bottom of the slots, take a skewer and feed it through the bottom of the slot until it pierces the plastic on the pillow (hold the pillow level while you do this). Measure how many inches that mark is from the top of the pillow and you’ll have the measurement where the bottom of the tab should sit!
If you want to double check before you stitch, just pin your tab directly onto the pillow form at the measurement you determined and try it out again on the chair. If it needs adjusting, now’s the time to do it!
Note that depending on how tall you are, the vertical positioning of the tab could vary from person to person. I ended up sewing them at two different heights, on our respective pillows, for me and Hubs.
Side to side: position the tab 3 1/2″ in from either end of the edge on the upper back piece and pin.
Pin again 2 1/2″ away from the edge. When you sew the tab on, you’ll be creating a square and then an ‘X’ between these pins.
Top to bottom: For my pillow, my tab is an inch below the raw edge at the top of the pillow. For Hubs, his tab positioning is 1″ above the folded edge (I’ll show you a picture of that later).
Notice that there is slack in the middle between where it’s pinned. That’s so the tab can easily go around the depth of the middle spoke of the backrest on the chair.
Sew Tab to Upper Back
Sew a 2 1/2″ square between the pins.
Criss-cross in the middle (a piece of cardboard help you line up from corner to corner).
It will look like an ‘X’ once sewn:
Sew Together Adirondack Chair Head Pillow
Now position both back pieces onto the front, right sides together. They will overlap each other. Ensure that when the pillow is turned inside out that the flap will be facing downward.
If your slipcover looks like the picture below, you’re good to go. Stitch 1/2″ all the way around. Trim corners and serge edges if desired.
Turn pillow inside out. This is the front.
This is the backside of the pillow. Below I’m showing the difference in positioning of the tabs between me and Hubs. For my pillow, the tab is higher so when it’s on the chair, it will fall where it’s comfortable for me.
Although one of the tabs is just pinned on for demonstration purposes, you could even sew two tabs on so there’s the option of using it for two different people (say for instance, if you have guests over).
Finishing Touches for Adirondack Chair Head Pillow
Stuff the pillow into the slipcover.
If desired, you can add a piece of velcro to keep the flap closed.
I stitched it on just like the tab with an ‘X’ through the middle so it’s sturdy.
Putting the Pillow on the Chair
Hubs tab is sewn 1″ above the opening of the flap.
After stuffing his pillow, the tab just slips right onto the middle spoke of the chair back.
Here’s a comparison of my pillow vs. the one I made for Hubs. As you can see, my neck support pillow sits lower on the chair.
Here’s how Hubs’ new neck support pillow sits on the chair. Notice that his sits much higher than mine because he is taller. He thinks this outdoor pillow is the best reading pillow ever; no more neck pain!
You probably won’t be lucky enough to find these chairs by the curb so in case you’re wondering, in Canada these chairs are still available at big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot under the Graciious Living name. I’m sure there are similar ones in the U.S, but you can do this same project with any Andirondack/Muskoka chair really. Just calculate the perfect fit for your own chair using the guidelines I’ve given you!
Pin the Adirondack Chair Head Pillow Tutorial for Later
If you don’t sew, you never know when you might pick up the hobby in the future so pin this for later. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!
Now I’d like to send you on to Terrie at Decorate & More with Tip. She has a fabulous terracotta pot makeover for you!
When you are finished visiting Terrie, please remember to visit these other amazing talents below:
Want some more crafty ideas? Visit our craft category: Craft Rehab.