Like a lot of people out there, I sometimes experience back pain. My doctor told me to try sleeping with a pillow between my knees, but I kept having a problem: every time I turned over in my sleep, the pillow would move out of place. So I finally decided to design a knee pillow that would stay in place all through the night.

For this tutorial, you’ll need a 14-inch square pillow form, a piece of fabric that’s 16”x20”, a piece of fabric that’s 20”x4”, a piece 1-inch-wide elastic that’s 15 inches long, and 2 snaps. 

Any fabric will work, but I went with suede because it’s both soft and durable.

The first step is to fold the fabric in half with right sides together, leaving 4 inches unfolded at the top. You should end up with a 16-inch square of folded fabric and a 4-inch flap.

Sew the square in place along the sides and finish the edges with a zigzag stitch to keep them from fraying. 

Then finish all of the remaining edges with turned-under hems. 

Next, we’re going to make the casing for our elastic. Fold your 20”x4” piece of fabric in half down the long edge with right sides together and stitch. 

Then turn it rightside-out and feed your strip of elastic through the casing. My preferred way to do this is to attach a big safety pin to one end of the elastic and use that to feed the elastic through the casing. It’s a lot easier to get ahold of a big safety pin through the fabric than trying to get a grip on just the elastic alone. 

Once you’ve fed the elastic through the casing, secure it with a pin on each end.

Now it’s time to test out your pillow to determine the right length for your strap. This will differ for everyone, so the best way to determine the right size is just to try it out and see.

Pin your elastic + casing to your pillowcase. I typically start with the elastic 3 inches from each edge. Be sure to only pin through the top layer of the case, otherwise you won’t be able to open it up to stuff the pillow inside!

Once your elastic is pinned in place, stuff your 14-inch pillow form into the case. Slide it over your leg and up to your knee.

You might even want to try laying in bed with it, turning over, and moving around. Does the elastic band need to be tighter? Do the ends of the band need to move closer or farther from each other? 

This is going to determine the final fit of your knee pillow, so take your time and make sure it fits right. It should be snug but not too tight.

Make whatever adjustments you need for the knee pillow to fit perfectly. For me, this usually means trimming off several inches from the elastic band, but it might mean something different for you. 

Once you have the band trimmed to the right length and pinned in the right place, sew it down with a straight stitch and then a zigzag stitch to keep the ends from raveling. (Again, make sure you’re only sewing through the top layer of your pillowcase or you won’t be able to get your pillow inside!)

The final step is sewing on snaps so that your pillowcase will close securely around your pillow. You can use any kind of closure here—snaps, buttons, hook-and-eyes—but I prefer snaps because they’re the easiest.

Start by sewing the bottom of the snaps to the pillowcase, 3 inches down from the edge. 

Once you have the bottom half of your snaps sewn in place, stuff your pillow back in the case to determine where to sew the top half of the snaps.

Fold over the flap of the pillowcase and mark where the top half of the snap should go with a pin. Again, you want it snug but not too tight.

Sew the top half of the snaps in place and you’re done! 

You now have a custom-fit, removable (and thus washable!), knee pillow that will stay put throughout the night. Happy sleeping!