Video: How To Make A Mastectomy Pillow
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as part of our mission of Making The World A Softer Place, we thought itd be appropriate to create a sewing project thats especially near and dear to our hearts. This week, our National Educator Teresa Coates continues our Sew Together Tuesday educational series by sharing her tips on how to make a mastectomy pillow. Shes made several of these breast cancer heart-shaped pillows out of Cuddle® minky plush fabric for friends and close family members, and all have noted how soft and comforting they felt on their skin.See Related:How to Sew a Pumpkin with Cuddle® Minky Plush FabricSo why is it shaped like a heart? Besides a nod to the love and support provided by family and friends through breast cancer treatment and recovery, the heart shape fits nicely under the arm to limit irritation at the surgery site .These pillows make thoughtful gifts for anyone going through breast cancer treatment, and many hospitals accept donations of homemade mastectomy pillows for their patients . Ready to start sewing? Here Teresa lists her tips for sewing a mastectomy pillow.
Cut Materials To Size
Cut 2 pieces of fabric into rectangles that measure 7 x 4 and a piece of hook and loop tape that measures 3.5.
UPDATE: I have received some feedback that some people prefer to have two pieces of hook and loop tape on the pillow so that it doesnt move around as much. So if you feel your recipient might also like this, cut two pieces.
Simple Double Mastectomy Pillow Pattern
This double mastectomy pillow pattern is one complete piece that fits across the chest and under both arms. If you are making these to donate, I recommend making the forms and only filling and finishing them when youre are ready to make a donation or gift it to someone.
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Admire Your Port Pillow Handiwork
When youve finished the project, take a step back and admire your handiwork.
While I was doing so, I photographed mine upside down. It will still work as designed, however.
Another something to note: While the purpose of Create To Donate site is to offer tutorials for items you can make to donate, the chemo port pillow is also called a seat belt pillow and can be used by anyone who finds their seat belt uncomfortable.
S To Make A Mastectomy Pillow
Step 1: Cut out the pattern pieces. Overlap the top portion of the heart to the bottom part of the pattern and tape them together.
Step 2: Fold your 15 x 15 piece in half and cut out the two pieces of the heart from your on the fold.
Step 3: Open up each piece of fabric the, place them right sides together.
Step 4: Clip or pin the two pieces together.
Step 5: Using a 1/4 seam, sew the two pieces together.
I decided not to do the beauty shot here of the edges being sewn together because I think you all know what that looks like.
So instead, I want to share some info on sewing the curves.
I typically start in the top right corner just before the curve.
If youre looking at the above picture, its right around the purple clip on the right.
Then, use the straight edge of the fabric and the guideline on the sewing machine while you hold the fabric in place.
You are basically making the curve straight for a very short period of time.
Important note: Remember to leave a hole big enough to turn the pillow right side out and stuff with the polyester fill.
Step 6: Clip the edges of the center dip in the heart.
Step 7: Turn the pillow right sides out.
Step 8: Stuff the pillow to a medium firmness.
Since this pillow is typically used post-procedure, the areas it touches are very tender and sore.
A too-firm pillow therefore doesnt feel comfortable and a too-soft pillow doesnt provide any support.
Step 9: Finish the pillow by stitching the turning hole closed using a ladder stitch.
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Heart Pillow Pattern For Breast Cancer Patients
Heart Pillow Pattern for Breast Cancer Patients. Its a great sewing service project for anyone! Learn how to cut out and stitch heart pillows for donation.
Today Im excited to share a quick heart pillow pattern for breast cancer patients. Last year one of my very good friends had surgery for her breast cancershe is all fine now, but it wasnt a fun experience.
Since then she has been asking others to make heart shaped pillows for those who are going through surgery and recovering.
After making a few, I thought about sharing the process. They are really quite quick to sew up and are great for a group project or to use up random fabric yardage that you have in your stash.
Supplies you may need:
- Seam Ripper not my favorite thing to do!
Heart Cushions For Those Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
Are you a creative, crafty individual with a love for sewing? Then you may be able to help Big C!
Big C are in need of handmade heart-shaped cushions to be included in our Care Packages, given to those currently undergoing cancer treatment.
These easy-to-sew cushions help aid comfort around the breast and under the arm, supporting women living with and beyond breast cancer in their everyday life .
Pat, a volunteer who makes the cushions with her sewing group, said: The heart cushions are so comforting post operatively and the thought that someone has made it with love helps to realise you are not alone.
If youre interested in making these cushions for Big C, please see below for instructions on how to create these.
Due to how the cushions are used, it is essential for anyone wanting to donate cushions to follow the instructions otherwise we will be unable to include the hearts in our Care Packages.
To arrange collection or drop-off of the cushions, please contact our Support and Information team at
Also Check: Why Is Breast Cancer Important
Donate Unstuffed Heart Pillows
NEW! To save on shipping cost and time, send sewn but unstuffed heart pillows to the address below and a group of ladies will finish them and donate to Joan Katz Breast Cancer at Baylor All Saints in Fort Worth, Texas. Use the large size and sew the heart pillow according to instructions, stopping before you stuff!
Beverly HaaganSt. Albans Anglican Church4608 Michelle DriveArlington, TX 76016
If you know of a cancer clinic that could use these, email me hello seekatesew com.
Chemo Port Pillow With Snaps Pattern And Tutorial
There is no formal paper pattern for this chemo port pillow either. The design difference from the first pattern is that it uses webbing and plastic snaps to secure it to the seat belt or bag handle.
Adding an inspirational phrase is optional. The free SVG is below.
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Breast Cancer Pillow Instructions:
Print out the pattern pieces and tape them together along the dashed lines. Cardstock is recommended so you can use the template over and over again!
I just got a new accessory for my DreamBox and its the perfect spot to keep patterns that I plan to use frequently! This is the Paper Organizer and it slips right into one of the shelves in the DreamBox! I also put in a bunch of my acrylic rulers and a few other flat-ish sewing supplies that I like to have at arms reach! You can read more about the DreamBox here!
So I am going to keep this pattern right there so I can grab it whenever I have a scrap of fabric big enough for a heart pillow! I plan to do the same with the headwrap pattern and other patterns I use often!
Tape the pattern together. The larger size requires 3 pages. If you are sending to my address below, use the larger size. Ask your local hospital what size they need if you are donating locally!
Cut out 2 heart pieces from fabric, on-the-fold.
Stitch along the raw edge 3/8 from the edges on one of the bottom corners. Repeat on the opposite side . This stitching will be where you leave an opening when sewing and will help you ladder stitch the pillow closed when youre done.
Sew heart together, starting at one side. Sew around, leaving a 2 opening on one side.
Clip the seam allowances around the curves.
Turn the heart pillow right side out and press.
Stuff it full of stuffing. You want it full, but still soft, so dont overstuff.
Breast Support Mastectomy Pillow
A mastectomy pillow for breast support can help ease pain, tenderness, and discomfort after a lumpectomy or breast reconstruction.
Having breast surgery changes the balance of weight on your chest muscles. While you heal and your body adjusts to the changes, using a crest-shaped mastectomy pillow can support your breasts. This kind of mastectomy pillow can also ease discomfort from underarm incisions.
If you are having breast reconstruction, you may have tissue expanders put in your chest once your mastectomy heals.
Your surgeon will use the expander to help stretch your skin and muscles to make space for a breast implant. This is a slow process, and it is normal to feel tender for a few days after each expansion.
For some people, the expanders are the uncomfortable part of breast reconstruction. You may find that breast support mastectomy pillows help provide relief as your skin stretches.
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Simple Steps To Make A Mastectomy Pillow
Step 1: Fold the fabric in half.
To minimize construction steps, this pattern calls for a 27 x 39 fabric piece so that it can be folded in half to create the bottom edge.
It also makes for a super easy first step to the project!
So, to get started, fold the 27 side of the fabric in half.
Your folded fabric piece should now measure 13.5 x 39.
Step 2: Clip each end and sew together using 1/2 seam allowance.
Some people may choose use the pattern to cut out the under-the-arm curves at this point, but I prefer a different approach.
Since I plan to cut through four layers of fabric , I clip and sew the side edges so that my straight edges wont slip around when Im cutting out the pattern curve.
Use a 1/2 seam allowance to sew the side edges.
After sewing the side edges, fold the 39 length of the fabric in half so that the sew edges are touching.
Step 3: Place the pattern piece.
The beauty of the double mastectomy pillow is that it fits under the arms in a way that reduces pressure to the incision sites.
Thats the only real difference between an average rectangular pillow and this mastectomy pillow. So this was my approach when designing a pattern.
I figured as long as I knew where to place the half circle for the under-the-arm hole, this is a straightforward project.
Even that measurement is an easy one.
First, align the pattern piece with the top edge.
Then, clip it 6.5 away from the sewn side edges.
Step 4: Cut out the under-the-arm divots.
Secure The Hook And Loop Tape
To make your life easy and ensure that your hook and loop tape placement is exactly where you want it, baste the hook-and-loop tape onto the right side of one piece of fabric.
To do this, place the soft part of the hook and loop tape on a long edge of the rectangle at about the half-way mark.
Since this step is just to secure the hook and loop tape in place, I used a 1/8 seam.
After sewing the soft side/loop side onto the fabric, place the rough side/hook side face down along the edge of opposite side of the fabric and baste it with a 1/8 seam too.
At this point, I fastened the pieces of hook and loop to each other so they wouldnt move around when I was completing the edges of the pillow.
UPDATE: If you are using two pieces of hook and loop tape to the fabric, place each piece 1.5 away from the top and bottom edges. The video tutorial at the bottom of the post walks you through the placement if you need a visual.
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How Do We Stand Up To Cancer
Thankfully, a cancer diagnosis isnt always terminal these days. This doesnt mean, however, that it isnt a long and hard road for many, many patients.
Personally, I know too many people who have had to confront cancer head-on. And when I think about the people I know who know people? Well, the number grows exponentially.
In fact, on a beautiful evening in July of 2019, I was able to participate in the Albuquerque Isotopes Stand Up To Cancer tribute during a ballgame.
It was truly breathtaking to see how many people got up from their seats when they asked everyone to stand with their signs with a name in memorial or in honor of someone they know who was diagnosed with cancer.
And if actively fighting cancer isnt enough, communities across the globe are fighting COVID-19. We wear a fabric face mask to protect ourselves and others especially those who are immunocompromised.
During this time, those fighting cancer also need additional support so I wanted to share the COVID-19 Resources for cancer patients that Stand Up To Cancer has compiled.
Sew The Fabric Pieces Together
Now its time to sew the two pieces of fabric together.
This means, as you might expect, placing the right sides of the fabric together and sewing around the edges.
I pinned the fabric together for the tutorial pictures so that it was easy to see but for something this small, I dont always pin it.
Use a 1/2 seam allowance around the rectangle and remember to leave an opening measuring about 2 on one of the short edges of the fabric.
Not only do you need this to turn the pillow right side out, but youll also use this to stuff the pillow with the polyester fiberfill .
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Sew4good: Heart Pillows For Breast Cancer
Im excited to announce another Sew 4 Good project: heart pillows for breast cancer! This is a quick and easy project with a free heart pillow pattern! Its totally appropriate for Valentines day, but patients need these all year round.
If you missed the first Sew 4 Good project, you can click here to read all about making headwraps for cancer patients. Every few months a new Sew 4 Good project will launch. These projects are ONGOING so you can make them whenever you have scraps or feel a pull to sew some good! View all the Sew 4 Good projects here!
These small pillows help in breast cancer recovery. The heart shape is ideal for use as an underarm pillow to protect sensitive spots after a mastectomy or lump removal. It can also be used in the car to protect the chest from seatbelts.
When I was calling around about donating head wraps, one of the hospitals I called told me they need about 60 pillows each month. So there is definitely a need for these!
The breast cancer heart pillows require only a few supplies that you may already have on hand! And they are another great scrap buster.
Where It Is Made
Each pillow is designed, sewn, and stuffed in Canada, supported with a legal content label sewn into the seam of the pillow.
Buy one or two pillows, or a matching blanket and two pillows to make a great gift set.Or buy one pillow but include a 3SecondHeat heart heating pad that helps to bring warmth to the sore and aching muscles after a lumpectomy/mastectomy. Give/send as a gift or make sure you have it on hand for when you have your mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction. You will never regret it according to too-many-to-count breast cancer survivors. We can send the gift set directly to your gift recipient and you can include a note on the order form to include with your gift if you want.
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Facts About Breast Cancer
Every October there are a variety of advertisements, posters, and social media posts talking about breast cancer.
As a single piece of information, its easy to take note of the fact, but it still doesnt often sink about how much this disease impacts people.
When grouped together, important facts about breast cancer facts paint a much more serious picture.
So I want to share some important information, all in one place, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation:
In 2020, an estimated 276, 480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. as well as 48, 530 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
64% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage , for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%.
There are over 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.
When I think about how 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, I also think about of all the women I know personally who are breast cancer survivors.
Early detection truly does save lives, its not just a tagline for a national campaign.
For this reason, I will continue to create DIY tutorials for items you can make to support people fighting breast cancer.
It is my hope that these handmade items bring a smile to whomever receives them.