Learn to make these Breast Cancer Patient Heart Shaped Pillows which provide comfort post-surgery for mastectomy patients.
As part of our Crafting for a Cause blogs, we found a terrific project to make as a gift or for charitable giving. These Breast Cancer Patient Heart Shaped Pillows from Me and My Inklings provide comfort post-surgery for mastectomy patients.
Click here for the pattern: Breast Cancer Patient Heart-Shaped Pillows pattern
- Poly Fil® premium polyester fiberfill (approx. 7oz per pillow)
- (2) 12” x 12” squares of fabric (matching or complementary) or one fat quarter per heart
- Thread to match
- Paper or freezer paper for template
- Point Turner or chopstick (optional)
- Mary Ellen’s Best Press Unscented (optional)
- Wonder Clips
- Thimble (optional)
I found some pink fabrics to use. Most were fat quarters (FQs – approximately 18″ X 22″) instead of the 12″ x 12″ pieces mentioned in the instructions.
It took two sheets of computer paper to print the template at 200% and tape together two pieces to make the template. After choosing two coordinating fabrics, I layered and folded the two FQs to fit the pattern template.
In order to cut another heart from each FQ, I folded the fabric on the bias (diagonal).
The two hearts cut out.
The instructions do not mention using fusible web to adhere the heart to the fabric before sewing, but it works well. I ironed a piece of Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 to the wrong side of a fabric scrap, folded it in half, and cut a freeform heart.
After I peeled off the paper, I ironed the heart onto the right side of one heart and stitched close to the edge for raw edge appliqué.
I found it worked well to place the two hearts right side together, sew 1/4″ from the edge leaving a gap (about 4″), clip the inner curve, and trim the tip. Both the clip and trim were done being careful to not cut into the line of stitches.
I turned the heart inside out and pressed again. Folding the opening edges in 1/4″ and pressing made it easier to closed the gap with hand stitches later.
It took a fair amount of Poly Fil stuffing and time to fill the heart evenly and firmly. I think I used 1/3-1/2 of a 32 oz. bag to fill five hearts firmly.
As mentioned in the video, it is best to pull apart and stuff with small pieces instead of cramming in large pieces of filling. The Poly Fill comes with a chopstick to assist with stuffing. Be careful to avoid poking too hard and causing a hole in the seam that will need to be mended.
Though I clipped the inner curve and trimmed the pointed tip, I did not clip the outer curves at the top of the heart on my first pillow. The curves were not as smooth as I wanted.
I made V-shaped clips on the outer curves at the top. Did it help? Some but not so much it was worth doing.
Wonder Clips (I used the mini size) kept the gap closed while sewing. It helps to pin or clip the opening closed before sewing. If you just start sewing, it is easy to get a pucker where the sides do not close evenly. My favorite hand sewing supplies are shown: needle, thimble, needle threader, scissors, and thread.
I used a whip stitch to close the opening – taking small stitches close together.
The pillows were simple and fun to make. I plan to donate them at the breast cancer center at our local hospital.
Please visit the Breast Cancer Patient Heart Shaped Pillows blog posting to learn more about how you contribute – and plan a Stuff-Along party in your community!