Making a chemo port pillow is the perfect project for a fabric scraps bin that needs some attention.
I mean, that last thing you need is for the bin to take on a life of its own. That could wreak havoc on any crafting space.
And what better way is there to use those scraps on World Cancer Day than to bring comfort to someone going through chemo? I can’t think of a single one.
For the advanced sewers out there, you’ll take one look at the chemo port pillow and stop reading the tutorial because it’s a 7″ x 4″ rectangle with sew-on hook-and-loop tape and polyester fill.
You can whip a bunch of these out in no time.
When you’re done, please consider contacting one of the small, local hospitals in your area to find out where you can deliver them.
For those of you who are new to sewing or just new to this concept, I have created a straightforward tutorial on how to create a chemo port pillow (no pattern needed!) so that you can create to donate along with me.
Let’s Sew A Chemo Port Pillow
The materials and tools you need to make a chemo port pillow are simple:
– 100% Cotton fabric.
You can use any type of 100% cotton fabric – quilting cotton or flannel typically works well. This project is a great fabric scrap buster so dig into your bin and take a trip down memory lane!
While some people choose to use fleece for these pillows because it’s soft to the touch and has nice give, I’m not a fan. The pillow does need to have a little bit of stiffness to it so that it provide the proper support.
Cotton has a tighter weave and therefore provides the right amount of give and support. Plus, I just like that it’s a natural material instead of a synthetic – but that’s just my personal preference.
– Sew-on hook-and-loop tape
– Polyester fiber fill.
If you’re only making a single pillow, you’ll need just a little more than a good handful.
– Rotary cutter or scissors.
You’ll use this to cut the fabric and the hook and look tape.
If you don’t have a rotary cutter and mat yet, I highly recommend them. It not only helps speed up the process but also prevents fatigue and soreness in your hands.
– Sewing machine (which should go without saying). If you like to hand sew, this could be done with a needle an thread but would take a long time.
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Steps For Making A Port-A-Cath Pillow
Step 1: 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 doesn’t move around as much. So if you feel your recipient might also like this, cut two pieces.
Step 2: 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 (aka the loops) 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 wouldn’t 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.
Step 3: Sew the fabric pieces together.
Now it’s 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 don’t always pin it.
Use a 1/2″ seam allowance around the rectangle and remember to leave an opening (a.k.a. hole) 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 you’ll also use this to stuff the pillow with the polyester fiberfill (below).
Step 4: Stuff the chemo port pillow.
Take the polyester fiberfill and start stuffing the pillow to give it shape. Be careful not to over stuff because you still need to sew the open edge shut.
Once you stuffed the pillow, use either a whip stitch or top stitch with your machine to close the hole.
I opted to top stitch the port pillow since the sewing machine was already warmed up.
Admire Your Port Pillow Handiwork
When you’ve 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.
Print-Friendly Port Pillow Pattern
- 100% Cotton Fabric
- Hook and loop tape
- Sewing clips
- Sewing machine
- Cut two pieces of fabric that measure 4" x 7".
- Cut two 3.5" pieces of hook and loop tape.
PLACE & BASTE HOOK AND LOOP TAPE
- Place one piece of fabric right side up.
- Take the loop tape (the soft part), line it up with the right outside long edge, and place it 1.5" from the top edge.
- Clip the loop tape in place.
- Take the hook tape (the rough part), line it up with the left outside long edge, and place it 1/5" from the top edge.
- Fasten it to the loop tape and clip it in place.
- Follow the same process for the other piece of hook and loop tape 1.5" away from the bottom edge.
- Baste the tape to the fabric using 1/8" allowance.
CLIP FABRIC TOGETHER & SEW
- Take the second piece of fabric and place it right side down onto side of fabric with the hook and loop tape.
- Place sewing clips around the whole rectangle to prepare for sewing.
- Remember to leave a 2" turning hole on one of the bottom edges.
- Use a 1/2" seam allowance to sew around the whole rectangle leaving the 2" hole for turning.
- Turn the port pillow form right sides out.
STUFF PILLOW THEN CLOSE HOLE
- Stuff the port pillow to medium firmness.
- Whip stitch or top stitch with your machine using 1/8" allowance to close the turning hole.
- Basting the hook and loop tape isn't required but it does make the overall process easier to manage because the tape doesn't move around when you're sewing all of the pieces together.
- If you want, you cut one long strip of fabric at 4" x 14" and just fold it over. Since I use this as a scrap buster project, I like to mix and match fabrics and therefore use two pieces.
- It's easier to stuff the pillow if you detach the hook tape from the loop tape.
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