This simple double mastectomy pillow pattern and tutorial can be completed in less than 30 minutes if your pillow stuffing game is on point.
If you’re new to Create To Donate, there are some useful cancer support tutorials that preceded this double mastectomy pillow tutorial.
These DIY projects are:
Most of the above projects take 30 – 60 minutes and use items you likely have in your stash.
So after making this mastectomy pillow, why not add another project to your list?
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, it’s easy to take note of the fact, but it still doesn’t 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 (in situ) breast cancer.
– 64% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage (there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast), 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, it’s 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.
You Can Make A Double Mastectomy Pillow
My original mastectomy pillow pattern is heart-shaped and used on one side. Now I want to share a mastectomy pillow whose design easily accommodates someone who had a double mastectomy.
This double mastectomy pillow pattern is very simple. It uses a single piece of fabric and a pattern piece that allows you to easy place and cut what I am (fondly) calling the “under-the-arm divots”.
From start to finish, this project should take less than 30 minutes.
Materials and Tools
The materials and tools you’ll need for this project are these:
– One 27″ x 39″ piece of 100% cotton fabric (solid or print).
Many people like to use pink fabric or printed fabric with a breast cancer design, but any cotton fabric will do.
– Polyester pillow stuffing.
The brand I currently use is Polyfil (#affiliatelink), because I bought it at a deep discount at a big box craft store. It is an easily accessible brand at most stores, but other brands are fine too.
In a pinch, I have used polyester yarn scraps to stuff smaller chemo port pillows and the same approach would work here.
How much fill do you need? Well, it’s hard to gauge exactly
– Create To Donate’s free double mastectomy pillow pattern.
I like to conserve paper whenever possible and also prefer single pieces to having complex taping instructions.
So I created a double mastectomy pillow pattern that simply cuts out the arm holes necessary for this pillow to do its magic.
– Sewing clips.
You need a couple of handfuls of sewing clips (#affiliatelink) to hold things in place at various point in the construction process.
– Sewing machine.
A sewing machine makes this project go very quickly and also makes sewing the curves easier.
Theoretically, you could sew this by hand but that just sounds like a massive hand cramp and time sink to me.
If you’re itchin’ for some hand stitching, there is some at the end of the project to close the turning hole after you’ve stuffed the pillow.
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 (more on that in a future step), I clip and sew the side edges so that my straight edges won’t slip around when I’m 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.
That’s 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.
Cut out the half circles using a rotary cutter or scissors.
Remember: You will be cutting through four layers of fabric, not two. So, make sure the fabric is clipped well so that it won’t shift.
Unfold the fabric carefully then clip the top edges to prepare for sewing.
Step 5: Sew the top edge of the pillow together.
Sew the top edge of the pillow using 1/2″ seam allowance.
The seam allowance applies to the straight edges and the curved edges.
Leave a 3″ turning hole in the middle section of top edge of pillow.
Clip the corners before turning the mastectomy pillow right sides out.
Step 6: Turn right sides out.
Turn the fabric right sides out and poke out each of the corners carefully. (There are a total of seven corners.)
If it looks like it needs, press the fabric to help the seams lay flat. (Mine certainly needed a couple of passes with an iron.)
Step 7: Stuff pillow and hand stitch to close.
All that’s left is to stuff the pillow and stitch the hole it closed.
When stuffing the pillow, it’s better to keep it in the middle-range of stuffing and don’t want it to be overly firm. The pillow is too firm, it applies pressure to the incision site instead of reducing it…
As you can see from the above picture, I didn’t fully stuff the pillow. I am saving this for later since most places I typically support aren’t currently taking donations.
It is much easier to store as a pillow ‘form’ than a stuffed pillow.
In fact, it’s something I recommend with any of the cancer support pillows. Make a handful of pillow forms (chemo port or mastectomy) so that you can easily just stuff it, close the hole, and gift or donate it to someone in need.
Print-Friendly Tutorial: Make A Double Mastectomy Pillow
If you prefer to take a low-fidelity approach to following along with this tutorial, a print-friendly option is available below!
- 27" x 39" piece of 100% cotton fabric
- Polyester pillow filling
- Create To Donate Double Mastectomy Pillow Pattern
- Sewing clips
- Sewing machine
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Fold the 27" x 39" piece of fabric in half lengthwise. The fabric should now measure 13.5" x 39".
- Clip the side edges.
- Sew each side edge together using a 1/2" seam allowance.
- Fold the fabric in half so that the sewn edges are touching. The piece now measures 13.5" x 19.5".
- Place the double mastectomy pillow pattern piece aligned with the top edge and 6.5" away from the side edge.
- Clip the pattern to secure it to the fabric.
- Cut out the under-the-arm divots. Remember: You will be cutting through four layers of fabric.
- Unfold the fabric then clip the top edge and curves to prepare for sewing.
- Sew the top edge and two curves using a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave a 3" hole for turning.
- Turn the fabric right sides out.
- Stuff the double mastectomy pillow using the pillow fill.
- Close the hole by hand stitching or using your sewing machine.
- The turning hole is best placed in the middle section of the top edge. It lets you easily stuff both sides of the pillow.
- When stuffing the pillow, it shouldnn't be overly firm. A too-firm pillow ends up adding the pressure around the incision sites instead of helping reduce it.
- Optional feature: Sew a ribbon into the seam of each edge so the pillow recipient could lightly tie it around their body so that it doesn't move.
These Pillows Support Breast Cancer Patients
This double mastectomy pillow is a small but meaningful comfort to a breast cancer fighter post-surgery. So I hope this tutorial allows you to help someone in need of support.
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