Sewing for a Friend with Breast Cancer

About a week ago, a friend contacted me who I haven’t heard from in a while. I was stunned to learn that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer months ago and was finishing up chemotherapy. Her road was not over–she was due for a mastectomy and weeks of radiation.

Whenever someone says CANCER to me, I freeze up a little bit. I lost my sister to brain cancer in 2006 and it was the most devastating experience of my life.

Of course my first reaction is to DO something. I don’t live near this person, so I cannot go visit her, bring her tea, magazines, sewing projects, etc. Sure I can send her a care package, but what to put in it? Most cancer patients don’t want a bunch of food around that they cannot stomach. They’ve read every magazine on the newsstand. They really need hugs, love and support. So how do I do that from so far away? I turn to my sewing machine of course.

Several years ago, we published a story in Sew News about Deon Maas, who created a pattern called the Anti-Ouch Pouch for breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomies. So I thought I’d make one for my friend. Hopefully she likes it! I chose a beautiful Valori Wells printed fabric by Free Spirit Fabrics.

pouch e1371138320520 225x300 Sewing for a Friend with Breast Cancer

The idea of the pouch is that it looks like a purse, yet it is really a big pocket that’s full of fiberfill to hold against your breast and shield it from your arm or other objects after undergoing surgery and radiation. There’s an outer pocket to easily access the contents so you can adjust the amount of fiberfill or even insert an ice pack. The beauty is that no one will know it’s not a purse when/if you’re out and about.

I hope she likes it and knows that I put a lot of thought into what might comfort her. I thought of a number of things I could sew for her, and this seemed like the best choice. Plus I was able to make it in 20 minutes and get it off in the mail so she could have it as soon as possible.

If you or a friend are going through a similar experience, consider making this project. The full instructions are here. You only need 15″ of 45″-wide fabric, some fiberfill, velcro and thread.

Here’s to recovery! Cheers!

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6 Responses to Sewing for a Friend with Breast Cancer

  1. Ellen, I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister, and that you’ve heard this news about your friend. I’m sure she will appreciate this thoughtful gift. Our sewing machines are more powerful than we think, right? Sending you hugs and sending prayers to your friend.

  2. Diane says:

    Thank you for this timely suggestion. 2 of my sisters have undergone mastectomies in the last year.

  3. Barbara says:

    Thank you for sending this suggestion out it is a very usefull gift. I am a 20 year survivor of breast cancer and still to this day use that type of pillow when I have over used my arms. I did not get reconstruction done and sometimes it just feels good to remove my bra and prothisis and hug the pillow. I never thought to put a strap on it to hold it in place and with addition of a few pockets it could hold the essentials for going out.
    GREAT IDEA!!!!!

  4. Judy L says:

    This would be a great addition to the “comfort kits” the volunteers hand out. Is there a hand out included or how do the patients know what it is? I am happy to make a hand out, just wondered if there was an “official” one.

  5. Christie says:

    As a survivor, I appreciated the pillow I received in the hospital the day of my mastectomy. In fact I used it until the fabric became threadbare. In addition to the medical benefit, the volunteer who made mine had embroidered a tiny heart near the top of my pillow. I never tucked it under my arm without feeling both physical support and her hugs and emotional caring. I don’t know who made it, but I’m thankful for her to this day, nearly four years later. I carefully packed my comfort pillow away with my other special encouragements that sustained me through a trying time. The power of our needle and threat coupled with our heart is greater than we know. Keep sewing, keep touching others with our gift.

  6. Christie says:

    That’s supposed to be “needle and threaD” not needle and threat!

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