Port Softies for Chemotherapy Patients

This project was a collaboration of several people in my local quilt club.  It was inspired by my friend and fellow quilter, Nancy Fish, and her need for a cushion to cover her port from the seat belt while riding in a car.  She found a quilted cover online, and the group began to make them for our local cancer care center.  The design was modified by our club members over time to the one I’ll show you today.  These go together in a flash, and they are a wonderful way to use up scraps of fabric and batting.   Any hospital or chemotherapy center would love to have them.  Maybe your local group can make some for your local chemo center.  Our local group donates hundreds of these a year to our local cancer centers, who then give them to patients in need.  For those who need one but do not sew, and otherwise have no access to get one, I have some in my Etsy store.

Softie Gold in car

You’ll need the following materials –
2 pieces of fabric 5 x 7 inches for the base
2 pieces of fabric 3-1/2 x 4-3/4 for tabs
2 one-inch squares of velcro hooks and loops
1 piece of batting 4-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches

Port Softies 1

Fold the tab in half longwise, and sew across the short side on one end, pivot and sew down the long side.

Port Softies 2

Leave the other short end open for turning.

Port Softies 3

Turn and press the tabs, then sew the hook side of the velcro to the end of the tab. I use the hook side on all the tabs so I keep it straight when I am making more than one at a time. I made four at a time this day.

Port Softies 5

Place the tabs on the top of one of the pieces of 5×7 fabric about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in from each end velcro side down. Where exactly doesn’t really matter, just place them with some space at the ends and between the two tabs. Pin.

Port Softies 6

Now, turn up the end with the velcro, and mark an ‘X’ on the base to show where the loop side of the velcro should be sewn.

Port Softies 7

Place the loop side of the velcro over the mark, and sew in place.

Port Softies 8

Port Softies 9

Press the tab velcro onto the base velcro.

Port Softies 10

Place the backing 5×7 piece of fabric right sides together with the front unit. Pin through the tabs in line with the edge so they don’t shift inside while sewing.

Port Softies 11

Sew around the softie, pivoting at the corners, and leaving an opening on one short side for turning.

Port Softies 13

Stuff with batting.  Update!  I now use at least 4 layers of batting instead of two, and a bit more stuffing in the middle.

Port Softies 14

Topstitch the opening closed.

Port Softies 15

Continue topstitching around the edge to hold the batting in place. Then, add a bit more batting to the middle.  It seems to be more comfortable for the patients if it is softly stuffed, not firm.

GreenPS3

Remember that men need these too. So, for every floral one I make, I make another one in a more masculine fabric like a plaid.  To use, simply un-hook the velcro and wrap the tabs over the seat belt, press the velcro tabs onto the base and adjust the pad to sit where needed.  It can stay on the seat belt until no longer needed.

Softies mixed

Easy, fast, and everyone that receives one will be grateful for the cushion in the car from those seat belts.  The need is ongoing.  There is likely a need in your local area too.  Please share this as you can, and I hope that more groups will make these for local chemo patients in your area.

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34 thoughts on “Port Softies for Chemotherapy Patients

  1. This is a wonderful idea, Carole. I never had a port for my chemo – my veins were in good enough shape for a stab every three weeks – but I can sure see this being a comfort for those who do. I can also see using it for myself NOW. Even though I’ve had reconstruction, my chest is still tender from having a mastectomy. My seat belt often irritates me. I’ve just been wrenching my clothing around to create a temporary buffer, but one of these would be brilliant! Thanks for the tutorial. I shall make one for myself, and a big batch to share!

  2. Lori M.

    Great idea…so useful…will be making some for my local cancer center…I am a cancer survivor so I see the need for cozy comfy items alot…….

  3. Connie Campbell

    What a wonderful project Carole and a great tutorial! I wish I would have thought of making one for my mom when she had a port.

  4. sheppardgallagher

    My sister just got a port this past week (stage 4 cancer – metastatic melanoma in the lungs). I don’t sew but I would love to find someone who would make one of these with good padding as the port is right next to a painful area. She is only in the car to go to the clinic for chemo/infusion but I know from my husband who had a port for his colon cancer chemo last year, that the seatbelt really makes it painful. Ugh! I had no idea – he never complained, but when I asked (after reading this post), he admitted it was hard to manage (and he just had the port removed last week and it is still tender for him!). If anyone is willing to make me one for my sister, I would be so happy to pay for it and shipping. If this new drug works, she will need treatment as long as she has to live.

    1. So sorry to hear about your sister. I will send you one and I have emailed you for an address. I’ll be making some for my Etsy store for others in the same situation.

    2. Lisa Bragg

      How is your sister now? I was diagnosed to Stage 4 melanoma of the Small bowel and lung…nothing fiund on my skin.I am undergoing Immunotherapy as well.

  5. Beverly

    I made your little softie for a friend of mine. I haven’t given it to her yet, it just seems too thin to be of much help. Thank you for your pattern. I’ll see how much it helps my friend and then I’m planning to get my quilt group to do some more.

  6. I am so happy to have come across this little pad. I see an oncologist, (not for cancer and I don’t have a port) every 3 months and my next appt is Tuesday. I will definitely make a few for him to have in the office to offer his patients. Thank you!

  7. Laurie Basile

    Thank you for sharing the pattern details for the Port Softie. I am a 21-year survivor of breast cancer, and can still remember the discomfort of the seatbelt across the place of my port. What a kind and caring idea! I’m planning to make some to donate to one of the local cancer centers.

  8. Ann

    I can thank you enough for this pattern!
    This is something I have really needed but didn’t think existed! I was just going to somehow figure out how to make one on my own.

    I’m hoping that this will be something I can whip up a bunch of and put at my chemo center for others in the same boat as me!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I stumbled upon it while looking for something to make for a friend who was diagnosed with cancer and it was so useful. I am in the process of making more and writing a blog entry about it. Is it ok if I share a link to your page? Your tutorial was my favorite and so easy to follow. Thank you again for sharing!!

  10. Pamela Frederick

    Used your tutorial yesterday to create six port softies. I enjoyed the process. I hope to take a bunch of softies to my oncologist’s office at my next visit. Thank you for sharing the information.

  11. Karen Phillips

    Thank you for the pattern! I’m going to make one today and then share the idea with our FACS teacher at school so she can consider these for a community service project for our middle school students. I appreciate the detailed tutorial!

  12. I’m so thankful you shared your instructions! My mom just started chemo this week, and I whipped one of these up today before picking her up. She was so appreciative! Will definitely be making more to take with me on future trips to the infusion center. 🙂

  13. Kathy

    Can these be made with fleece and tied around the edges instead on sewn. I am looking for a service project for children from 3rd grade tof 6th grade.

    1. Susan

      I teach 2nd/3rd graders to make these – there was another post about using velcro – 4″ strips and they are stitched with one on each side & they don’t have to make the casing. I’m going to try making the casing with mine tomorrow. My students are loving using the machines – I have five and the students rotate, but if we didn’t have the machines, I’m sure you could make small pillows with the tie ends and then have them learn how to stitch the velcro in place.

  14. Chester

    Thanks so much for sharing your pattern!!! Have made almost 1,000 in the last 8 months. So appreciated by those who receive them.

  15. Carol

    Thanks for the pattern , checked with my local hospital and they were glad to receive some send 24 so far and have 30 more ready to go . Great idea.

  16. My mother will be starting chemo/radiation treatments next week. We live very far apart. I think this little project might be just the thing to add to her care package and close that gap for us. Thank you so much for sharing your process.

  17. Tawny LeeAnn Ryan

    These are a very good way to help others! And I would really love to make them and give to several of the chemo clinic’s we have in our area! I just don’t have a sewing machine and yes I am excellent at sewing by hand and could make them completely from scratch and hand sewn but I just can’t sew as fast as I use to when I was younger!🙏🏼💗😇❣️🦋❣️😇💗🙏🏼!

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