Comfort Pillow

Charity sewing is a wonderful way to give back to the community.  I have a number of tutorials for making items other than quilts for chemo centers and nursing homes on my charity sewing tutorials page.  The Fidget Quilts and Port Softie Seatbelt Pads continue to be popular posts, and today I’ll add another tutorial for a very helpful item.  Comfort Pillows are softly stuffed, larger pillows designed to place under the arm for patients who have had surgery on the chest like heart or breast surgery.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Beginning with 1/3 yard of fabric, open it up, and refold the edge to the center.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Repeat with the other edge.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Then fold in half, meeting the edge folds.  Place the pattern on top with the ‘place on fold’ line on the two folds.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

This will allow you to cut out two pieces at once.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Alternately, cut 2 pieces from individual pieces of fabric, placing the pattern on a fold.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Place fabrics right sides together.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Sew with 1/4-inch hem, leaving a space on the edge about 3-4 inches open to turn the pillow.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Clip the inside curves for turning.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Turn right side out, press the seam smooth and softly stuff with fiberfill.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Topstitch the opening closed.  These pillows are used for a short time then usually discarded, so the closure doesn’t have to be fancy or hand-sewn.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

In a jiffy, the pillows are done.  I put together four in just an hour!  These are so appreciated by local cancer centers and surgical centers.  The design allows the center of the pillow to go all the way up under the arm, allowing them to stay in place with just the weight of the arm with no extra ties or fasteners needed.

Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

Download the free pattern – Comfort Pillow

Aside from using up some stash in a hurry, it is a great use for those fabrics that you bought and now don’t want to use in a quilt anymore.  Just an 11-inch piece of yardage will do, perfect to tie up odds and ends of yardages left over from other projects too.  This green fabric isn’t the same quality as my other quilt fabrics but I didn’t realize that when I got it, so into pillows it went.   The blue and yellow print has a section where the color is fading, but no one will notice that on a pillow.  The more masculine print is one from a bolt I have, we cannot forget that some of the patients are men.

Do you have a special project for charity sewing?

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Comfort Pillows at From My Carolina Home

13 thoughts on “Comfort Pillow

  1. Our guild does soft pillows in heart shapes for breast cancer patients. We add 2 ribbon loops near the top of each heart (on the outer edges of the shape), and provide a length of grosgrain ribbon. The nurse will run the ribbon thru the loop and tie it above the patients shoulder. The grosgrain keeps it from slipping out of position. More info & patterns for all of our charity projects are available in case anyone is interested at

  2. BJ

    What an easy, fast way to provide comfort to those in pain. Have you tried using cutting scraps or batting trimmings as stuffing and, if so, have you gotten any feedback on the uniformity of the feel compared to a fiberfill? I have bags of scraps waiting to be made into dog beds. I’m pretty sure the dogs don’t care about the occasional lumps, but a human might 🙂. I loved making placemats for Meals on Wheels. My late father delivered meals and friendship for years, even after it was difficult for him to get around. He loved seeing the faces of shut-ins light up when he could set up their meal on a special gift like a simple placemat.

  3. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole; This is such a special item to make and share with the charities that give these to the hospitals and other medical places that have a need for these. I know first hand starting with my Dad and his first open heart surgery. He used his pillow for months!! Then one of my Cousins daughters had a baby with a heart defect and had to have open heart surgery a few days after being born. They actually do use the pillows, which are specially made for these babies. I can not remember any of the details, sorry Carole. But it was heart breaking and so inspiring at the same time. She has Downs Syndrome but is (oh goodness my brain died) I think 5 or is it 7. Then of course, my Husband had heart surgery. I just remembered you are a very special and fabulous know all of this already. LOL. Come on you have been rolling your eyes and giggling at me, because I thought I was revealing something so fantastic to you! I am sitting here laughing out loud at myself. I will have to print out the pattern and make up some again, because it has been quite awhile since I have made any. Thank you for sharing and designing patterns plus, doing everything you do to make sure that each of these projects can be printed and created. You, my friend, are a MARVELOUS person! Have a splendid day!

  4. Sally warren

    I like to make quilts using old shirts and other clothing. It’s disappointing to realize a favorite shirt with an interesting fabric isn’t 100%cotton but has some spandex or other undesirable fibers (not good for quilts). These pillows would be a wonderful use for those fabrics because it doesn’t matter if they are all cotton.

  5. dezertsuz

    What a great idea, Carole! I can see how helpful that would be. Thanks for the idea and the pattern to make it. I don’t have anything special I make, just donate quilts and tops.

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