Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Sewing Project

Saturday I invited Lynn and Heather over for a little sewing project.  I had all the supplies ready, and I told them it would take us about two or three hours to complete......boy did I underestimate that!

They arrived about 9:30-10:00, and we promptly began our sewing session with a cup of coffee.  Heather unloaded all of the supplies and equipment that she brought, including her sewing machine, serger, and iron.  I ushered them into my craft/storage room (one side houses my crafting supplies and the rest of the room is our "attic"), showed them the fabric, and explained the project to them.

 our supplies for the day

We made small pillows and drain bag holders for post-mastectomy and post-breast reconstruction surgery patients.  I had two sets of these pillows and bags, plus a apron that held the drain bags too (I didn't use the apron) given to me back in March when I had my mastectomy.  Lifesavers!  Who knew how much comfort a small, simple pillow would give? And the drain bag holders allowed me to move around without worrying that I was going to harm something or pull something out.  While I only used the bags for the week that I had the drains, I slept with those pillows under my arms for over a month.

Our first task was to measure the bags and pillow that I had and then to cut the fabric to the appropriate size.  This was Lynn's first sewing experience, and Heather and I had fun teaching her the basics for measuring and cutting with a rotary cutter.  Measure twice and cut once we told her.  Of course we all made at least one mistake, but it was all ok!  We had the best time cutting and chatting.....and the time was slipping away.  At the two hour mark,   I think we were still cutting!  So much for this being a short sewing project!

 Heather at her seeing machine

 Lynn at the ironing board

 the ribbons for the bags....We actually ran out of ribbon before we were done.

 Some of the bags waiting to be turned and ironed

We sewed and serged and stuffed and ironed and sewed some more....... Around 1:00, we took a short lunch break.  At that point we knew that we were in for a long day!  I was so sorry that I underestimated how long this sewing project would take!  But we had such a good time visiting and working.  It was so much fun!

By mid-afternoon, we knew that we needed some extra help if we were going to finish before bedtime, so we called in some reinforcements:  our daughters!

 Olivia and Julie came downstairs to help.

 And so did Hannah and Sarah (Heather's daughters).

Then my sewing machine began giving me trouble.  It was increasingly more difficult to sew.  The fabric just wasn't moving through the machine like it should.  I commented that something was wrong with my feed dog.  The machine sewed fine in reverse, but finally it completely stopped sewing forward.  I sewed in reverse for a while, but I knew that sewing that way was not the best use of my time.  So, we sent the girls to a friend's house fifteen minutes away to borrow her sewing machine.  The giggly girls were super happy to run an errand that involved Olivia driving them somewhere!
Heather and I got tickled when Lynn admitted that she thought I was just making up some funny word to describe the problem I was having with my machine--the feed dog.  She didn't know that that was a real part of the sewing machine!  

After Jimmy came home from work he periodically checked on us.  He took this picture of our entire group, happily working!  Thankfully, he called us before he came home from work to see if we needed anything---we did---a Coke!  So he brought Lynn, Heather, and me a much appreciated Coke.

 busy ladies!

We kept on sewing and sewing, and the next thing we knew, it was suppertime!  We ordered pizza, and Jimmy picked it up for us.  We took another quick break to eat, and then it was back down to the basement to assess where we were in the project and finish up.

Around 8:00 PM, Lynn and Heather left.  I finished up sewing the last few sets with Olivia's and Julie's help.  And then we were done!  35 complete sets!

 a set

 another set--this set was everyone's favorite!
We used bright, happy fabric for all of our sets.

The sets all bagged and ready to be donated.

Yesterday I delivered the pillows and bags to two different places, The Breast Care Center and the Women First Resource Center.  At both locations, the ladies were delighted with our donation!  And I know first-hand how happy the cute bags and pillows will make future patients.  I even kept one set for myself to use after my upcoming surgery---the brown and purple set.


  1. This makes me smile that you and your friends took the time to be a blessing to others with a homemade gift that was helpful to you. I will praying for you with your surgery and recovery.

  2. They look so cute, and I know y'all had a great time! I'm craving some Roan time. Millie Janalee and I MUST come visit soon!

  3. Great job and what a blessing it will be to many!

  4. Roan, I would love if you would send me a pattern for this. My daughters and I love to sew and we would love to do this as a service project.

    Did you make a pattern for cutting? Not that you have all the time in the world! But maybe sometime in the future you could email it to me.


    Thanks! You are such a blessing!

  5. Hello,
    I was wondering is there a pattern for this? My SIL will have her double mastectomy on June 12, 2013. Finally, something I can physically DO to help her, I'd love to make her own drain bags and pillows..

    You and your friends are AWESOME!

  6. Wonderful! What a great idea and such a blessing to others.
    keep up the God work.

  7. Thank you for this! I pinned it to pinterest so I can find it again easily, I"ll be making a set for myself very soon.

  8. Hello, great idea and would love to do something myself for our Military & Veterans. Do you have a pattern? Would love something to use as a guide.
    Thank you.

  9. Do you have a set of these that you could send me for my surgery?