Monday, August 19, 2013

Million Pillowcase Challenge

One pillowcase can bring a smile, can bring comfort, it can bring so much more to one child that we remember sometimes.

4 years ago American Patchwork & Quilting started the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge
Their plan is simple!
1. Make a pillowcase (or more)
2. Donate it to a local charity in your area
3. Add the number of pillowcases you donated to their online counter.
Image from APQ -
I learned about the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge when it started, but it really had an impact on me when my nephew Elijah was in the hospital. It was very difficult for him to be away from all the simple things at home he loved. His clothes, his bed, and his pillows. I made him another quilt & some "fun" shirts where the doctor could access his lines. Then I started thinking about the pillowcase challenge.

I made a Elijah a few new pillowcases and I also made one for the girl in the room next door to him at the hospital.

Recently the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge hit the half way point of their goal!

APQ hosted a Pinterest contest & asked people to vote for their favorite pillowcase. This train pillowcase won the contest.
Image from APQ -

For my pillowcase I decided to make the train a bit shorter & have it all on the band of the pillow. I fused the pieces in place and then appliqued them in place with a small zig zag. After that I folded the band in half to enclose all of the stitching inside the band.
Then I used the "Roll it up" technique to make the rest of the pillowcase. I decided to use a train print from Ann Kelle's Ready, Set, Go! collection for Robert Kaufman.

Ready, Set, Go! by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman 
 Pure Organic Solids by Robert Kaufman

I'll be donating my pillow to a local charity in hopes that it can bring a smile to another child in treatment.


There are over 35 free pillow patterns available from 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. Find a shop or group that is sewing them in your area and join a great cause!
Image from APQ -

Elijah Update

Thank you for all of your support for Elijah over the last few years. Elijah was Diagnosed with Pre-B ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) on Dec 1st 2010.

Elijah is doing well with treatment and will be starting 1st grade this fall. He recently participated in Course of the Force to help raise awareness & funds for Make-A-Wish. He has under 200 days of Chemo left in his 3+ years course of treatment.
Aliyah, Brad & Elijah at 2013 Course of the Force.

© Blog post written by Julie Herman
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mascanlon said...

Cute, cute... And the bravest guy!

Nancy M. said...

always sadder for me whne it is a child that has to go through so much. so glad that he will be done with all that chemo etc before long.

I love the train pillowcase. so very cute.

Sandy said...

I love the pillow case & know first hand how they
Brighten a child's day! You never cease to amaze me
That even with your oh so busy schedule, You always
Find the time to 'give back' Your kindness &
Compassion make me proud!

Karee said...

Blessings you and your son. Something that helped our son during his hospital stays was art therapy.

Watercolor brushes are easier for hands & arms with IVs. He painted his feelings (on good quality wc paper) and still has the series.

He is considering using this art for a children's book about dealing with feelings when you are a medically challenged child. He is now 29, with 2 children of his own.

And I love the Million Pillowcase challenge. Even youths can complete such a gift of love in less than 2 hrs!

Sandy said...

Wow, what a long haul for the little guy. I have still been reading your blog, not leaving too many comments. Thanks for the update!

Qltr89 said...

I love how you modified the train pillowcase to just be on the band. And the smokestack is too cute! You really thought through your pillowcases. I also use the Roll It Up technique, it is so clean without the seams.

Margs Primitive Quilts said...

I LoVe the train pillow case. What child would not love to get that? Just to brighten anothers day, that does it for me. I belong to a Quilt Guild & we make pillow cases for our local Childrens" Hospital. There is a young child in our area fighting a rare Cancer and he takes then for us to hand out to his "fellow" fighters. Such a worthy cause.His Mom says he takes it every time he has to go in. Sort of his "Security Blanket." All the kids just LoVe them

Alison said...

Julie, this program is wonderful.
I'm sorry it was so close to home for you and your family.
It is amazing where you read about Make-A-Wish. I work for this organisation in Australia.
With warmest best wishes.
Alison Hingston

Rina Mason said...

I love the million pillowcase challenge. Back in the dark ages I spent my first 18 years in and out of the hospital and we weren't allowed things like this because of the fear of germs. I would have loved receiving a bright cheerful pillowcase and since I didn't I'm trying to make up for it now. Anytime I have a spare minute I make one. It's so easy and cost so little. I am at 80 for the year and hope to double that by the end of the year. Guess I better get sewing!

KatheG said...

Love your pillowcase. You do such beautiful work. Elijah's looking great! Continued blessings to you all.

Bennett and Graves said...

Thanks for the reminder about the pillow case challenge. I've made many many pillowcases for family and friends and also donated thru a local quilt shop. They are a fun and easy project when you just feel like making something and what a great cause. My son and family travel a great deal and they always have the kids pick two pillowcases each to take along so where ever they sleep it feels familiar.

Karen said...

Love that train pillowcase! I recently learned how to make French seams to make my pillow cases a bit neater! I want to make some for donation. Hugs to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Love your pillowcases - you've picked great fabrics. I'm so pleased to see Elijah looking so good in the Course for the Force photo.