One Million Pillowcase Challenge

Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I had tried my hand at sewing and that it wasn't half-bad? Well, today I'm going to show you exactly what I was up to!

Last Saturday, I got together with a few of the great girls that I met back in June at the Etsy Craft Party. They've since joined forces to become Handmade Miami, a collective of local creatives and Etsians that get together for monthly Crafternoons and small business workshops.

Every month features a different craft or project, which is perfect for those of us (me!) who are itching to learn a new skill. Our August project was dedicated to the One Million Pillowcase Challenge, sponsored by American Patchwork & Quilting. Its purpose is to round up sewers across the country to create pillowcases for donation to local hospitals, shelters and nursing homes. The batch we sewed up will be heading to Miami Children's Hospital later this month!

So, back to the story. After spending a good long hour browsing the bolts at Jo-Ann, I selected two prints that I hope will bring a little cheer to boys and girls staying at MCH. With fabric in hand, I headed to Diana's garage-turned-pillowcase-factory.

See what I mean by factory? It was awesome!

First stop: the cutting table

After cutting my pieces and pinning them together, I hemmed and hawed for a bit before heading to the machines. (Remember that cautious fear I was talking about?) Then Julie, my sewing angel, sat me down and taught me the basics. It took me a little to get the hang of guiding the fabric, though. (I learned that when my fingers are dangerously close to the presser foot, it almost gives Julie a heart attack. Sorry, Julie!) Long story short, I sewed on a machine all by myself and survived with all ten fingers intact and pinprick free!

Plus, with the burrito/roll-up/tube/it-has-many-names method, attaching the band to the pillowcase was a cinch! I failed to take photos of that step (bad, Marissa!), but I'll try to make up for it by linking to this great video that explains the process.

Pressing the piece before top-stitching

Now I'm not going to lie, there were some wobbles in my lines. For the most part, they were fairly straight... but the couple of wiggles that they had drove me crazy. Hopefully the little ones who receive my pillowcases won't be as scrutinizing as I am and can forgive this first-timer! :o)

Once I sewed the L-shaped seam that formed the pillowcase, Diana ran the piece through the serger to finish off the raw edges.

Talk about serious machinery!

After a final press with the iron to smooth everything out, my pillowcases were finished! I made two, each with a contrasting band. All told, the Handmade Miami ladies cranked out 30 pillowcases! Not too shabby!

At the time of this post, there are 135,541 pillowcases on the official challenge counter. While that's awesome, there's still a looooong way to go to reach a million. (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.) Why not add a case or two to the count? It's easy to do, feels great, and you can boast a cute little badge like the one in my sidebar on your own blog!

If you're a South Florida crafter, please check out the Handmade Miami blog or Facebook fan page. You'll find information on upcoming events (like confection making at Wendy's Chocolates!) and meet other cool and crafty guys and girls in the area. :o)

So... what's the verdict on my first sewn project for human consumption? (I did make a "Tinkerbella" costume for our Yorkie a few years ago... but that doesn't count.)



  1. I love the fabrics you picked! and I agree w/ BigAppleNosh, this sounds like an amazing cause :)


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