Breast Cancer DIY

...created by women with breast cancer, for women and men with breast cancer!

Helping Others

     Mastectomy Pillow
     Pattern for Chemo Caps- Knit or Crochet
     Breast Cancer Fashions
     Starting Your Own Group
     Other Ideas
     Quilt of Breast Cancer Scarves  
     Making Memories 
House cleaning Help during Chemo


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What can I do?
How can I help? 
I'd like to do something, 
but I don't know what to do!

These questions come up again and again on how we can give back to those we care about while our loved ones go through the journey of breast cancer.

Here are some ideas that we hope will help you.

Mastectomy Pillows

A very special way of giving to others...

Directions for Mastectomy Pillows

Don't stress over these pillows - it is not brain surgery

they can be a tad larger or smaller - these are sizes

that have worked for me.  Adjust size of pillow cover

to undersize or oversize pillows. 


Use soft white/beige cotton materials

All seams are 1/4"

Cut a piece    16"  by 11"     ( or  2  --- 8" x  11")


Fold material to make a 8" x 11" piece or put 2 pieces together

Sew the edges (1/4" seam) - leaving one short side for stuffing.

Turn inside out and use steam iron to make edges flat



   I use batting used for quilts -- 

   cut a piece  14"  x 10"

   Fold to form  7" x  10" piece and insert in  prepared pillow casing

   Use Fiberfill type stuffing – in between the layers of quilt batting

                   (This allows for it being fluffy without lumps)


Do not overfill -- pillow should not be more than about 2 1/2" in

height when you finish stuffing.  Shift stuffing so there are no lumps.


Turn the edges inward where you stuffed pillow - so no frayed edges

are present -- sew the two ends together   using 1/4" seam



Pillow cover

Use "happy fabric of 100% cotton"

finished size:  8"  x 11"  approximately


Cut :   14"   x  16"   or      2 -  14"  x  8 1/2"

(If you can use selvage for the 14" side you save having to do an extra fold

If you cannot use selvage - you can either turn the end over, or use pinking shears)

Sew the 16" side  -2"  to make the open end of the pillowcase.

(if you need to do a double fold so no frayed edges are open - do it before you sew it)

Fold material in half and sew to make the pillow cover.

The love you sew into your pillow will help beyond measure!

You can also add a saying or sentiment to the pillow cover.  Ours says:
"A gift to you from
Breast Cancer DIY
Do It Yourself, But Not Alone!"

The pillow is to be used after surgery.  You put it under the affected arm, so when your arm is at your side, it does not put pressure on the stitches, or create pressure on the breast area that has stitches.  This small pillow can be used in either direction, whichever is most comfortable.  Many people use it the long way, finding it more comfortable when walking around; and the short way when sitting.  This way it doesn't bunch up, or create pressure.  It can be used whichever way feels best, there is not right or wrong way, just what feels good for you. If you have a chemo port we have found that it can also cushion your port while you are driving or a passenger in a vehicle as the seatbelt usually hits right over the port.

Don't want to sew, but still want a pillow?  click here

Special Thank You to:
Judy, Cynthia, Heidi ,Karen, Faten,  and Marianne (Needles & Pins Long Arm Quilting)and the quilting guilds in Hemet, CA for donating batting and stuffing and fabric for the  pillows! 

 BCDIY 's volunteers have made and distributed over 3000 mastectomy pillows to the patients at the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Palm Springs, San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning, CA, and will be supplying pillows to the newly opened Loma Linda University Medical Center in Murrieta, CA., Michelle's Place in Temecula CA,  as well as to local surgeons and oncologists.  

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Chemo Caps as Gifts

We are now offering chemo caps that are all hand knitted or crocheted from our Webstore.
Please check them out -- we can also offer special made ones in a specific color - just advise us what color you would like.

Chemo Cap Patterns-Knit & Crochet

We are thankful to Bernat for allowing us to include their pattern on our website: directions are in English & French
These caps are easy enough for the beginner, and so appreciated by patients.

Used with Permission of Bernat, Lily or Patons

Quilt of Cancer Scarves

Here is a unique idea for anybody (friend or family) of somebody you know with breast cancer:

Linda Hill in Hemet, CA made a quilt from her daughter, Debi Givens, breast cancer scarves that she wore during and after chemotherapy.  This is a fabulous idea, and one that we find heartfelt.  Here is the finished product:


Linda Hill, Hemet lrg bc scarf quilt   Breast Cancer DIY  Breast Cancer DIY 
click thumbnail photos

 We  will be offering what we are calling "Chemo Quilts"  If you are interested in buying one as a gift, just e-mail us, and we will be glad to make a special one with a dedication from you to your friend or relative, the price will depend upon the size, we will advise pricing once we get this area of our webstore going.   email us at for information.


Breast Cancer Fashions

Often we don't know what to buy or give that person going through breast cancer.  Some things you might want to give strictly from yourself, or you might want to get together with a few other people and purchase something nice.  Whatever you decide, please know that your generosity and love will be appreciated.

Please check our Fashion: Post Mastectomy webpage.

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Starting Your Own Group

Sometimes it’s not always easy to drive to a support group in another city – especially with today’s economy.  You might be thinking about creating a support group in your town, and we hope these references will help you:

Living with Breast Cancer:
A Guide for Facilitating Self-Help Groups
see at

    ISBN-10: 1896998070
    ISBN-13: 978-1896998077

Cancer Self-Help Groups: A Guide
see at
    ISBN-10: 1552094782
    ISBN-13: 978-1552094785


Check with your local library!

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Other Ideas...

Many of these items can be obtained by contacting your local breast cancer/oncology offices.

 Offer to drive your friend to Doctor Visits.

 Cancer magazine subscription. (see our list)

 Breast Cancer books. (see our list)

 Make something yourself, from your heart, even breast cancer shoelaces are fun!

 Help them research the information they want and need from the internet or library.

 Simply listen!


If you know any woman currently undergoing chemotherapy, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning - once per month for 4 months while she is in treatment. All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service. This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women. It's our job to pass the word and let them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing to someone and pass this information along.


Making Memories...

Their mission is to grant wishes, including memory-making events, for metastatic breast cancer patients, while continuing to support, educate and increase resource awareness.  At Making Memories, they are dedicated to providing a spark of joy into the lives of women and men who are losing their battle against breast cancer. We are happy to promote this wonderful organization.

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