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What's a million?

What's a million?

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Easy answer - a lot.  Better answer - a seriously cool goal that will be reached one day soon.


That's Noa Pogany.  She's eleven.  She learned how to sew last year and since then, she's made 100 pillowcases to donate.  She then delivered the pillowcases to the pediatric intensive care unit of a local hospital - with her mom's help.  Allison - Noa's mom - said that "these pillowcases were going to be the only things to brighten up these kids' rooms, and show the kids and their parents that people outside of the hospital were thinking about them."

In 2010, the editors and staff at American Patchwork & Quilting challenged sewists to help reach the goal of donating 1 million pillowcases to local charities and to date, more than 687,000 pillowcases have been recorded on the challenge tote-board.


This year will mark American Patchwork & Quilting's 3rd annual One Million Pillowcase Challenge 24-Hour Sew-a-Thon charity event.  Starting at 3:00 pm on Friday, September 16th and running through 3:00 pm on Saturday, September 17th, sewists of all ages are invited to the Meredith Corporation's offices in Des Moines, Iowa to sew pillowcases for local charities.  All supplies will be provided free and staff will be on hand to help participants with making the easy roll-it-up method pillowcase.  (It's a cool, clever way of making pillowcases but I'm glad I had help the first time I made one... it was a little confusing to yours truly.  Of course, if I'd read the terrific instructions in this PDF... that might have helped.)

Moda is a sponsor of the event and that means everybody makes pillowcases!  Even the Moda designers get involved.  A few years ago, Me & My Sister - Barb Groves and Mary Jacobson - made pillowcases they donated to a Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix, Arizona.


Moda had an in-house sew-a-thon a few years ago and last year, a big group of us went to a local quilt shop to sew with them.  This time, almost 80 "kits" were cut and stacked, ready to be rolled and sewn into pillowcases for an in-house sew-a-thon.  So on Wednesday, the ladies and gentlemen of the warehouses came over in shifts to make pillowcases.

There were a few "never sewn a stitch before" beginners and several "old pros" in the group, and by the time they were finished with their pillowcases, several were asking for the pattern so they could make some for their kids and grandkids.


  • Row 1: Dominic - Mary - Juan - Clay
  • Row 2: Karen - Rachel & Maria - Theresa -Sharon
  • Row 3: Doris - JJ - Linda - MaryAnn
  • Row 4: Sally - Shun - Gary - Eva


  • Row 1: Ellie - Kyle - James - Martha
  • Row 2: Gabriela - Cheryl - Tammy & Lissa - Victor
  • Row 3: Demonte - Letitia - Patrick - the awesome warehouse manager who helped get everyone scheduled - Mariza
  • Row 4: Mariza, Kathy, Aida & Eladia - Joy - Megan - Holly - she didn't pose for a picture with her finished pillowcase


Beverly and Maria - long story... let it suffice to say they're both extra-special.

Jamie and Susan both made several pillowcases... and both ducked out before they could have their pictures taken.  (They came back when the phones and cameras were put away.)

Because we had a birthday girl or two in the house - Lissa and Sally - we had a couple of extra-special visitors.  This is Lissa and her son, Bo, and grandson, Nolan.  (Bo is Nolan's uncle.)  Yes, Bo made a pillowcase.  (With a super-quilter as a Mom, he does know his way around a sewing machine.)


At the end of the day, our count was 94 pillowcases.  By the time they're delivered on Monday, I think there will be a few more... more than a few of us think we needed to have at least 100.


We used the easy Roll-It-Up Method Pillowcase, but if you'd like to get a bit fancier, there are now 59 free pillowcase patterns available from American Patchwork - the "allpeoplequilt" folks.


For more information on the event - Million Pillowcase Sew-A-Thon.  If you're not in Des Moines and would like to find a participating shop in your area, American Patchwork can help with their list of 24-Hour Sew-A-Thon Shops.

Whether you're at an event or sewing with a friend, making a pillowcase to give is a good thing.  As Linda Augsburg, the Editor of American Patchwork said, "A handmade pillowcase seems like a simple thing, but it can ease the fears of a sick child while in the hospital, provide comfort to a teen as they move to a new foster home or give hope to a family who recently lost everything in a tornado, flood or fire."

There are more than 20 million quilters in the United States and if every one of us made just one pillowcase to donate... we'd blow by that goal in time to watch the football games on Sunday.

Happy Sewing!









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