My dearest friend’s little sister, Brea, recently had her third child. He was born at 27 weeks and four days and was a teeny, tiny 1125 grams. Thankfully he is growing bigger and stronger every day. Brea and her baby are still in hospital in Hobart. I was keen to help out but was struggling to come up with ideas due to the distance.
Coincidentally, Brea mentioned on Facebook that there was a shortage of peanut pillows for premmie babies at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Now, never having had a premature baby I had no idea about peanut pillows. But, once I’d seen a picture I was confident I could make one and had found the perfect way to offer a small amount of help.
Brea sent me a PDF pattern for the peanut pillow but there were no instructions! I trawled the internet for a tutorial, with absolutely no success. While the pattern was simple, never having seen a peanut pillow in the flesh it was difficult to envisage how to put it together. I found a few images and then did my best. Brea has seen a picture of my first peanut pillow and I seem to have got it right.
I’ve put together this peanut pillow tutorial for sewing pillows for premmie babies. Generally the pillows should be made from soft, brightly coloured cotton in a smoke and pet free home and use synthetic fibre fill.
Peanut pillow tutorial
Step one – cut four pieces of material. To make things simpler, mark the sew lines on the right sides of your fabric. Marking the sew lines makes sewing the rectangle in step 6 so much easier! I only did this on the very last peanut pillow I made and wished I’d done it for the first 5. Next time I’ll take my own advice!
Step two – place two pieces of fabric right sides together. Starting at the point of a short end, sew along the short edge, then along the long edge and to the point of the other short end. Imagine a shape kind of like this \_______________/, but with more angle and curve. Repeat with the other two pieces of fabric. You should then have two boat like pieces.
Step three –Pin your two boat like shapes, right sides together, along the unsewn edges. Starting at one of the ‘sew lines’, sew the two pieces together, stopping when you get to the other sew line on the same side. Be sure to leave about a 5cm gap between the sew lines. This is where you will fill the pillow. Turn the pillow right sides out.
Step four – Fill either end of the pillow. The space between the two sew lines is not filled. That area of the pillow essentially sits flat and is only the layers of fabric.
Step five – This is the tricky part. Pinch and fold the fabric between the sew lines together and pin, matching the sew lines together. You need to create a flat rectangle area between the two ‘peanut’ ends. You’ll essentially be pining eight layers of fabric together on each side.
Step six – This step is also fiddly. You need to sew a rectangle, by sewing along the sew lines and the edges of the pillow. Sewing along the edges of the pillow will also close the gap where you filled the pillow. Be sure to increase your stitch length and go slowly. You will need to gently push the stuffing to the side as you sew. Once you’ve sewn the rectangle, cut your threads and your peanut pillow is complete!
Peanut pillows are widely used throughout hospitals caring for premmie babies. I’ve sent these to the Royal Hobart Hospital but I imagine there is a demand for peanut pillows in other hospitals. If you’re a sewer and fancy doing a good deed I am sure your local hospital would be grateful for some peanut pillows. They are super quick to sew and use only a small amount of fabric.
Have you ever made a peanut pillow? If you have I’d love to know if this is the process you used!