One Million Pillowcase Challenge

As you probably already know, American Patchwork & Quilting is challenging quilters, sewers, and crafters to help them reach the goal of donating one million pillowcases to local charities. Nearly 508,000 have already been created and donated! Handi Quilter is proud to be one of the sponsors for the One Million Pillowcase Challenge.

American Patchwork and Quilting recently sponsored a Pinterest contest featuring their 20 favorite pillowcase patterns from the One Million Pillowcase Challenge. This pillowcase with a train appliqué received the most pins — and was the winner of the contest. Here’s a link to the pattern if you want to make your own version.

As a sponsor for the One Million Pillowcase Challenge, Handi Quilter was challenged to make our own version of the winning pillowcase. Here’s what we came up with:


Before we fill you in on all of the details of how we made our quilt, we want to first thank the folks at AccuQuilt for generously providing us with the train die so we could use our AccuQuilt GO! Baby Fabric cutter.

Of course, we wanted to do a quilted pillowcase. We think it would be darling as a pillow sham and it would be the perfect addition to a quilt made using the same train appliqué pieces.

Our first step was to select our fabrics.

We consider a variety of juvenile prints, but ended up selecting polka dots from a couple lines from RJR Fabrics:

  • Pillowcase border: Crazy for Dots and Stripes by RJR Fabrics (8172-007)
  • Middle car: Crazy for Dots and Stripes by RJR Fabrics (8174-006)
  • Engine: Crazy for Dots and Stripes by RJR Fabrics (8174-061)
  • Caboose: Crazy for Dots and Stripes by RJR Fabrics (8174-041)
  • Windows: Crazy for Dots and Stripes by RJR Fabrics (8174-101)
  • Wheels: Pin Dots by RJR Fabrics (4928-022)
  • Yellow solid, green hill, and blue inner border fabrics were from our scrap pile

After selecting our fabrics, we used the AccuQuilt GO! Baby to cut our train pieces.

We stitched the green hill fabric onto the yellow pillowcase fabric. Then HQ studio educator Cheryl Duncan created the wording with her embroidery machine and she stitched out “I think I can, I think I can” as if it is the smoke coming out of the train’s smoke stack. Love it!

We next loaded the quilt onto an HQ18 Avanté longarm machine equipped with HQ Pro-Stitcher – yellow backing, 80/20 batting, and the pillowcase top. Now it was ready to quilt.

HQ studio educator Angie Balling selected a digital edge-to-edge design called Blustery Breeze (included with HQ Pro-Stitcher) and quilted the body of the pillowcase.

Next up was to appliqué the train pieces, which we also did on the HQ18 Avanté longarm machine. Angie glue-basted the pieces onto the pillowcase quilt top and used a squiggly, herky-jerky stitch all around their edges. Yep, they’re on there to stay!

All that was left was to finish the pillowcase which we did with a serger.

Another close-up:

This was definitely a group effort. Thanks to Angie to did the cutting, quilting, appliqué, and serging. Thanks to Cheryl for the machine embroidery. And thanks to Nancy for donating the polka-dot fabrics from her stash.

We’re still deciding where we will donate the pillowcase. Perhaps we’ll give it to Primary Children’s Hospital? Or to the Ronald McDonald house? We’ll let you know when and where we donate it.

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19 Responses to One Million Pillowcase Challenge

  1. Colette says:

    I think I can make an “I think I can.” Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book title! Thank you for sharing and providing another pillowcase suggestion!

  2. Cee Dee says:

    Give a pillow case. Make a smile. I would love to quilt better. I still have so much to learn. Thank you for this chance to create and quilt a smile.

  3. Janelle Bucher says:

    Loved the scrappy version of the bee hive quilt. Need to think more about making pillowcases. They are always so cute.

  4. Beverley Reynolds says:

    It is such a bright happy pillowcase. It is not hard to imagine the joy a little boy would have if he was to receive that.

  5. Joanne Wood says:

    I love the more traditional colors in the Utah Quilter ‘s bee hive quilt but I am partial to house quilts right now as I am about to do hand quilting on a house quilt right now. The next quilt I am about to start has the bright colors in the pillowcase challenge. I have a little grandson and it is great learning about seeing colors and patterns through his eyes and hands. Seeing what can be done with the handi quilter products shows how important the right tools are.

  6. Sandra Haak says:

    Great looking pillowcase. Love new ideas. I have one of the original Handiquilter Frames to use with your own sewing machine. Still enjoy quilting with it. You’ve come along way in the last 10 years.

  7. Constance Hill says:

    I am always amazed to see the amazing quilting projects presented. The Utah Quilters presentations were very nice. I am a new quilter but I enjoy each and every minute I can spend quilting and get so excited when I see what other quilters have done.

  8. Randi Johnson says:

    Love designs shown; would love to be winner of 100 Quilt Blocks!

  9. Connie Higgins says:

    Thank you for sharing “Utah Quilters” with us.