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. Cathy Morris says:

    Funny there are pillow cases here today. I just completed 4 pillow cases for the ConKerr Cancer for kids my quilt guild supports.

  2. Gaile Smith says:

    Lots of great projects.

  3. Brenda Mack says:

    My great-grandson Dillon would love the train pillow case. I have to make it for him.

  4. Cindy Vogan says:

    First time visitor……will definitely be back….I am a beginner, and loving it!

  5. DB says:

    Ingenuous Love it. our guild has given over 500 case we love doing them knowing it makes a child smile!

  6. Janie McCombs says:

    Love all the bee hives!

  7. Eileen Keohane says:

    Love the polka dots and the “I think I can” quilting idea!

  8. carol ableman says:

    This is the first time I’ve visited. It’s a delight to see your projects & how you use your talents . God Bless C

  9. Marie says:

    I love the “I think I can” quilt. I’d love to own an AccuQuilt Go and any Handi Quilter! Some day………….

  10. Jo goldsmith says:

    This pillowcase is soooooo cute ..love it