Learn more about Pretty Pockets ™ 
-- an international giving project profiled on national public television's Sewing with Nancy Zieman show

Got thread? Join us!

Sew fun, discreet drain bulb covers as FREE GIFTS for breast cancer surgery patients. Scroll down to read more and view the sewing template. 

Click HERE  to see Nancy's show. Scroll to 19:29 on her Quick Column Quilts: Part 2 episode. 

Perhaps you know someone who had surgery and was left to recover with unsightly and uncomfortable dangling drains? That's what happened to me.

Evolution of Pretty Pockets

In March 2011, I awoke from an anesthesia-induced sleep to find myself flanked by four drains, two on each side of my upper body, following breast surgery. Pinned inside my hospital gown, the drains were heavy and uncomfortable against raw skin. So, my partner ingeniously ripped apart a pair of our youngest daughter’s flannel pajama bottoms to wrap around each bulb. And, I wore soft, fuzzy drain-bulb covers for the duration of my recovery. At the hospital, I met another cancer patient who carried her bulbs in a brown paper bag stapled to her waistband. Quietly, she admitted it was nerve wracking and embarrassing to corral those dangling drains. And, the need and concept for Pretty Pockets TM  fully materialized at that moment as --- a discreet and spirited way to secure post-surgical drains

Our family began production at home only a few hours after my discharge; and we've distributed thousands of pocket as FREE HANDMADE GIFTS for breast cancer patients since 2011. 

Click HERE for the pattern and instructions. Then, keep reading! 
Note:  To view the volunteer packet, you will need Adobe Reader©. Click HERE to download the latest version.

Stitching Sensations Timeline


-- Pretty Pockets created in March 2011
-- easy sewing project, using scraps of soft flannel
-- BIG VALUE as a gift to breast cancer patients
-- can modify pattern for various drain bulbs
-- available in 46 states and 9 countries
-- connecting people all across the world
-- meaningful giving project

Get the Pattern HERE!

From that point, so many wonderful people have stitched together the story of Pretty Pockets TM..... I owe much credit to:
  • Margaret and Dallas Arthur for being "cautiously optimistic" and teaching me the best things in this life are free!
  • Annemarie Merow for finding the most unique solutions when others see only roadblocks!
  • Judy Merow for cutting and stitching hundreds of pockets without ever paying full price for fabric; and David Merow for driving to all the quilt shops!
  • Michael Schultz, MD and the Breast Center staff at the Cancer Institute of The University of MD/St. Joseph's Medical Center for stockpiling my crazy notion and adopting it as part of your own healing medicine!
  • Regina Barry for opening her heart and classroom to host multiple Sew-Ins!
  • Kaitlyn Carr for jotting quite a few good words about our project in the local newspaper!
  • Rob Newton (Designs by SiCK) for promoting and promoting and promoting Pretty Pockets TM on her company's blog since October 2013!
  • Debby Wright for referring our giving project to Nancy Zieman in 2014!
  • Nancy Zieman and her amazing Wisconsin Public Television staff for graciously inviting me to share this story so others may benefit!
  • YOU! for joining us on this amazing journey! 

From Homemade Gifts to Worldwide Giving Project

To date, I've shared the Pretty Pockets' pattern with thousands of folks (from 46 states and 9 countries). Nearly everyone who's contacted me has recounted a lovely, personal story. 

  • One surgeon places Pretty Pockets in surgery 'survival bags' for her mastectomy patients. Another opened a mastectomy boutique, offering pockets to patients. My own surgeon carries pockets in his briefcase while his staff distributes them to patients before surgery. 
  • Representatives from sewing guilds, church groups and clubs are embracing Pretty Pockets as a giving project to share with local hospitals and cancer centers. Scout troops and other young women are learning about breast exams and cancer prevention while 'giving back' to their communities. Families, friends and individuals are stitching pockets as tributes to loved ones and gifts for patients in need. 
These stories are familiar and heartwarming. Often I find handwritten cards in the mailbox or grateful messages on my voice mail. Sometimes, I even find bags of beautifully-finished pockets on my side porch. But, what I have found most, during this Pretty Pockets' journey, is JOY! 

I am honored to share a small role in the creation of a multi-faceted, giving movement that sparks joy in so many people. 
Thank you all for giving your time, energy, donations, and talent! 

Many blessings!
:] Maryanne 

Pretty Pockets across the Globe