When word comes that a family member or a friend will soon begin treatment for cancer, we often feel helpless. Baking and delivering muffins, adding their name to a prayer list, or sending a note of encouragement are some of the common responses. Another idea is to stitch a bag of hope.

Eileen Roche and I decided to each create a bag that we’d give to someone in need. In her blog, which will be posted on May 22, you’ll find Eileen’s option. Neither of us told the other what we’d create, only that we’d include an embroidery from a collection where all the proceeds go toward the Be The Difference Foundation, an ovarian cancer research foundation founded by our friend Helen Gardner.

Purple Batik Bag

Okay, you’re not going to miss seeing this bag. Bright, yet the embroidery says it all. The bag is roomy enough to hold a tumbler, book, knitting or hand sewing project, a hot/cold comfort wrap, and a few other amenities.


Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman



We used the Trace ‘n Create Bag Templates—City Bag Collection and batik fabric for both the outer fabric and lining. To give the bag support, we add fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the outer fabric, ShirTailor to be exact, and a layer of all important craft interfacing, Peltex stabilizer, that I add to every bag I make.


City Bag Template Nancy Zieman



Create Two Embroidery Patches

Choose one of the 20 ribbon embroidery designs from the Embroider a Cure Collection. As mentioned above, all proceeds will go to the Be The Difference Foundation, supporting ovarian cancer research. Use one embroidery for the bag and the other for the Hot/Cold Comfort Wrap.

Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman

Be the Difference Nancy Zieman

  • Transfer the design to your embroidery machine.


Embroider for a cure Nancy Zieman




Embroider for Cure Nancy Zieman



  • I’ll never tire of watching embroideries effortlessly appear on fabric.


Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman



  • Cut the fabric into a 4″ square, obviously we placed the square on point. Add another interfaced square of fabric behind the embroidered square if you’d like.


Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman



  • Determine the placement of the embroidered appliqué. We pinned the side seams of the bag together and “eyeballed” where the word “hope” looked best. Here you can see our position.


Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman



  • Next, satin stitch around the edges. (Yes, I know, the photo shows the satin stitching on the Hot/Cold Comfort Wrap, but you get the idea!)


Embroider for a cure Nancy Zieman



  • Then, finish the bag as per the instructions.

Hot/Cold Comfort Wrap

Chill it in the freezer or heat it in the microwave for about a minute 30 seconds (each microwave will varytest the time), tilt the wrap up and down to move the rice filling, and apply on an area of your body that needs comfort. Trust me, the wrap is soothing and easy to make.

  • Cut a fabric rectangle 13″ x 38″. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, meeting wrong sides; press. Open again.
  • Center the appliqué/embroidery at the lower corner of one side of the rectangle. Pin in place or position with Steam a Seam 2.
  • Satin-stitch along the edges of the appliqué.


Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman



  • Fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch on short end, allowing a narrow seam allowance.


Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman



  • Stitch the lengthwise seam. You’ll notice my wrapped corner technique being applied at the corner.

Embroider for a cure Nancy Zieman



  • Turn right side out. Turn under 1/2″ in the unsewn end; press.

Embroider for a Cure Nancy Zieman



  • Press the fabric flat.
  • Mark the stitching for the “Divider Rows.” ( The divider rows will section off the wrap, allowing the rice filling to move inside the wrap. Yet some of the rice will get trapped in the sections so not all of the rice will fall to the ends.)
  • Mark 6″ in from each end; then every 2-1/2″. Center the rows, making them 2-1/2″ long. Mark ten divider rows.

Stitch the lengthwise seam. You'll notice my wrapped corner technique being applied at the corner.



  • Stitch, backstitching at each row end.
  • Fill the wrap with rice; it’s a two person job. Don’t over stuff it.


Embroider for a cure sew a hot/cold comfort wrap nancy zieman



  • Close the open end; stitch by machine.






Embroider for a cure Nancy Zieman



Please pass along other projects that you’ve sewn, quilted, or embroidered for those in need of healing. We’d all like to learn from you, too!

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Nancy Zieman—author, pattern designer, businesswomen, producer, and national sewing authority—is the host of the popular show Sewing With Nancy®, which appears exclusively on public television stations across the United States and Canada. Follow Nancy’s Blog at NancyZieman.com/Blog and sign up to receive Nancy’s E-News for the latest news in Sewing, Quilting, & Creating.
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