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February 2020: Fiddle pillows for Dementia Australia

Date Posted:1 February 2020 

February 2020: Fiddle Pillows main image


DEMENTIA AUSTRALIA logo Dementia Australia represents a bolder, stronger voice for people impacted by dementia. They are committed to building an inclusive future where all those impacted by dementia receive the care and support they need and choose.

Dementia Australia works with individuals and families, all levels of government and other key contributors to ensure people of all ages suffering from dementia have the appropriate support behind them. They provide support services, education and information regarding dementia to address the issues that are faced every day.

Fiddle-pillow We're joining Dementia Australia and their vision by sewing fiddle pillows for dementia patients. These pillows provide gentle sensory stimulation with different fabrics, textures, colours and objects attached to the pillow. They are used as a calming tool and to give the user a relaxing tactile experience.

Sewalongs are a great way to get inspired by what everyone creates, while giving to a worthy cause. If you’re new to sewing or embroidering this is a great chance to get involved and have fun no matter what the outcome. Any excuse to put your sewing and embroidery machines to good use is a great one.


Please note: The charity has kindly requested for no patterned fabric to be used.

  • 1 x Fat quarter of plain cotton fabric - pillow top (20" x 20" square)
  • 1 x Fat quarter of textured fabric - pillow back e.g. Corduroy, velvet, fur fabric, linen, satin
  • 1 x 6" square plain fabric (used for large circle)
  • 1 x 4" square textured fabric (used for small circle)
  • 2 x buttons
  • Various ribbons of different textures and styles: Organza, satin, decorative ribbons (We have used 3 x ric rac large and small, cord, decorative or regular elastic)
  • Thread for applique and piecing
  • Toy stuffing
  • 1 x Wooden pole ring (we got ours from the Bunnings curtain department)

You can download our Placement Plan to follow. This is a guide as to where we have placed the fabric, ribbons, objects on our pillow. Otherwise, feel free to make your own. Download Placement Plan →


    1. Cut each fat quarter to 10" x 12", set aside.
    2. Cut out your applique pieces:
      - 1 x 5 ½" circle
      - 1 x 3" circle
      - 1 x 3" by 3" square
      (Refer to Placement Plan)
    3. Cut ribbons and ric rac embellishments and set aside (see below):
      - For the 5 ½" circle - cut 8 ribbons and ric rac embellishments - (4-5 inches long for each piece).
      - For the 3" x 3" square - cut 2 pieces of elastic (1 x 3" and 1 x 6").
      - For the outer edge cut 1 x 9" piece for both the organza ribbon and ric rac. Also cut 1 x 10" piece of white satin ribbon for the wooden ring.


Prepare embellishments for stitching onto cotton fabric.

  1. Stitch ric rac on top of 9" organza ribbon - set aside.
    Stitch ric rac on top of 9inch organza ribbon
  2. Take wooden pole ring and thread it onto the 10" piece of satin ribbon. Pin the ribbon to hold together - set aside.
  3. Attach elastic to each side of the 3" x 3" square using a matching thread.

Sewing applique shapes onto pillow

  1. Place the 5 ½" circle onto the top of the plain cotton fabric near the bottom.
  2. Select the 8 ribbon & ric rac pieces and fold in half. Slip the raw edge under the blue circle and position the 8 pieces evenly around the circle.
  3. Select a matching thread to the 5 ½" circle and stay stitch as close to the edge around the outside of the circle to hold the embellishments in place. Choose a decorative stitch - we used a blanket stitch. Sew around the outside of the circle covering the raw edge and stay stitching.
  4. Change thread to match the 3" circle. Stay stitch circle onto the top of the 5½" circle. Choose a decorative stitch and sew around the outside of the circle covering the raw edge and stay stitching.
  5. Attach the buttons onto the top of the 3" circle and draw or stitch a smiley mouth (we have done this using a Pintor Pen).
  6. Change thread to match the 4" square. Place the square at the top of the cotton fabric. Fold the elastic in half & slip the raw edge of the elastic under the square (refer to Placement Plan). Stay stitch as close to the edge around the outside of the square to hold the elastic in place, then choose a decorative stitch and sew around the outside covering the stay stitching and raw edge.

Sewing embellishments to outer edge of pillow

  1. Pin the organza ribbon 1" in from the top left hand corner of the pillow. Using a ¼" seam, sew the organza ribbon onto the edge of the pillow.
  2. Pin the satin ribbon with the wooden pole ring 2" down from the right hand corner of the pillow. Using a ¼" seam, sew the satin ribbon onto the edge of the pillow.


  1. Fold and pin the ribbons into the middle of the pillow to ensure they don't get caught in the seams.
  2. With the right side of the pillow facing up, lay the backing fabric on top.
  3. Pin in place, and using the edge of your foot as a guide, stitch around the outside of the pillow leaving a 2" gap for turning inside out and stuffing.
  4. Remove the pins and clip the corners.
  5. Turn in the right way, remove the pins that were holding the ribbons onto the pillow.
  6. Stuff the pillow with toy stuffing and slip stitch the gap closed.


This sewalong will run from 1st - 29th February 2020.


The pillow can be dropped in or posted to any of the Echidna stores during the month of  the sewalong. Please send any donations made after the sewalong month directly to the charity:

Dementia Australia PO Box 8141 Woollongabba QLD 4102 Australia


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