Links to patterns:

What started as a simple e-mail request sent out over the Internet from an Arizona foster parent asking individuals who loved to sew to be part of a project to help Arizona foster kids has turned out to be a huge success. Only expecting to receive about 300 kid-friendly pillowcases/dufflebags by the end of the year, the Scottsdale resident and foster parent Adriane Grimaldi has already received 9,500 kid-friendly pillowcases from various individuals since February 2008.

When a child is taken from a home that has been deemed unsafe by Child Protective Services (CPS), the child may take only a small amount of toys, clothes, and personal belongings. Many times, CPS workers just don’t have enough suitcases to use so when a child arrives at a child crisis center, group home, or foster home many times they arrive with literally one or two large black trash bags full of personal items.

Grimaldi and her husband have had two foster children arrive at their home with their personal belongings in black trash bags and thought how demeaning it was and not very kid-friendly. “I thought how traumatic is it that they are already being taken out of the home for whatever reason but to have personal things they treasure put in trash bags is also pretty bad,” said Grimaldi. She wondered why kid-friendly king-sized pillowcases with backpack straps or dufflebags couldn’t be used instead?

“I’m not a great sewer but I purchased a number of kid-friendly pillowcases and sewed a drawstring into them,” she said. “At least 400 others individuals have come forward interested in helping with the project. “It’s been really touching to see how many want to get involved to help. I’ve been contacted by people who just sew for fun to organized sewing groups to teachers who are going to make this part of a service learning project for their students.” Even Boy Scouts are taking on this project for their Eagle Scout Project.

“It’s been awesome to see how many people are wanting to make a difference in a child’s life,” she added. While doing Internet research, Grimaldi found other states that are doing this kind of sewing project.

The pillowcases or dufflebags will be given to the local CPS offices and child crisis centers to use when they remove a child out of a home. Feedback from CPS has been that the kids really love the pillowcases/dufflebags that have backpack straps so they can sling it over their shoulders.

Grimaldi found two websites that offer simple patterns for the pillowcases and dufflebags:

If you are interested in helping in this Sewing Project to Help Foster Kids, contact her at