Introduction: Fashionable PICC Line Covers for Chemotherapy Patients

Who am I?

Not a practiced sewer for sure! I am a medical doctor and recently went through breast cancer treatment. And I didn't want to be treated as sick. So, I made "PICC Line Covers" up. Some of my friends didn't even realize I had a medical line under the PICC line cover.

For veteran sewers feel free to experiment with improving the design!

What's A PICC Line?

When a cancer patient gets chemotherapy they need to get their medications through an intravenous line. Many get a PICC line in because it stays in through the length of their chemotherapy treatment. Months for most people. A plastic bandage is adhered over the line when its not in use. Then it is further covered with a white mesh.

What use are PICC Line Covers?

* I didn’t like looking medicalized with the white meshy. With the cover, I look...fashionable?

* It stops shirts from catching on the line.

* It protects the plastic covering. (And if you want to scratch VERY gently, you can do it over the top of the cover.)

* Protects it at night while sleeping.

Step 1: Picking Fabric

Use 4 way stretch fabric. Some users find smooth slippery fabric the best for getting clothing on and off over top of it. But this may be preference so just try some different fabrics out.

Step 2: Sizing for the Cuff

1. Measure your arm circumference at the widest part of your upper arm. If you already have a PICC line in you may want to just measure your other arm.

2. The size is about 2.5 cm smaller than your upper arm circumference. It should be snug without being tight. Too tight and you may cause swelling of the arm or a clot to form. If you are wearing it and its causing "sock" lines in the arm it is definitely too tight. If it slides off your arm...too loose. Different materials don't stretch the same amount. So depending on the material you may need a slightly tighter or looser measurement for your cuff.

Step 3: Making a Template: Width

I made the shoulder end of the cuff about 2.5 cm smaller than the desired finished arm circumference. So if your arm measures 33 cm around then you would make the top end 30.5 cm.

The elbow end I made around 2.5 cm smaller than the top. So for this example the bottom end would be 28 cm wide. My template folds this in half.

Seem margin of around a cm is included in the above.

The picture of my template shows a slight curve the one long edge of the template. II did this to accommodate for a narrower upper arm and a broader biceps muscle and the slight bulge of the PICC line. This may not be necessary. You may want to experiment with it.

Step 4: Making a Template: Length

For most cuff sizes I made 32 cm long was enough.

But for sizes over 33 cm then I added some length to these.

Step 5: Picking Fabric Direction

The stretchiest direction of the fabric should wrap around the circumference of the arm. So the narrow edge of the templates lines up with the most stretchy fabric direction

Step 6: Laying Out the Fabric

1. Fold the fabric with wrong side out.

2. Line the long, flat edge of the template along the fold.

3. Cut around the template, without cutting the fold side.

Step 7: Pinning

Pin along the long edge of the cuff once done cutting.

Step 8: Sewing: Long Edge

Any stretch stitch will do. I chose triple stitch so that people could cut the cuff shorter if they needed to.

Stitch the long edge.

Step 9: Trimming

I trimmed the seam narrower. This helps keep down seem bulk when the top is rolled down to make the upper band of the cuff.

Step 10: Making the Upper Cuff Band

No elastic. We don't want it to be tight enough to dig into the arm. So I just rolled the top of the cuff down a few times.

Use an approximate width of 2.5 cm. Roll 4-6 times depending on the finished length you need.

Step 11: Figuring Out Finished Length of Cuff

Measure the cuff for length on your arm once you have rolled the top but before sewing. I liked the top of the cuff well above the blob of my PICC line and I liked it to end above my elbow. So add a turn or remove one as needed for where you want it to sit.

Step 12: Sewing the Cuff Top

Slide it onto the sleeve attachment of your machine.

Any stretch stitch will do. So I used zig zag because it was faster than triple stitch.

Step 13: Sewing the Bottom of the Cuff

I didn't. It wasn't needed and kept that area nice and soft.

Step 14: Finished Cuff

Here are the finished cuffs right side out and inside out.

Step 15: Sewing for a Cancer Centre/ Hospital

The template shows the different sizes I chose to make.

Cuff widths 27-31cm are probably the most common sizes.The measurement on the template is what I used for sizing patients.

I put the size inside the cuff with a sharpie marker and made up zip lock bags of the various sizes.

I dropped them off in 3 places:

1. The hospital chemotherapy unit.

2. The radiology department where the nurses were putting in the pick lines

3. The local VON, where the bandages are changed weekly.

I let people take as many as they wanted either free or by donation. I suggested zero to $5.00 donation.This money can either be put back into buying material or donated to a hospice.

And I included an explanation/instruction sheet for the people who were giving out and picking up the cuffs.

Step 16: Hat to Match?

I got cold at night with no hair. I used my matching beanie hat for both days and nights.

Step 17: Finding a Beanie Hat Template

I found mine on the internet. It may have been a free down load? But I can't provide the template itself here but I might as well throw in instructions since I loved having these with my cuffs. I had several different colours of each.

Step 18: Fabric Direction: Hat

Turn the fabric 90 degrees from the direction you used with the cuff. The most stretchy direction should be along the long side of the hat template!

Fold wrong side out to make a reversible hat.

Put your long flat edge of the template along the fold.

Step 19: Cutting

I found cutting with a circular cutter made it easy.

Step 20: Laying It Out for Pinning

Right side up. And then fold the flat edges to each other.

Pin along the flat long edge.

Step 21: Sewing

1. Use any stretch stitch.

2. The first seam is from the point at the top to the point at the bottom of the long edge.

Step 22: Sewing: Making a Ball

1. Lay it out like a crown with the points out. Still inside out.

2. Sew from the bottom of the curve to the point, matching it with the curve right beside it. The hat basically becomes a ball at this stage.

3. Leave enough of a gap on one of the edges to turn the hat/ball right side out.

Step 23: Folding Your Ball in Half

Take the two places where the 4 seams come together on either side of your "ball" and match them up. Now you have a half ball or reversible hat.

Step 24: To Secure the Cap in Half Ball Shape

Line up the crown of the cap as mentioned before. Put a stitch through, by hand or machine.

Step 25: Finished Product

I made my template long enough to turn up a brim. Up to you if you want to sew it in place. I didn't have the energy to fuss with it!