Last minute gift DIY: cat-eye masks

I don't know how, but it happens to me every year without fail. I get 90% of my Christmas shopping and gift making done way back in November, feel all smug and cocky while everyone's rushing around like mad hens in December, only to realise that I don't have the remaining 10% of presents on a day like today: Christmas Eve-Eve. In a situation like this, and when it's pouring with rain and there's absolutely no way I'm dragging my five year-old son around some over-crowded, cold-sweaty shopping mall in search of thoughtless trinkets, there's only one thing to do: make something small and sweet with what I already got.

diy eye mask - by hand london

These cat-eye masks are the perfect stash-buster, and make the ideal gift for anyone - girl or boy, young or old. Cat ears can easily be omitted for a more classic eye-mask shape, and you could also embellish the mask with recipient-appropriate embroidery.

You will need:

  • Fabric scraps - cotton or silk is preferable as it needs to be soft and gentle on the eyes
  • Quilt wadding or some chunky knit fabric
  • Elastic/ribbon/lace to go around the head
  • Paper, pens and scissors

Step 1:

We need to start by making a paper pattern of the mask shape, including seam allowance. Measured across your face from temple to temple, marking the centre point (the bridge of your nose). Then fold the piece of paper in half down the centre and sketch out one side of your eye-mask design. To this you'll need to add seam allowance all around (but not to the centre front fold!) - how much seam allowance you add is up to you; I added 1/4".


Now cut out your pattern piece and you're ready to cut your fabric.

Step 2:

Each eye-mask will need a front and a back for the outer layers of the mask, plus the wadding for the inside. I used a chunky knit fabric which wasn't thick enough for just one layer so I cut two instead. You'll also need to cut a length of elastic approximately 10" long or two lengths of ribbon or lace long enough to go around your head and tie in a bow.

diy eye mask - by hand london

Step 3:

Baste your wadding to one (or both) of your outer layers.

diy eye mask - by hand london

Step 4:

Now pin the edges of the elastic or ribbon to the edges of one layer of the mask, right sides together.

diy eye mask - by hand london

Step 5: 

Now place the other layer on top, right sides together, and pin into place.

diy eye mask - by hand london

Step 6:

Stitch carefully into place all around the mask, remembering your chosen seam allowance and being careful not to catch the elastic or ribbon in your stitching. Leave a gap of about an inch at the nose unstitched so you can turn your mask to the right side. Trim the excess seam allowance. Carefully turn your mask to the right side and pin the opening closed.

diy eye mask - by hand london

Step 7:

Stitch by hand with a blind slip stitch to finish off.

diy eye mask - by hand london

All done! I made six of these, all slightly different, in about two hours while my boy snoozed on the sofa having passed out watching Home Alone (which I later re-watched that night with a girlfriend and a couple of bottles of wine. Best Christmas movie, EVER).

diy eye mask - by hand londondiy eye mask - by hand londondiy eye mask - by hand london

And finally, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and wishing everyone the greatest of New Year's and the best to come in 2014!

xxx Elisalex, Charlotte & Victoria xxx

  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
  • accessoriesDIYrepurposingsewingwinter

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