In times of great turmoil, it's the small pleasures in life that keep me feeling grounded, hopeful and grateful. As I mentioned in my post from a few weeks ago (where we made linen napkins with perfect mitred corners and decorative border stitches), I've been feeling a springtime calling to focus on projects for the home, and given how things related to the current Covid-19 outbreak have developed, I think that now more than ever is a time to focus on how we can surround ourselves with small, beautiful pleasures while we're isolating at home.
Like a lot of people, I've been indulging in a generous self-care routine - one which I plan to continue after this is all over! - involving a morning run, daily relaxing baths, all-you-can-eat knitting time and evening yoga. To make the evening yoga shavasana (where you get to lie down at the end and truly relaaaaax) all the more luxurious, I thought I'd make some lavender eye pillows for myself and my family members I'm isolating with. If you've never tried an eye pillow, you're in for a treat! The aroma of the lavender helps to calm an anxious mind, while the weight of the pillow blocks out light and gives a general feeling of safety and bliss. They're great for yoga, meditation, and even for resting over your eyes as you drift off to sleep at night. Plus, they're quick and easy to make, and are an excellent fabric scrap buster!
You will need:
- Some leftover fabric - a fat quarter is plenty. Natural fibres only! Cotton, linen and silk are ideal.
- Dried lavender flowers - this is really easy and inexpensive to find online if you don't have access to lavender plants. I bought a big 1kg bag for about £15 and that will be enough for ALL the Christmas and birthday gifts, plus lavender bags for all my drawers! If you can't find any dried lavender, just double up on the grain and douse it in lavender and/or chamomile essential oil.
- Linseed, rice, or any small dried grain or pulse - I used farro for this tutorial as I had a bag of it at the back of my cupboard which was a good two years past its sell by date!
- Fabric scissors, your sewing machine, pins, ruler and matching thread.
Start by making a paper pattern for your eye pillow by drawing and cutting out a rectangle measuring 10" x 5".
Using your pattern, cut out 3x layers of fabric. We're going to be making a pouch for the lavender and grain, plus a pillowcase to insert the pouch into which can be removed and washed as needed.
You'll also need to cut another rectangle that is about 3" longer than your pattern (no need to make a separate pattern for this, just keep cutting beyond the pattern you already have).
First, we're going to sew the inner pouch. Take two of the regular size layers of fabric and pin them right sides together. Stitch around three edges (two long and one short) with 3/8" or 10mm seam allowance. Leave one end open - this is so that we can fill the pouch up.
Snip the corners, turn the pouch out to the right side and press the seams.
Fill the pouch with lavender & grain (about 6 dessert spoons each).
Fold the raw edge of the opening in, pin into place and topstitch as neatly and close to the fold as you can to seal the pouch.
Now we're going to make the pillowcase.
Fold and press in one short end of each of the two remaining layers of fabric by 1/4" and again by the same amount. Stitch into place.
Place these two layers right sides together, and fold back the extension of the longer piece so that the two rectangles match. The hemmed edge of the shorter rectangle should be at the same end as the fold of the extension.
Sew the three raw edged sides with a slightly smaller seam allowance of 1/4" or 6mm, leaving the opening at the hemmed end. Clip the corners, turn to right side and insert the inner pouch, tucking the end of the pouch under the flap inside the pillowcase to keep it secure.
Done! I like to warm up my eye pillow on a radiator for a few minutes before resting on my face... bliss.