Thursday, 23 April 2015

Sleep mask tutorial and free Pattern

Summer is definitely on its way, and with that comes bright early mornings! I have made a blackout blind for Annabelles room to prevent any unwanted early risings, but haven't made one for our room, and seen as my husband can sleep through anything, I figured I just needed to make it dark for myself, much easier and cheaper than buying/making blackout blinds! So here is a free pattern and photo tutorial for making yourself a sleep mask either to keep those pesky sunbeams at bay first thing in the morning, or to help you sleep on a long haul flight, or for whatever reason you may want a bit of personal darkness. Its a very quick project and I managed to get mine done in an hour and a bit despite having a 6 month old who needs attention! (If you don't have a baby I imagine it will take you much less time!!)

For the free pattern and photo tutorial click "Read more"

You will need:
  • Cotton fabric
  • About 38cm of elastic (Place (don't stretch it much) a bit of elastic around your head from one eye to the other to get an idea of how much you will need) 
  • Pins
  • Batting, wadding or a scrap of black out curtain
  • Free Pattern

First you will need to download the free pattern from here. The pattern has had seam allowance added to it to help you cut it out more accurately. (My husband is a wiz at editing and professionalising my patterns and has kindly added the seam allowance in and made it super symmetrical, unlike my free hand drawn attempt you will see in the tutorial!) 
Cut out Two pieces of cotton, one for inside and one for the outside, I chose a dark fabric for the inside, as sometimes I am too tired (or lazy) to remove my mascara and so the dark colour hides any smudging that may occur through the night.
Then you need to cut out your batting or thin wadding or blackout fabric. Do not include seam allowance when you cut this out as you want it to fit snuggly inside the mask once it is sewn up.
Put your two cotton fabrics, right sides together
Then cut your elastic to around 38cm and pin in place about halfway down on each side across the middle of the mask. Make sure to keep the majority of the elastic inside the fabric and well away from the edge of the fabric so that it doesn't get stitched down when you sew round the outside.
Here is a closer view of what I mean. Once the elastic is in place, pin all the way round the eye mask.
Now you can start to sew around the edge. Choose a fairly flat edge to start, I started at the top of the right hand eye piece. I have also found that if you can keep the edge of your sewing machine foot running along he edge of the fabric like it is lined up in the photo you will keep your 1cm seam allowance much more accurately. DON'T SEW THE MASK SHUT! leave yourself a gap about 4cms so that you can turn it inside out and also put the wadding in.
If you look at the top right of the eye mask you can see where I have left it unstitched. Remove the pins.
Now in order to get your fabric to lie nice and flat when you turn it inside out you need to clip the curve. this means cutting small triangles out of the fabric to remove excess bulk fabric and so allowing the fabric space to turn neat and lie more smoothly. Be careful not to cut your stitches!
Turn the whole mack inside out through the hole that you left, use something like the end of your scissors or a chop stick or blunt end of a pencil to make sure all the curves are turned out completely, then iron it to make it nice and crisp. If you try it on at this stage and it is too loose or tight, don't panic, that can be easily altered later once it is sewn up a bit more.
So now you should have your batting cut out, you may want to just lay your ironed mask onto your batting and trim any areas where the batting is bigger than the mask.
This bit is a little tricky and fiddly, but you need to slightly fold the batting and post it into the hole you left on the mask, then use either your fingers or a tool of sorts to ease the batting into the correct place inside the mask. Make sure the batting is the same orientation as the mask otherwise it will never fit.
Once its in and sitting smoothly, you need to close up the gap you left, you can either stitch tho closed by hand, or be a little more lazy like I did and stitch it shut during the next step. However you need to make sure that it is closed neatly and follows the correct curve of the mask. 
Give the mask another iron to help the batting sit smoothly in the mask, and use the iron to get the fabric round the hole folded neatly in ready for stitching shut.
If the mask is too loose and doesn't sit snuggly on your face, now is a god time to sort that. use a quick unpick to just cut the stitches that hold the elastic in, then when it is undone, gently push the elastic back into the mask, hold it in place and try it on until it is the right fit.
Pin the elastic in it's new position.
Now you can stitch all the way round the mask, this will hold the batting in place, and the new elastic placement and also close up the hole you left at the start. (If you look at my presser foot placement you can see that i have lined my fabric up with the edge of the inside of the metal foot, this helped me to keep an equal distance all the way round)
This is where Annabelle got a bit squeaky and wanted to see what mummy was up to, she is fascinated by the sewing machine and had to get her hands involved! She is only 6 months old, a budding seamstress already!

And there you go! A finished sleep mask to ensure your own personal darkness! Sweet dreams!

If you have found this helpful then please be sure to check out my other posts:

Happy Sewing!

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  1. You may either utilize it in the evening or during afternoon naps if you find yourself in a place with a significant amount of light. No matter of when you utilize it, they make effective sleeping aids by helping you go to sleep quicker.

    sleep mask

  2. Great Tutorial!I was actually thinking about buying a new sleep mask!My other one is not in the best condition. A sight for tired eyes, your handmade sleep masks are stylish and useful. Thanks for sharing.