diy: eye pillow

Making is a 'dream' publication!

Making is a 'dream' publication!

Any time I'm in a yarn shop, I not only spend time squishing (and drooling over) every skein of yarn, I also take a gander at the notions and books/magazines. As it turns out, Dylan must be paying attention to my yarn shop habits. For my birthday this year, he got me a subscription to Making magazine. (Isn't he the bestest?!?)

Making is not your ordinary magazine. It's a bi-annual publication filled to the brim with inspiring patterns, stories and recipes. Truly, a maker's delight. It's a major creative energy generator, and I can't wait to jump into one of the patterns (like the Bento Bag - which is a project on my #2018make nine!). 

In the spirit of making, I whipped up a simple DIY for an eye pillow that I wanted to share with you. I added some knitting flair to it (of course I did), but after looking through the Making issue, Lines, I realize that the options for adding flair are numerous - embroidery, quilting, painting fabric, weaving, crochet, knitting. Any one, or all of them! 

What's an Eye pillow?

An eye pillow is essentially a small, weighted pillow that you can place over your eyes to encourage relaxation, or facilitate sleep. Eye pillows help to block out light and may assist with easing a headache or migraine. They can be placed in the freezer (in a plastic bag so they don't take on any food odor), or warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave for added benefit. 

Oftentimes, eye pillows are used at the end of a yoga class in the final pose, relaxation pose or savsasana (which, if you read my post last week, you'll remember is my pose of the month!) It's the perfect accoutrement for the stitcher and stretcher in you! 

It seems that January is all about simplicity this year, and making an eye pillow couldn't be any simpler. Ready to get making?

Eye Pillow Materials

For the pillow:

  • 1/2 yard fabric 
  • 1/2 yard muslin cloth (optional)
  • needle, thread, scissors, pins, sewing machine 
  • flair of your choice

I had muslin in my fabric stash, so I decided to encase the filling in muslin, and then cover it with an outer fabric. You don't have to use an inner and outer fabric, so the muslin is an optional step. For the outer fabric I used an old pillow case. (Makes sense, right?) Keep in mind that this will be sitting over your eyes for a period of time, so choose a soft outer fabric, like cotton, flannel, jersey or silk. For your flair, get creative! I stitched a knit swatch to the top of my eye pillow to jazz it up, but the sky's the limit! (If you plan to put your eye pillow in the microwave, make sure your flair can be heated, i.e. no metal)

For the filling: 

For this specific size of eye pillow, I'd recommend 1 1/2 cups of filling. Some options for fill are below, you can choose (3) and do 1/2 cup each, or mix it up! 

  • dried beans
  • buckwheat hulls
  • lentils
  • flax seeds
  • rice
  • lavender (or chamomile)

I took inventory of my pantry before deciding on my mixture. I had lentils, rice, flax seeds and lavender. Because the rice we use for cooking is long grain and quite aromatic on its own, I opted for an equal mixture of (green) lentils, flax seeds and lavender. 

How to Make an Eye Pillow

Step 1: 

Cut a rectangular template out of a piece of paper that measures 4.5" x 10". If you're using muslin and an outer fabric you may want two templates, one with the above measurements (for the filling) and one slightly larger, 5" x 10.5", for the outer fabric. 

Step 2: 

Fold your fabric in half and pin the template(s) to the fabric. Cut along the template, so that you have two rectangles from each fabric. If you're only doing an outer lining, you'll end up with two rectangles. If you have a muslin lining, you'll have four rectangles - two of the muslin, and two of the outer fabric. 

Paper template over muslin folded in half.

Paper template over muslin folded in half.

Step 3: 

Sew the eye pillow outer (and lining), making sure to leave one of the short sides open. For the outer fabric, sew the pieces together so that the right sides of the fabric face one another (sewn inside out). It's a good idea to sew 2 rows all the way around, one at the 1/2" mark and a reinforcement seam at the 1/4" mark. This will ensure your filling won't leak out. 

Step 4: 

Turn the outer fabric right side out. You can turn the muslin inside out too so that the seams are on on the inside.

Step 5: 

Mix your filling. If you're not using lavender flowers, you could add a couple drops of essential oil to your filling. Oils have properties, so keep them in mind. For example, lavender essential oil would be relaxing while peppermint oil would be energizing. Research the properties of the oil(s) you'd like to use, and choose a combination that smells lovely. Add your filling to either the muslin, or the outer fabric if you're not using an inner lining. A funnel would be handy, but I didn't have one, so I used a spoon to add the mixture to the muslin. Once filled, turn the open ended edges inward and sew closed.

Pre-mixed filling

Pre-mixed filling

Filling in muslin

Filling in muslin

Step 6: 

Add your flair! Okay, so you may have already added your flair, for instance, if you chose to paint your outer fabric, or add embroidery. But because I added a knit swatch to an outer fabric, this is when I did it. I laid the knit swatch over the outer fabric and stitched the edges all the way around. (I stitched through the top and bottom on all sides except the open side, where I only stitched to the top.) If you only have an outer fabric, and no inner lining, then you will likely want to add flair before filling the pillow with the mixture, as it may get a little difficult once filled. It doesn't really matter when you add flair, it's just important that you add it! 

Stitching the flair!

Stitching the flair!

Step 7: 

If you had both an inner lining, and an outer fabric, slide your inner into your outer. Close the open end of the outer by turning the edges inward and stitching along the edge. 

Step 8: 

Lay down, place the pillow over your eyes and settle into deep relaxation! (After admiring your masterpiece, that is!) 

Ahhhhh (ZZzzzzzz!) 

Ahhhhh (ZZzzzzzz!) 

I finished up making my eye pillow and immediately laid down to test it out. (I may or may not have fallen asleep.) It's sorta great. I think I'll keep this one with my yoga mat for savasana "naps," and my other eye pillow (also handmade, but not by me) in my nightstand. In fact, this was so easy to make, I may just make one for every room of the house.. maybe with different scents.. and different flair. You in? 

Have you ever used or made an eye pillow before? What flair would you add to your eye pillow? Share your comments and ideas, and if you have them, pics!