Scrap Busters: Eye Mask
Anyone who sews garments and is not entirely ruthless will know that this habit causes a build up of odds and ends of fabric. Unless you just bin everything extraneous to your current project as you go (I am both horrified and slightly jealous at the thought,) you will, like me, end up with quite a collection of smaller pieces of fabric (not to mention other sewing flotsam and jetsam) clogging up your home.
There are lots of fun things you can do with scraps however, and it’s really worth doing this as you go. I know it’s hard to slow down the work on your main project - we all know the thrill of the rush towards completion of the current object of our sewing desires - but it is so much easier to use up those scraps while you still have everything out, with the right colour thread on your machines, and when the scraps aren't all crumpled and unloved after languishing in your scrap bag for months or years etc.
So it’s worth having a few go-to scrap busters always to hand, and suitable for different sizes of scraps. Obviously, anything over around half a metre can be made into a small garment of some kind (children are very handy for this!)
Smaller pieces can be used for cushion covers, bags, purses and zip pouches of varying sizes, hot water bottle cases, headbands and snoods etc. Smaller than that and you’re into face masks, washable make-up wipes, scrunchies and eyemasks, to name but a few. Even smaller and you can use the pieces for appliqués, pockets, little draw string bags for gifts, or practising things like button holes, embroidery, fabric collage etc etc. And I didn’t even mention patchwork!
I’ve just been making some pyjamas for my daughter out of a pretty brushed cotton from the shop and had quite a lot of scraps left over (it’s a long story, safe to say mistakes were made!!)
Brushed cotton is a lovely fabric for the colder times of year and makes excellent hot water covers, eye masks, pillow covers and pyjama bags.
I’ve chosen to make a few eye masks and hot water bottle covers to give as Christmas gifts and I thought I would add a little tutorial to show you all how easy the eye masks are to make.
I made a pattern myself by just drawing the shape of an eye mask and then cutting it out and trying to even it out and make it symmetrical by folding and cutting round the folded piece. It’s still not perfect, so I’ll look into some kind of software another time and see if I can get it perfect enough to put it online for people to print out BUT it’s satisfying (and not as hard as you might think) to make your own pattern, especially if - like me - you might be intending to sell them in future (you can’t use other people’s patterns to make commercial items!)
Step 1: So once you have a pattern, cut two pieces from your fabric and one piece from some kind of thicker fabric or wadding (I used a piece of thick fabric also from the scrap basket - or mountain as it’s known in my house!)
Step 2: Layer them the two main fabric pieces right sides together with a piece of elastic or two pieces of ribbon sandwiched in between (I used some stretch lace, 37 cm long - and my placement is a bit wonky, I see now - so much for eyeballing it and thinking it'll be fine!) and then place your wadding or thicker fabric piece on top.
Step 3: Sew all round, using your sewing machine foot as a guide, and leave an opening of around 2” at the top for turning.
Step 4: Trim all round close to the seam, cutting notches right to the the stitching anywhere where there is a deep curve. Leave the edges of the opening untrimmed.
Step 5: Turn your eye mask the right side out and press, pressing in the edges of the opening.
Step 6: Stitch all around again, using a slightly larger stitch setting (this would also look good with a contrast thread.)
And that’s it, one eye mask, and perhaps many to follow!
You can make these out of any fabric as long as it is soft. Silk ones are particularly luxurious. Good cotton lawns (we love Liberty!) and fine jersey knits are also nice.
If you've found this tutorial useful we'd love to see what you've made!