Poor Bear. I’m terrible to sleep with. For all the ease and loveliness I bring in daytime, I run hella short on both when trying to sleep. You could call me fussy, if you were into understatements. Blankets can’t be too heavy, nor too light. Nothing can touch my feet. If it’s not cool in the room, I’m a beast. And light? Forget about light. Any pin prick of illumination that occurs where curtain meets blind makes me stompy. The soft glow from a cell phone lit just to check the time is met with whining. My sleepy self is cantankerous at best, other worldly at worst.
I’ve long wanted a sleep mask, but something flashy and cute that offers something redeeming to onlookers when my evil sleep twin is about. Maybe with a little work, I can convince my subconscious that while feisty, my sleepy self can be more vampy than angry. Harness a little cat woman, or something. Thus, a sleep mask for lazy kittens. Purrr!
This project is quick, makes a great handmade gift, and is low-sew, meaning the sewing is minimal and can be done with just a needle and thread.
1. To start, you need to select material for the front and back of your eye mask. You’ll want the back side, at least, to be black. I used simple, inexpensive craft felt for the back of mine and this bold (and totally theme appropriate, meow!) leopard print from the clearance table at Joann Fabric’s. 2. Next, print out the sleep mask pattern I made and follow the instructions for cutting it out and affixing it to your fabric with pins.
3. Fold your fabric in half as noted on the pattern instructions, and align the edge of the pattern with the folds. Pin the pattern in place and don’t worry if you have a few dents or bubbles; just try to keep it as flat as possible when you begin cutting. 4. Cut out each piece, reusing the pattern for the back and front. When you’re finished, you should have two full pieces as illustrated below. Aren’t they so cute already? You can line the two pieces of fabric up here and just double-check your work making sure they’re as close to perfect a match as possible. Trim slightly, if needed.
5. Here’s where the sewing comes in, but no fear. This is going to be painless. You need black thread, a sewing needle that you feel comfortable with, and 3/8-inch black elastic. Measure your head with the elastic from temple to temple. Make sure the elastic is fitted and snug to your head, but comfortably so. You don’t want the band to be tight when you’re trying to sleep, but you want it to be secure enough that it’s not sliding down constantly. For me, this was about 15-inches – I might have a big head – and then you’ll want to add 2-inches to the total and cut your elastic.
6. On what will be the inner side of the back of your sleep mask, pin 1-inch of the elastic into place as seen above. Using your needle and thread, sew the elastic in place. If you’re new to sewing, a little x-shaped stitch – as you would use when sewing a button – is easy to do and will adhere the elastic securely. 7. Next, cut off 1/2-inch pieces of Velcro – Fabric Fusion and follow the package instructions for setting them with your iron, both on the inner back part of the mask, as shown above, and on the inner front side as show below. Velcro has two sides – a softer side and a harder, more plastic like side – which is how they grip to one another. I chose to put the softer side on the inner back portion of the mask and, truly, it can’t be felt against the face and eyes.
Note: If you enjoy sewing or aren’t looking for a low-sew project, you could just stitch the mask together at this point after adhering the other end of the elastic. I like the Velcro option not only because it involves minimal sewing, but because I can pull the halves apart and put in little sprigs of fresh lavender for aromatherapy if I’m feeling fancy. It’s up to you how you customize this to fit your needs.
8. With the Velcro fastened in place and distributed on both inner halves, pin and stitch the other end of the elastic to the inner back side of the mask. 9. When finished, remove pin, affix the front side of the mask to the back and it’s complete! Leave as is or decorate the mask to your liking. I added a tiny bow made from felt remnants. 10. Get your sleep on, kitten!
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