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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel in style part 1: How to make a comfortable eye mask

With vacation time approaching, it is time to organize trips, be it by car, train, plane or other. I would often like to sleep while travelling, but daylight is a major reason I hardly ever succeed to actually do so. I tried several eye masks, but they were uncomfortable, touching the closed eyes, or even putting preasure on them.
Let me show you below, how to make yourself an eye mask that will not touch the lid of the closed eye, but that will fit nicely around it leaving it free from preasure, and that's therefore a lot more comfortable to wear than most of the commercial variety.
By the way, click here for the tutorial for a matching cover for inflatable neck cushions or here for custom fit neck cushions (will be online soon).

I will use cotton fabric and fluffy polyester batting plus some dark fabric (inside the mask) to make sure, light doesn't filter through.

First prepare your template, cut the shape from paper, and start with a bigger piece slowly cutting it to the correct size for your face. When your are satisfied with your template, place it on the wrong side of the fabric and trace the exact size of the template (the line is where you will be sewing later).

Turn the template around and trace a second, mirrored image. Cut both pieces adding the seamallowance in the process.
Cut one piece of batting following the same procedure.
You can cut your dark fabric in the same way, or simply use a big enough strip from your scraps as I did.

Additionally you will need: two 2 inch wide strips of your fabric, elastic and velcro dots. The two strips will be joined to the sides of the mask in order to fix it to your head.

Start by ironing the two strips in half lengthwise, wrong side outside.

Then close the long side of the strip sewing a straight seam close to the edge.

Now close one of the short edges, fixing the elastic into the seam.
Then turn the strip out through the opening so that the right side of the fabric faces out and the elastic is inside the tube. Cut the elastic to the correct length for your head (plus seam allowance for sewing it to the mask and about 1cm for the velcro dot) , push the excess fabric onto the elastic and fix the end of the elastic to the end of the fabric tube with a safety pin (so that the elastic doesn't disappear into the tube).

Sew the velcro dot to the closed end of the strip.

Prepare the second strip in the same way.

Now prepare your layers placing the batting on the table, the strip of dark fabric on top, then one of the fabric pieces right side up, followed by the two strips, with the whole strip and closed tip with velcro dot inside the mask and only the raw edges just outside the seam and finally the second piece of fabric right side down.

Here is a detail of how to place the strips:

When all layers are in place, pin everything together and sew all pieces together right on the line you traced on the back of your fabric (the last layer of fabric is facing wrong side up so the line should be right there for you to follow).

Leave a short opening on top of the mask and fix the stitching at the beginning and the end with a few backstitches.

Turn the mask inside out through the opening and close the opening with blindstitches.

The mask is practically ready, but, as most others, it touches the closed eyelids when your wear it. To avoid that, put the mask on and feel where exactly your eyes are. Trace a circle (with a suitable removable pen) where it touches your eyes.

In order to flatten the area for your eyes simply quilt the circles. You can do spirals or any other pattern you like to quilt just the area you circled.

In the quilted area, the layers are compressed while outside the mask is larger and fluffy. If you quilted the right area, the mask will no longer touch your eyes and be much more comfortable to wear.

 Have you made a project following this tutorial? Let me know what you think. Did you like it? Was it easy to understand and to follow? Do you have any suggestions?
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