Sleep masks are more than beauty essentials. These small yet effective relaxation tools can help you get the light-free, restful sleep you deserve. This project is a three-in-one winner: quick and easy as part of our Fast Fridays series, an excellent ScrapBusters option, and a great gift idea! Our masks combine pretty quilting cotton on the outside, with a sweet ruffle, and soothing Mulberry Silk Charmeuse on the inside.
Fast Fridays is all about creating something wonderful in no time at all. Based on the supplies you have on hand, you can create multiple masks in a single afternoon. We made three, using some favorite fabrics from our Sew4Home stash. Regular visitors may recognize these petite prints from our Grandma Anna’s Pillows. The soft colors and delicate motifs look lovely with the two pastel colors we selected in Mulberry Silk Charmeuse.
There is often confusion over the difference between silk and satin charmeuse. The distinction is natural versus man-made. Silk is spun from the natural silk protein filament produced by the silk worm. Satin is a man-made fabric produced from polymers. Charmeuse is the weave that produces the soft, silky finish.
Both polyester satin silk and natural silk reduce pulling on the delicate skin around the eyes, diminishing any crease wrinkles that might occur when sleeping. Either option will work just fine for this project. However, because silk is a natural protein, it is recommended as the best alternative for masks and/or pillowcases that come into direct contact with your skin. And, for folks with allergies, natural silk is also hypoallergenic and resistant to mold, mildew, fungus, and dust mites. Natural silk is, of course, more expensive than satin, but you need such a small amount for these sleep masks that the extra investment is minimal.
What is one of the most requested gifts? Uninterrupted sleep! Almost everyone is somewhat sleep-deprived. A beautiful sleep mask is a great gift idea!
Our bodies are hard-wired to sleep when it’s dark, and a good quality sleep mask can make all the difference. Melatonin, a sleep hormone that serves as an immunity booster and a natural anti-aging agent, is produced in the absence of light. Plus, because sleep masks block light, they are particularly helpful for those folks who work late-night shifts by eliminating the sleep-disrupting morning light.
A full pattern is included below as a free download and there are measuring hints to best fit the stretchy band. Our eye masks finish at approximately 8½” wide x 4”, including the tiny ruffle.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful as the seam allowances are all ¼”
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scraps or ¼ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton for the mask front and the ruffle
- Scraps or ¼ yard of 44″+ wide silk or satin for the mask back and the elastic casing; as mentioned above, we recommend Mulberry Silk with a Charmeuse finish
- Scrap or ⅛ yard of fusible fleece; such as Pellon’s Thermolam Plus
- ½ yard of ¾” soft, non-roll elastic
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Large safety pin
- Clips; optional to hold layers in order to avoid holes/snags in the silk/satin
- Pressing cloth, optional for working with silk/satin
- Hand sewing needle
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print out TWO copies of the one pattern piece.
IMPORTANT: This PDF is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
NOTE: We recommend printing two copies so you can keep both a full pattern (for the exterior fabrics) and a trimmed pattern (for the fusible fleece). However, you can also choose to print just one pattern, using it first for the exterior cuts and then trimming it down to cut the fleece.
- Cut out one copy of the pattern along the solid line.
- Cut out the remaining copy of the pattern along the dotted seam line.
- Using the full pattern, cut ONE from the front cotton fabric and ONE from the back silk/satin fabric.
- From the fusible fleece, use the trimmed pattern to cut ONE.
- From the remaining cotton fabric, cut ONE 1½” x 30” strip for the ruffle.
NOTE: If using scraps, you can cut multiple 1½” strips to seam together in order to get the 30” finished length, although one length is best.
- From the remaining silk/satin fabric, cut ONE 2½” x 23” strip for the elastic strap casing.
NOTE: Again, if using scraps, you can cut multiple 2½” strips to seam together in order to get the 23” finished length, although one length is best.
- From the ¾” elastic, cut ONE 16” length.
NOTE: The length of the stretchy band that holds the sleep mask in place is standard for an average size adult head. It is not meant to be super tight as that would be uncomfortable for sleeping. That said, we recommend measuring your head (or the head of the person for whom you are making the sleep mask). If the measurement, temple to temple, is noticeably longer or shorter than 17”, you may want to adjust the elastic and the casing length accordingly. The elastic should be 1” shorter than the head measurement (temple to temple) and the casing cut length should be 7” longer than the elastic for a nice gather. As long as you are using ¾” elastic, the width of the casing can remain as-is.
- Using the pattern dots as your guide, make small snips into the layers. These are the two points where the stretchy band will attach.
- If planning from scraps, each pattern requires a piece approximately 8½” wide x 4” high at a minimum.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the mask layers and ruffle
- Place the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the cotton layer. It should be centered so there is ¼” of fabric showing beyond the fleece all around. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Find the 1½” strip(s) for the ruffle. Hopefully you were able to cut this as one strip, but if not, use a ¼” seam allowance to stitch together your lengths to equal a finished length of 30”.
- Place the ends of the finished strip right sides together and pin in place.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together the ends to create a loop.
- Press the seam allowance open and flat. Fold the loop in half, wrong sides together, and press well.
- Using the main seam as one center point, flatten the loop to find the opposite center point. Mark this point with a pin.
- Mark corresponding center points on the fused front mask panel: one at the bottom of the curve that goes over the nose and the other directly opposite at the top of the mask.
- Run a gathering stitch the length of the ruffle strip, staying close to the raw edges.
NOTE: If you are brand new to sewing, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial on machine gathering.
- Match the center pin points on the ruffle strip loop to the center pin points on the mask front. The raw edges of the ruffle loop should be flush with the raw edge of the mask. Re-pin through both layers.
- Pull the gathering threads to fit the ruffle to the mask front. We recommend fitting one side first (pin-point to pin-point) and then fitting the opposite side.
- Fill in all around with pins so the ruffle sits flat against the mask. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of pins.
- Machine baste the ruffle in place all around.
Make and attach the stretchy band
- Find the 2½” silk/satin strip. Fold it in half, right sides together, and pin.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the length of the strip, creating a tube open on both ends.
- Turn the tube right side out and press flat.
NOTE: We recommend using a pressing cloth when working with silk/satin.
- Find the elastic. Attach a large safety pin to one end.
- Insert the elastic into the tube.
- Pull the elastic all the way through the tube until the end of the elastic is flush with the end of tube. Remove the safety pin. Pin the elastic in place through both layers of silk/satin.
- Edgestitch across the end, through all the layers, to secure this end of the elastic.
- Scrunch the opposite end of the tube to reveal the free end of the elastic.
- Stretch the elastic, aligning this free end with the opposite open end of the tube. This will gather up the tube.
- Just as you did on the first end, pin the elastic in place through both layers then edgestitch in place.
- Pin each end of the stretchy band in place, using the previously marked notches as your guide. Take a minute to make sure there are no twists in the loop of your band.
- Machine baste each end in place.
Layer to finish
- Clip or pin together the center of the stretchy band to keep it out of the way of the final layering.
- Find the silk/satin back mask panel. Place it right sides together with the front mask panel, sandwiching the ruffle and the stretchy band between the layers. Clip or pin in place. We recommend clips to avoid any holes or snags in the silk/satin. Leave an approximate 2” opening along the upper edge for turning.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter of the mask. Go slowly to keep an even seam allowance around all the gentle curves. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 2” opening.
- Finger press the seam allowance open.
- Turn right side out through the opening. Gently smooth out the curves with a long, blunt tool. A long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this.
- Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Again, protect the silk/satin with a pressing cloth.
NOTE: With such a narrow seam allowance, we did not find it necessary to clip the curves. But, if you have any “rough” areas after turning your mask right side out, turn it wrong side out again and carefully clip your curves.
- Pin the opening closed and hand stitch shut. We recommend a tiny ladder stitch.
- Remove any visible basting stitches from the ruffle application.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild