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It’s a rather stressful time of year. Taxes are due. The weather hasn’t quite given way to the glorious sunshine and blue skies of summer. The kids are restless as the school year winds down. Sounds like time for our scented spa set! All three pieces are made out of super soft Cuddle from Shannon Fabrics. There’s a neck wrap to pull the stress from your shoulders, an eye pillow to soothe and calm, and a pretty headband to gently sweep your hair up and away in order to easily rest the neck wrap and eye pillow in place. Let’s all say it together: ahhhhhhhhh ….. spaaaaaaaaaaa.

Each item takes just small amounts of fabric, so you can make a number of matching sets from single yard cuts. Or go with the individual yardages shown below and select unique combinations to match each recipient’s favorite colors and prints. Cuddle is so soft, it adds its own layer of relaxation power.

You can find dozens and dozens of options in this luxury fleece. Our links below take you to the fabrics we used at Fat Quarter Shop, but it’s easy to browse from there to a full selection of textures and colors. 

If you’ve not worked much with fleece before, you’ll find it quite easy, plus the nap hides any little bobbles in the your seams (thanks, nap!). If you’d like a few additional tips and tricks, check out our full tutorial on Sewing with Plush Fabric.

If giving the set as a gift, it’s fun to add “spa accessories” in matching colors. We found bath salts, soaps, candles, incense, and more to wrap up into a beautiful gift basket and bag.

The neck wrap and eye pillow are filled with a lightly scented mixture of rice and flax seeds. The weight of this mixture is part of what helps relax your muscles. Both items have individual compartments into which the filler is poured so it stays more evenly distributed. You don’t want to overfill because part of the appeal is being able to gently shift the rice/flax in order to mold it into the best position across your eyes and around your neck.

We used essential oils for our scent. The rice absorbs and retains the oil while the flaxseed provides a smooth, soothing texture. Remember that a little bit goes a long way. You need just a few drops to create a very pleasant, lasting aroma. If you are making several spa sets with multiple scents, it’s nice to label each one with the therapeutic properties of the essential oil and the appropriate times of day for use. For example: Lavender is calming and best used to relieve stress before bed; Peppermint is nice for daytime use as it perks up the senses and cools a headache. 

Free pattern downloads are offered below for both the eye pillow and the headband. For the headband, we strongly recommend cutting the pieces with the natural stretch of the Cuddle and using a stretchable thread; we used Coats Eloflex. The headband is meant to be wrapped around your head, pulling slightly as you wrap for a snug fit (that’s why you want the stretch), then knotted at the top –– just like on I Love Lucy. Once securely knotted, because of the stretch, it can be taken off and put back on without having to re-tie.

Heating, cooling, and washing the neck wrap and eye pillow

The headband can simply be tossed in the wash, but the neck wrap and eye pillow should be cleaned more carefully

The neck wrap can be used as-is. Just the weight of the rice/flax and the light scent is soothing. But if you wish to heat it first, simply put the entire wrap (inner tube and outer sleeve) into the microwave, folding it in half so it easily fits. Heat on a medium setting for about one minute.

Test this level of heat. If needed, you can fold the wrap in the opposite direction and heat again for about another 30 seconds. Don’t overheat as it can scorch the filler.

Also, all microwaves have different power settings. It’s always best to start with lower temperatures and shorter time periods. This wrap is not meant to be heated on the stovetop or in an oven.

The neck wrap can also be used for cooling. First put the entire wrap in a secure plastic bag, then place it in the freezer for one to two hours.

As with all heating and cooling pads, these are not recommended for use on sensitive skin, areas with poor circulation or any kind of open wound.

To wash, remove the inner tube. This inner tube can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth. The outer sleeve can be machine washed and dried.

You can heat or chill the eye pillow using the same methods, however, we recommend using it without heating or cooling. The soothing effect really comes from the weight and the scent, as well as the fact that the pillow is blocking out the light of the room.

The neck wrap finishes at approximately 25” long x 4½” wide with two 6” handle loops. The eye pillow finishes at approximately 9” wide x 4” high (at the widest points). The headband finishes at approximately 32” long x 2½” wide.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: The amounts shown below are for one three-piece Spa Gift Set: headband + neck wrap + eye pillow.

  • ¼ yard of 54”+ textured Cuddle fleece or similar for the neck wrap; we used 58” wide Dimple Cuddle in Honeydew
  • ¼ yard of 54”+ solid Cuddle fleece or similar for the eye pillow and headband; we used 58” wide Cuddle 3 Solids in Honeydew
  • ⅓ yard of 54”+ solid Cuddle fleece or similar for the neck wrap, eye pillow, and headband; we used 58” wide Cuddle 3 Solids in Ivory
  • ½ yard of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the inner sleeve of the neck wrap and the lining of the eye pillow; we used a standard plain quilting cotton in a tone-on-tone soft white
  • 1 yard of ½” – 1” wide twill tape or similar for the neck wrap and eye pillow; we used ” wide twill tape in natural
  • I yard of medium rick rack in a subtle coordinating color for the eye pillow; we used Wrights packaged rick rack in Tan
  • FIVE cups EACH of raw rice and flax seed
  • Essential oil; optional to scent the rice/flax mixture – you need just a few drops; we used peppermint oil
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Coats Eloflex Stretchable thread or similar for the headband
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board (just for the cotton)
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Bowl for mixing rice, flax seed, and essential oil
    NOTE: Essential oils, white rice, and flax seed can be found in most natural food departments. The oils can be expensive but a little goes a long way. Both rice and flax seed can be purchased in bulk for as little as $.50 per pound for rice and $1.50 per pound for flax seed. 
  • Small measuring scoop and/or funnel for filling the compartments of the neck wrap and eye pillow

Getting Started and Pattern Downloads

For both the Neck Wrap and the Eye Pillow, prepare your filler. In a large bowl, mix approximately 5 cups of rice and 5 cups of flax seed. Add a few drops of essential oil and stir. We used just a few drops of oil for each cup of rice/seed, about 10-15 drops total. The strength of the fragrance is a matter of personal preference, but do keep in mind that with most essential oils a little goes a long way.


  1. From EACH of the Cuddle fabrics (the Honeydew Dot and the Solid Ivory in our sample), cut ONE 5” high x 26” wide rectangle.
  2. From the cotton fabric, cut the following:
    ONE 9” high x 26” wide rectangle
    FOUR 2” x 26” strips for the optional bound seams on the sleeve
  3. Cut the twill tape into TWO 13” lengths.


  1. Download and print the ONE pattern piece: Soothing Eye Pillow.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern download 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.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  3. Place the two fleece colors right sides together. Pin the pattern to the two-layer stack.
  4. Cut out these two eye pillow exterior layers.
  5. Find the cotton you’re using for the lining; we simply used the same cotton as for the interior sleeve of the neck wrap. Fold the cotton wrong sides together. Pin the pattern to the two-layer stack.
  6. Cut out the two eye pillow lining layers
  7. On both the exterior and the lining layers, remember to mark the position for the adjusting tabs. We clipped into the seam allowance at the pattern dots for our marking points. You could also use pins or a marking pen.
  8. Cut the twill tape into TWO 3” lengths. 
  9. Leave the rick rack as one length. It will be trimmed to fit below. 


  1. Download and print the ONE pattern page: Headband.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern download 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.
  2. Cut out the two pattern pieces along the solid line. Using the arrows printed on the patterns, butt together (do not overlap) the two pieces at the center and tape to create the full pattern.
  3. Find your two chosen colors of fleece.
  4. Lay the fleece flat so the stretch is running horizontally. You want to cut the pattern pieces WITH THE STRETCH.
  5. Using the pattern, cut TWO from each color. When you prepare, remember to pin the pattern in place right side up for the first piece and cut…
  6. … then flip wrong side up and cut the second piece. This insures the nap is running the same way on both pieces.
  7. You should end up with two pieces in each color.

At Your Sewing Machine and Ironing Board


Prepare the outer Cuddle fleece sleeve

  1. Find the two outer Cuddle fleece panels and the four binding strips.
  2. Make a 1” double turn hem along each 5” end of each panel. To do this, fold back the raw edge ¼”, then fold an additional ¾” and pin the double fold in place. The photo below shows one hem on one panel; make sure you hem both ends of  both panels.
  3. Thread the machine with thread to best match the fleece in the top and bobbin.
  4. Topstitch the hem in place, staying close to the inner fold.
  5. Place the two panels right sides together, align the hemmed ends as well as the long raw edges. Pin together along the long raw edges only. The ends remain open.
  6. Re-thread if necessary to make sure you have thread to best match the fabrics in the top and bobbin.
  7. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together along both sides to form a long, open tube. You are stitching from hemmed-end to hemmed-end.
  8. Finger press the seam allowances open. Remember, with luxury plush, you want to avoid the heat of an iron.
  9. Finish the seam allowances with your favorite method. We used a bound seam allowance, which helps “smooths” the edges of the seam allowances, making it a bit easier to slide the inner tube in and out.
  10. Work with one side of each seam allowance at a time.
  11. Fold back each end (the 2” ends) of all the cotton strips ½” and press.
  12. Place a folded strip right sides together with one side of the seam allowance. The folded ends of the strips should be flush with the hemmed ends of the seam allowance and one long raw edge of the strip should be flush with the raw edge of one side of the seam allowance. Adjust the end folds as necessary so they are truly flush with each end. Pin the strip to the first side of one seam allowance. Then repeat to pin to the opposite side of the seam allowance. In the photo below, we are pinning the strips in place against the ivory side of our seam allowances. Remember, you are pinning all along the seam allowance, from one folded end to the other.
  13. Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the strips in place. This seam also secures the folded ends of the strip.
  14. Fold the strip out and away from the seam allowance. Press back the remaining raw edge of each strip ¼”.
  15. Wrap the binding strip around this first side of the seam allowance, encasing its raw edge. Pin in place.
  16. Edgestitch the binding in place from end to end.
  17. Repeat to bind the opposite side of the seam allowance in the same manner. Then repeat on the remaining seam allowance.

    NOTE: Remember, binding the seam allowance of the sleeve is optional. You can also choose to use your favorite traditional machine sewn finish. Check out our four-part series on the most common seam finishing methods.
  18. Set aside the finished outside sleeve.

Create and fill the inner tube

  1. Find the inner cotton panel.
  2. Along each 9” end, press back the raw edge ½”.
  3. Fold the panel in half, right sides together, and pin along the long edge, forming a long, open-ended tube.
  4. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the cotton fabric in the top and bobbin.
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the one long seam.
  6. Turn the tube right side out.
  7. Press flat so the seam runs evenly along one side.
  8. Either fold the tube in half to fine the vertical center line or measure and mark a vertical line.
  9. Stitch along the vertical fold or drawn line. This is the seam that divides the tube into two compartments. You may want to double stitch for extra security between the compartments.
  10. Find your bowl of scented rice and flax mixture.
  11. You will fill one compartment at a time.
  12. Hold the tube vertically and spoon in the filler or use a small measuring cup or funnel.
  13. Let the mixture fall down towards the center vertical seam.
  14. You want the compartment to be full but not tightly packed. It’s best if there is room for the mixture to move around. This will allow the wrap to more easily mold around your neck and shoulders.
  15. Pin closed. This pinning is to just hold the rice in position on the first side. It’s best to pin horizontally across the opening.
  16. Repeat to fill the second compartment.
  17. Before stitching closed, test the wrap on yourself to see how it feels in terms of “fullness.” Now is the easiest time to add or remove filler in either compartment.
  18. Place the filled tube flat on your work surface. Shift the rice/flax mixture towards the center seam so each end is as flat as possible
  19. Find the two lengths of twill tape. Fold each length in half so they are now each 6½” and form a loop. Pin the loop in place at the center of each side opening. The ends of the tape should be inserted about ½” so they are flush with the folded back edge of the fabric. We simply pinned our loops in place between the layers. You could also hand baste them in position for extra security.
  20. Shorten the stitch length slightly.
  21. Edgestitch both openings. For extra security, you could double-stitch this seam.
  22. Remove any visible basting stitches.
  23. Slip the filled cotton tube inside the terry cloth sleeve. The weight of the rice/flax mixture helps make it pretty easy to fit one inside the other. You can also reach in and grab the loop to help pull the inner tube through the sleeve. The inner tube is designed to extend beyond the outer sleeve by about ½” on each end.


  1. Pin a cotton lining piece to both the front piece and the back piece. Both pairs of two layers are wrong sides together.
  2. Fold the twill tape tabs in half so they are now each 1½”. Align the raw ends and pin the tabs in place at each side of one layered pair, using the marking points you made above.
  3. Using a ¼” seam allowance, baste together each front and back layered pair. This basting seam also secures the tabs on the one pair.
  4. Starting at the bottom center of the same layered pair to which you attached the tabs, pin the trim in place.
  5. Pin around the entire perimeter of the layered pair. The edge of the rick rack should run along the raw edges of the fabric layers.
  6. Baste the trim in place, staying very close to the raw edge, ie. within the ¼” seam allowance.
  7. Place the front and back pieces right sides together, aligning all the raw edges, and sandwiching the rick rack and tabs between the layers. Pin in place, leaving a 2″ opening on one side for turning right side out.
  8. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter, remembering to pivot at each upper corner and to lock your seam at either side of the 2” opening.
  9. Snip the corners and clip the curves. Turn right side out through the side opening.
  10. Gently push out corners, using your finger or a long tool with a blunt end, like a knitting needle, point turner or chopstick. Finger press flat.
  11. Carefully pour the scented rice/flax filler into the opening of the pillow. We used a small funnel. It will take approximately one cup.
  12. Let the filler fall towards one end, away from the opening. Pin the opening closed.
  13. Hand stitch the opening closed. Use tiny, tight stitches; you don’t want any openings through which the filler could leak out.
  14. Lay the eye pillow flat and shift half the filler toward each side, leaving a fabric-only channel down the center. Pin through this center channel and carry to your machine, being careful to keep the filler from shifting towards the center.
  15. Re-thread the machine with thread to match each side of the eye pillow. We stitched with the ivory side facing up and so used ivory in the top and light blue green in the bobbin. Stitch down the center to divide the eye pillow into two even sections.
  16. Remove any visible basting stitches.


  1. Find the four pieces cut from the pattern. Line them up straight end to straight end with alternating colors.
  2. Place each pair of alternating colors right sides together. The raw edges should be flush all around. Pin together just along the straight ends.
  3. Thread the machine with a stretchable thread in the top and bobbin. We used Coats Eloflex thread.
    NOTE: This isn’t mandatory, but combining the natural stretch of the Cuddle with the stretch of the thread allows you to more securely wrap and tie the band around your head.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together each pair.
  5. Finger press open the seam allowance.
  6. Place the two sewn pairs right sides together, making sure the center back seams line up perfectly. Double-check that your “color blocks” are alternating front to back. Pin together, leaving a 2-3” opening for turning along one long side.
  7. Using a ½” seam allowance stitch around the perimeter. Remember to lock the seam at either side of the 2-3” opening.
  8. Also remember to pivot at each end point.
  9. Trim the seam allowance back to ¼” all around.
  10. Turn right side out through the side opening.
  11. Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin in place.
  12. Hand stitch closed.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Notes: Leah Wand

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5 months ago

I was taught to use cotton so that the cloth won’t scorch. This tutorial says to use fleece, which I thought was polyester, won’t it scorch in the microwave?

Liz Johnson
Liz Johnson
5 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca

Hi Rebecca – many people do like to stick with all natural fibers, but our tests with quality fleece have turned out well. Our washing, heating, and cooling tips are detailed above within the introduction. As noted there, both the neck wrap and the eye pillow can be used without heating and cooling. And, if heating, we suggest no more than a minute.

5 years ago

Don’t flax seeds turn rancid

Don’t flax seeds turn rancid – and need to be refrigerated?  Wouldn’t this require replenishing the flax seeds regularly?

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