Anyone who sews garments and is not entirely ruthless will know that this habit causes a build up of odds and ends of fabric - known as the scrap mountain in my house, but I'm quite a serious case!
There are lots of fun things you can do with scraps however, and it’s really worth doing this as you go. 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.
So it’s worth having a few go-to scrap busters always to hand, such as this handy eye mask, which makes a great little stocking filler, plus they're very useful when you're travelling etc.
You can easily make your own pattern for this by drawing the shape of an eye mask onto a piece of paper (draw it a bit bigger than you want it to allow for tidying the pattern and some seam allowance.) To make it more even and symmetrical, cut it out and fold it in half and then tidy up and cut around it again. Do this both horizontally and vertically. You can then use this as your pattern piece. If it's ended up too small draw around it onto another piece of paper adding your seam allowance (I usually give it 1cm.)
Step 1: using the pattern you've made as a template, 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!) You can either pin it onto your fabric and cut around it or draw around it onto your fabric with chalk or your marker of choice and then use that line as your guide to cutting it.
Step 2: Layer 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, 37cm long - and my placement is a bit wonky, in the photo - you can measure it to make it more tidy.) Then place your wadding or thicker fabric piece on top.
Step 3: Sew all round, using your sewing machine foot as a guide, leaving an opening of around 2” at the top for turning.
Step 4: Trim 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 top stitching also closes up the opening you left. If you don't want to topstitch, you can close it by hand using slip stitch.
And that’s it, one eye mask, and perhaps many more 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.
You can also embellish with embroidery or quilt the top before you sandwich your pieces together for an even more special make.
If you've found this tutorial useful we'd love to see what you've made!
Use our #CatkinAndScraps to show off your make on instagram.
And if you don't fancy making your own pattern there are plenty of good ones out there, here's a great one free from Tilly and the Buttons for example.