I mentioned last week that I struggle to get enough sleep in the summer because of the increased amount of light. It doesn’t get properly dark again until August in this part of the world. Night time in June and July is just perpetual twilight, and I need night to be dark. Prolonged lack of sleep makes me as cranky, irritable, and plain exhausted as anyone else, so I thought I’d try a sleep mask as suggested in a comment. I ended up with this:
It was actually quite effective, if a bit weird-looking.
BUT I don’t like it. Textiley people are often very particular about the texture and quality of fabrics, and I just don’t like the feel of this. It’s made from some sort of polyester-neoprene-type stretchy fabric, and the synthetic foam padding on the face side has a very strong smell that washing and airing outside hasn’t eliminated. The strap is also quite cumbersome and the slider clip thing gets stuck in your hair.
So while the principle worked ok, I wondered if I could make something that would be any nicer. I drew round the mask and adjusted the shape slightly, and made a pattern for the padded bit that fits over your eyes. I wanted to make it in a nicer fabric and chose some silk twill in a very dark midnight blue, with silk wadding for the padded bits. Incidentally, this table top ironing board is fabulous – it has little legs that fold out so it stands about 3″ high and the board is about half the size of a normal ironing board – it’s really useful (and no, I’m not on commission or in collaboration with ironing board companies! I found it in the supermarket while doing the weekly food shop. Imagine my excitement).
I used felt as a base on the front and back for stability and structure, and also for blocking out light. Woven fabric will always let some light in through its weave. I figured out a way of attaching the padding – I just stitched it down around all the edges to hold it in place so it didn’t shift around.
When I had the two halves constructed I could attach some elastic (no clips!) to the side edges. I just backstitched up and down the short edge so that the elastic is attached securely.
And then it was just a matter of stitching the two sides together, with the elastic in between, which I did just by oversewing with wrong sides together. You could use narrow bias binding for a neater edge, I guess, or you could sew them right sides together and leave an opening to turn through. This way was good enough for me.
Finally I added a more decorative top stitch in a contrasting thread around the edges. And there, after a couple of hours or so, is a nice silk sleep mask – very lightweight, very comfortable, no plastic or polyester, no weird smell – and it delivered a pretty good night’s sleep too.
If you want to make one too, I’ve added a free PDF pattern download here: