For teacher's gifts this year I decided to make eye pillows, to be given with some tea and wrapped up in a cute ribbon-tied package. I'm on the Board of Directors for the kids' school, so I'm making eighteen patchwork eye pillows for all the teachers and aides as a thank you from the Board.
Many flax-filled eye pillows are scented with lavender, however, some people don't like that herb much so I'm making them unscented. These go together quickly with scraps, and there is no hand sewing (this will also help ensure no flax seeds escape!).
I used my Sizzix Fabi with the 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle die (2 x 4" finished). This is a fantastic way to use up leftover binding, provided you typically use 2.5" wide binding! I ran eight layers of fabric through at a time — cutting pad, die blade facing up, fabric, cutting pad — and in no time I had more than enough pieces to make 18 eye pillows. Each eye pillow uses five 2.5 x 4.5" rectangles, one 4.5 x 10.5" piece of fabric for the back and 8.5 ounces of flax seed (available at most grocery stores).
Arrange each top with five rectangles and sew together with 1/4" seam allowances. Press seams open. Top stitch on each side of the seam; this is for decorative detail as well as to keep the flax seeds from getting trapped in the inner seams. Use the chain piecing method for the top stitching to save time. Separate the eye pillow tops from each other. Right sides facing, pair each top with a bottom and sew around three sides with a 1/4" seam allowance. Clip the corners, turn and press.
Sew a line across the bottom, 1" from the last seam (see arrows, above); it will stop the flax seeds from getting into the ends.
I use a crude cardsock funnel made from junk mail (sorry, Amex). If the bottom is too narrow, the funnel will clog. The bottom of this funnel is roughly 3/4". Holding the eye pillow and funnel over a bowl, pour in 8.5 ounces of flax seed.
There is exactly 8.5 ounces of flax seed in this Pyrex measuring cup.
The empty eye pillow weighs .25 ounce, so each eye pillow weighs 8.75 ounces. I love using my kitchen scale for sewing projects! Do not fill the pillow — it is important that there is plenty of room for the seeds to move around.
Pin and clip eye pillow above the seeds, making sure that the top rough edges are aligned. Sew a line 1" away from the last seam. This seam holds the flax seeds in the pillow.
Turn the raw edges under and press. Top stitch the opening closed, making sure to be close enough to the edge to catch the raw edge in the seam. Turn the pillow around and edge stitch the other side so they match. My machine gave me grief with this until I remembered to use my edge stitching foot.
It was a wonderful excuse to go through my scrap drawer. Some of the color combinations were new, some were random and others were inspired by the quilts that left the scraps.
Fussy cut cats were fun, and the bottom eye pillow of this trio is made from scraps from my last Supernova block.
Seven are done, which means I still need to fill and finish these 11. You can almost get three eye pillows out of one 24 ounce bag of flax seed, but as I chose to make them with 8.5 ounces each, I wound up needing a little bit more.
Mickey Mouse was tired from too much Thanksgiving turkey, so he kicked back with an eye pillow for a little snooze. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!