I’ve been struggling with neck and back pain for over a year now. Chiropractic and physical therapy haven’t seemed to be working so I’ve been looking for alternative, DIY treatments to manage my pain and heal. The first thing I’ve started is learning and practicing yoga. I’ve found that the gentle stretching and relaxation techniques that yoga promotes help to calm my nervous system and relax tight muscles. One of my favorite poses that I do every day is called Legs-Up-The-Wall. I try to hold the position for 10-15 minutes at a time and always feel better afterwards!
A prop I like to use while doing the Legs-Up-The-Wall pose is an aromatherapy eye pillow. I find that it really helps me to relax! Rather than going out and buying one, I decided to make my own. Inspired by my own feline pets, I made this cute ‘Cat Nap’ eye pillow. It was such an fun sewing project, I wanted to share my pattern and process.
I ordered my herbs in bulk from the San Francisco Herb Company. Beware that they aren’t joking when they say ‘bulk’! I have A TON of these herbs on hand now. I’m ok with it as I know I’ll find more ways to use them. But you can also look for a local herbal apothecary in your area. Here’s a little info about the herbs I chose:
Lavender: Soothing, relaxing and eases headaches.
Chamomile: Calming, relaxing, and said to keep bad dreams away
Lemon Balm: Relieves stress, anxious and nervous feelings, insomnia, stress, and headaches.
Check out The Mountain Rose Blog for more herbal suggestions and their effects.
‘Cat Nap’ Eye Pillows
Note: This is an intermediate level sewing project. I used my sewing machine, but this project could also be done completely by hand.
Also, I have included links to videos on how to do the basic embroidery stitches I used for the cat face. Another alternative if you don’t want to embroider is to buy fabric markers and simply draw the face on.
• ‘Cat Nap’ Eye Pillow Pattern
• Cotton fabric (I chose fabrics in calming colors like blue, purple and green. Plus some pink for the inside of the cat’s ears)
• Pink and black embroidery floss
• 3 tablespoons of each: dried lavender, chamomile, lemon balm (I ordered in bulk from the SF Herb Company)
• 1 cup flax (purchased from the bulk section at my local grocery store)
• Sewing machine & thread
• Fabric scissors
• Craft scissors
• Transfer paper
• Iron & ironing board
• Small embroidery hoop
Step One: Cut Out Your Pattern
Print out the pattern provided and cut out with craft scissors. Following the instruction on the pattern, cut out all your fabric pieces using fabric scissors. Iron all your pieces flat.
Step Two: Draw the cat face
Pattern piece A is the front of your pillow and also where you will embroider the cat face. Fold your fabric in half and iron. This fold will be your center guide for the face. Lightly sketch the eyes, nose and mouth freehand with a pencil. If drawing freehand isn’t your thing, you can also use transfer paper to trace the cat face directly from the pattern onto the fabric.
Step Three: Embroider the cat face
Cut a length of black embroidery floss and thread it through your needle. Using a Back Stitch, embroider the eyes and mouth of the cat.
Next cut a length of pink embroidery floss and and rethread your needle. Back Stitch the outline of the cat’s nose, then use a Satin Stitch to fill in the outline (note: you’ll notice in the video, she uses a split stitch as an outline instead of the back stitch. Feel free to do either).
Now that your cat face is complete, you can begin sewing your pieces together!
Step Four: Sew the Cat Ears
To sew the cat ears, put two pattern C pieces together, right sides facing in. Use a small pin to hold in place. With your sewing machine (or by hand), sew around the top sides of the ears leaving a ¼” seam allowance. Repeat for the second ear. Turn both ears right side out and press with an iron.
Take pattern piece D and pin to the center of each ear. Sew again along the top sides of each ear, leaving about a ¼” seam allowance.
Step Five: Sew the pillow
Next it’s time to sew all the pillow pieces together. Pin the ears, front side facing down onto the top of the cat face. Be sure to place them equal distance apart from the center. Next place piece B on the top, right side facing down and pin together with piece A.
Sew all the way around, making sure to sew through the edge of the ears, leaving a ¼” seam allowance. Leave about a 2-3” opening at the bottom edge (so we can fill the pillow with the flax and herbs).
Trim notches where indicated on the pattern (be sure not to snip through your stitches) and then turn right side out and press with the iron.
Step Six: Fill the Pillow with Herbs
Add 1 cup of flax plus 3 tablespoons of each herb of your choice. Carefully hand stitch the opening closed.