I realize that there are people out there who just do not enjoy the scent of lavender.
I do not understand those people.
Lavender is one of those scents that can calm me down in a hot second, and make my home smell nice while it’s at it. I was lucky enough to have had it growing right outside my house, and I’ve harvested it to use for various things. One project I have used it for is an eye pillow!
I offer eye pillows to my Reiki clients as well as Yoga students during savasana or throughout a restorative class. For me, there is something so comforting about the combination of the sweet smell, weight, and darkness.
I first had the experience of using a pillow like this years ago in a Yoga class. It was only when I was leaving that I realized there was no cover on the pillows, meaning that they could not be washed. I had just willingly agreed to putting something on my face that had been on who knows how many other faces *cue horrified emoji followed by the “I’m gonna be sick” one*. This was gross to me then, but think about how that would have played out in today’s climate!
After that class I got to thinking about where I could buy some for myself and searched on Etsy and Amazon. I found some that I liked, but they didn’t come with a cover. It took me a while, but eventually I bought a few and planned on making some covers myself. At this point I was near the end of my first Yoga teacher training, and knew I would want to be able to offer them during classes someday. How bizarre it is to realize that, years ago, teaching Yoga was just a pipe dream for younger me!
The pillows I had purchased were larger than I was used to and as much as I liked having some on hand, I wanted them to better fit the idea I had for them in my head. Here is where I started voraciously searching Pinterest for posts about making eye pillows by hand. There were loads of options and it got overwhelming! I realized I knew what I wanted them to look like and they weren’t very complicated, so I could just try my luck at creating some all by myself. I gathered my supplies, formed a plan, and just went for it.
These pillows and covers are made using:
- soft material (cotton fabric if you have it, or reuse an old pillowcase or sheet)
- quality thread
- a sewing machine (or can be sewn by hand!)
- a rotary cutter, fabric scissors, or really any decent scissors that will get the job done
- pins (or whatever you have, I’ve used chip clips in a pinch)
- a ruler, or measuring tape
- a funnel (you can easily make one with some paper if need be!)
These pillows are filled with:
- buckwheat groats (or rice, popcorn kernels, flax seeds)
- dried lavender (I dried my own using a dehydrator but you could do so with an oven at an extremely low temperature; more info in the steps below)
- lavender essential oil
- a few tiny amethyst crystals (I had a jar of some from a local crystal shop, but I found some here on Etsy that you can purchase by the ounce)
Keep in mind that if you are making these to use at home for yourself or your family, they do not need to be perfect! As long as they’re secure enough that there won’t be rice and lavender spilling all over your face, they’re fine. I added amethyst crystals to mine because I am a fan of crystals, amethyst in particular, and thought having a little extra healing element to these could only make them cooler. If you like a different type of crystal, use that instead! If you would rather just have the lavender, omit the crystal! There are no rules here. You could also omit the lavender essential oil if you don’t have any, or swap it out for something else you like. There are so many ways to customize these.
Okay, here we go:
Once you have everything you need, lay your material out on a flat surface. Fold it over, then measure a 4″ by 9″ rectangle and cut that out with one of the 9″ sides on the fold –this step is important because the directions in this post apply to the fabric being cut on the fold. If you don’t, you may get confused! If you don’t have a big enough swatch of fabric to even cut on a fold and you have to use two separate pieces, then make sure you remember to sew along that edge that is meant to be a fold. This is your pillow.
You can use that same material to cut another piece out (also on the fold) measuring 5″ by 10″. This will be your cover. The pillow itself won’t be seen but the cover will be so you may want to use a prettier/fancier/cooler fabric. Just remember that the cover is what will be touching your face so the fabric should be something comfortable! Like, definitely don’t use canvas.
Take your newly cut piece of fabric for the pillow and fold it so that the two right sides are together. If you’re using material that doesn’t have distinct sides (I have used an old white organic cotton pillowcase before) then don’t worry about this step. Pin the two sides together so they don’t move around. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew along the bottom and the open side leaving the top open. If you’re using a machine make sure to backstitch a few times at the start and the finish to help keep that fabric together. If you’re sewing by hand, also be sure to reinforce!
Flip the fabric inside out. Looks nice, right?! You’re already on your way. Set that aside and get out your cover material. Fold along the top by about a half inch, then fold it over again so that you can’t see any of the raw edge; you may want to bust out the iron for this part to keep that fold down. Pin that, and sew it down using the 1/4″ seam allowance. This will make the opening of the cover look nice and finished but again, it doesn’t need to be perfect.
Now, just like with the pillow, you’re going to put the right sides together of the cover if there are any, and pin together. Sew along the bottom and the open side, still using 1/4″ seam allowance. Once you’re done, flip it inside out. Look at that. LOOK AT IT! It’s so simple yet so beautiful because it’s handmade, baby.
Use a medium sized bowl to mix together your buckwheat groats (or whatever you’re using) and your dried lavender together. The amount of each will really come down to your personal preference. I use about a half cup of the groats, and 1/8-1/4 cup of the dried lavender. You’ll add some drops of the lavender essential oil to the mix now (again, how many drops is up to you) and mix it all together.
I had to retake the photos for this post, so here you’ll see rice instead of groats and a large amethyst crystal rather than the teeny ones I’ve used before since I couldn’t find the jar of them. The crystal is there just to remind you to add yours, but I don’t recommend using this size!
*Note about the dried lavender: At the time I was writing this post I happened to have lavender growing at my house and I also happen to have a dehydrator. I realize this is not the case for everyone! If you have lavender but no dehydrator, you can hang bundles up to dry over a few days, or use your oven at its lowest temperature, checking on it often so nothing burns. If you don’t have lavender, you can buy some! Tip: Trader Joe’s sells dryer sachets of lavender, you could easily just cut those open and use the lavender that’s inside them.
Using your funnel, pour the measured amount of filling into your pillow through that end you left open. Toss in the crystals, if you’re using them, after holding them for a moment and setting the intention for them to bring you peace and serenity anytime you use the eye pillow. Pinch the end of the fabric closed for a moment to see if the amount of filling you put it seems sufficient. If all is well, move on to the next step!
Fold the edge of the fabric inward so there is no raw edge, and pin it closed. Sew that end up, being sure to backstitch and make it as secure as possible.
Slip the pillow inside the cover, and that’s it!
Less than 10 steps, not too shabby. Let me know if you make one! They are amazinggg when chilled in the fridge or freezer for a bit, especially for headaches. Once you have the hang of it they are great to make as gifts. Just remember that the cover can be washed (following instructions for the particular material you used) but the pillow itself can not. You can, however, add more essential oil drops to the outside of the pillow anytime it could use an extra boost of scent.