Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Crafting eye pillows for special people in your life: A tribute for World Ovarian Cancer Day

Although I made these eye pillows late last year I held off on writing this post since I gave one in our family's Kris Kringle and I didn't want to blow my cover. Sadly I am sharing it because the recipient of my secret gift has passed away. My aunt was quite sick with ovarian cancer at Christmas. I don't think any of us realised just how sick she was though. She died within 2 months. Since she was only 49 it has been a stark reminder to us all that life is fleeting and you can't know what might be around the corner.

My gorgeous aunt at our wedding 2011
I love eye pillows and thought that it was an appropriate gift for my aunt while she was having chemotherapy. I discovered them during rest time (shavasana) in yoga and found they help me to relax and unwind. I liked the idea of making an eye pillow since it would be more personal. We also had a $20 limit for our gifts so it helped me to come in under budget while still being able to give other things as part of the gift.

Since my sewing skills are rather lacking, however, I was a bit hesitant about how it would go. Luckily a friend had recently made herself one, although she used a sewing machine. She encouraged me to do it and said it would be easy. Now that's my kind of project!

I went to the fabric store to buy some silk. That's right, I went straight to the silk. The eye pillows I had previously used in yoga class were silk and I loved the feel of the cold soft fabric on my eyes. Once I started looking I realised that the silk could have been spun by child labour for all I knew. I didn't feel comfortable buying new fabric either. Surely there was a more ethical way to make my gift?

The local op shops were my next step to see if they had any silk items that I could upcycle for my project. I was in luck! I found the most beautiful fabric in a dress that cost about $25 from memory (note: since I could make multiple eye pillows I decided that adhered to the Kris Kringle rules). I was sad to cut it up but the style didn't suit me at all. Then I was set to start. I am glad I chose silk because, apart from being lovely on, the silk ended up being very easy to sew.

I cut the fabric in a long rectangle of 10 x 25cm to make sure there would be room for my rather unskilled sewing errors. Then I hand sewed three and a half of the sides, turned it inside out and filled it with linseeds. I was careful not to overfill it since it wouldn't feel as nice or shape as nicely to the face. I also added some dried lavender from the garden for a slight scent to aid with relaxation. I only added about 2 teaspoons of lavender so that it wasn't too strong but some blogs recommend adding much more. After filling it, I sewed the last part up and it was done. I made an extra eye pillow for myself at the same time.

I have been very happy with the mine, despite it being a tad wonky. I use it after every yoga practice during shavasana. I encourage you to give it a go - give one to someone special in your life and keep one for yourself.

This Friday is World Ovarian Cancer Day. Learn the facts about ovarian cancer and share them with at least 5 people to try and raise awareness of ovarian cancer amongst women everywhere. To find out more about ovarian cancer and the symptoms follow this link to Ovarian Cancer Australia's website. 

My aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in late 2013 and died in February 2015. She stopped work immediately after her diagnosis and had two prolonged chemotherapy treatments. It has been a terrible loss to our family, particularly for her older siblings. My mum and uncle. May she rest in peace and be lovingly remembered always.


  1. Oh, a great cause and what a lovely gesture.

    (And I bet the wonkiness adds to its beauty!!!)

    1. Hi Deborah, thanks, yes it certainly has a homemade feel about it :-)