Last September I became a little obsessed with a panda – Bao Bao, born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C in late August 2013.
You see, I bought an app so I could watch little Bao Bao and Mama Mei Xiang every.single.day.
If the cameras were down…
…I suffered from panda withdrawal.
Now that Bao Bao is a little older, I don’t watch as obsessively, but I still check in a few times a day, because she’s just so dang cute.
So when my youngest daughter asked for a sleep mask, I knew what I had to do.
Panda-fy her while she sleeps.
I decided to sew a panda sleep mask.
I designed this panda sleep mask for her…but maybe a little bit for me, too.
If your recipient is larger than the average 8-12 year old, you can enlarge this pattern by about 1/4in all the way around, because it’s designed with smaller faces in mind. I’m a pretty small person, so this fits me well, though as an adult I might drop the lower parts of the “eye” sections down a little more to give me more coverage.
…and, of course, it might not fit your husband unless you enlarge it (dare you to take a photo of your husband in this panda sleep mask!)
And with that being said…I wouldn’t recommend this for kids younger than 8, because it could become a choking hazard for little kids. Please use your judgment. I know all readers here have good judgment, right?
What you’ll need:
* Bits of quilting cotton in white, black, and a color of your choice (that’s for backing fabric; I used pink)
* Fusible fleece
* 1/2 yd of fold-over elastic
* Bits of double-sided fusible web
* Sewing machine, scissors, iron, marking tools, pins…and all that jazz.
Sew a panda sleep mask
First, print your Panda sleep mask templates. Get the rest of your supplies together and trace the mask onto the white fabric, the backing fabric, and the fusible fleece…and cut everything out (shown in the photos below). For the fusible fleece, cut a little inside the lines, to make it smaller and reduce bulk at the seams later.
Read your package of fusible web so you know how to use it.
Now trace the facial features (oval eye, triangular nose, and smaller circle for pupil) onto your fusible web and fuse to the back of your black fabric. Trace the larger circles onto fusible web and fuse to the back of white fabric scraps.
Trace 4 ear pieces onto the black fabric. Don’t use fusible on the ear pieces.
(of course, don’t trace the 1-inch test square in the lower left corner. Just measure it to make sure it’s 1-in square. That way, you know your mask will be the right size).
Carefully place the oval eyes and nose onto the front of the mask, making sure they’re more than 1/4in away from any edges. Once you’re happy with the placement, fuse them with your iron. Sew them with a satin stitch or basic zigzag, making sure that the stitching reaches just over the applique so it won’t fray.
Layer the white iris and the black pupil onto the oval eye patches, as shown. Sew in place as before (shown below).
Look at how how cute the panda is already!
Once you’ve finished the applique, fuse the fleece to the back of the front of the mask. (yeah, sounds weird, but I think you know what I mean). Next, sew two ear pieces right sides together with a 1/4in seam allowance along the top curve of the ear. Leave the bottom side open so you can turn it right side out and press.
Repeat with the second ear.
Now pin the ears onto the front of the mask, facing down, as shown in the third photo below.
Baste the ears down, about 1/8in from the edge.
Now, measure around the back of the recipient’s head to determine how long to make the elastic. My daughter was visiting her grandparents so she wasn’t here…so I just put the elastic around the back of my head, while stretching, and made it a little bit shorter than that, for her.
Baste the elastic right side down onto the front of the mask, as shown, using a 1/8in seam allowance as shown below.
And you’re almost there!
Lay the back fabric right sides together with the front of the mask. Make sure the elastic is away from the edges! Stitch with a 1/4in seam all the way around – except for a 2-3 inch opening so you can turn your cute little panda right side out later.
Clip and notch the curves if you want everything to be perfect!
If this is for a girl, feel free to add a little bow or embellishment to dress up your panda. I stitched a fabric yo yo onto the panda sleep mask to represent a hair flower!
When you sew a panda sleep mask, you’re using scraps from your stash as well as making a child smile.
Best of both worlds in sewing, in my opinion!
For whom will you make your sleep mask?
Deanna McCool writes for sewmccool.com. To make sure you don’t miss future posts, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box!