Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dress-up Box: Masks

Three masks for the Box. 
They are simple and relatively quick to make. 
So here is a tutorial.

You will need (for each mask)
  • Felt for the front of the mask
  • Fleece for the back
  • Some soft material for the elastic casing
  • Elastic -mine was about 14" long and 3/8" wide
  • Fusible interfacing
Draw out a pattern or use mine here:

Step 1
  • Cut the front piece (felt) to size, but do not cut the eyeholes out.
  • Cut the piece of interfacing to size and iron it onto the felt.
  • Cut the back piece (fleece) larger than the felt piece.
  • If there are any additional felt layers, cut those out to size and cut the eyeholes out.

The thing to remember is that the mask will have many layers. Cut out the eyeholes only in the topmost layer. You can cut the lower layer eyeholes later - it will be easier than trying to align eyeholes of different layers in the sewing process. In the picture below, I did not cut the eyeholes out of the green/teal mask yet because the two halves are held together only by the interfacing and I planned to secure them together with stitching first.

Step 2
Construct the elastic casing.

Here I was experimenting with various fabrics: green chiffon, black satin cut on the straight, and pink satin cut on the bias.
Essentially you need a rectangle about 18" long and 1.5" wide. Fold in half lengthwise, sew a 1/4" seam allowance along the length and turn turn inside out. Stuff the elastic in with a small safety pin. Secure the elastic inside the tube at both ends with stitching.

You should get a wiggly tube like this:
unless, like me, you cut the rectangle on the bias, in which case you would get a weird smooth tube like this:

Working on the white and pink masquerade mask:

Step 3
  • Sew the white felt and fleece pieces together.
  • Trim the excess fleece away around the edge.

Step 4
  • Attach the elastic casing to both ends of the mask from the back. Attach the ends about 1" in from the edge of the mask. To decide how long the elastic case should be, you will need to measure around your child's head where the mask will be worn and get the best fit.

A close-up of the attachment point.

Step 5
  • Position the pink top layer on the front and top-stitch around the edge of the pink layer. If you were careful in the earlier step (I wasn't), the pink layer should hide the stitching of the attachment point.

Step 6
Top-stitch on the pink layer around the eyeholes.

Step 7
  • Cut out the eyeholes in the lower layers.
  • Trim more of the fleece away if you did a shoddy job of it earlier (like I did).

Step 8

Step 9
  • Working on the split green/teal mask, begin by running a row of zigzag stitches along the join between the two colors (scroll down to see these stitches in the picture in Step 11). 
  • Then embellish with embroidery. 
  • Cut out the eyeholes.

Step 10
Attach the elastic casing to just the back of the fleece layer. This is to avoid the stitching of the attachment point from being visible in the front of the mask. As with the white mask, attach the ends about 1" in from the edge of the mask.

Step 11
  • Position the felt layer above the fleece layer and top-stitch along the edge and around the eyeholes as with the white mask. 
  • Cut out the eyeholes in the fleece layer and trim away the excess fleece.

The completed mask

Step 12
With the superhero mask, position all the layers as shown and top-stitch around the edge of the black felt, then around the eyeholes.

Step 13
  • Trim away the excess fleece just around the ends of the mask (where the elastic case will be attached), then sandwich the end of the elastic case between the red felt and fleece layers. 
  • Top stitch around the edge of the red felt, catching the elastic case ends on both attachment points as you stitch.
The picture on the left shows how the elastic case is attached 
in the superhero mask. This allows the mask to wrap around 
the wearer's face fully. It is different from the way the casing 
is attached in the other two masks (other picture), because 
we don't want the elastic to pull the corners of those 
masks back when they are worn. 

The completed superhero mask.

I did think of sewing a superhero cape also, but there already 
are big pieces of cape-like fabric in the Box that the girls can 
drape over their shoulders. But if they want a cape that fastens 
around their necks, I will work on one after Christmas. 
Here's a great tutorial and pattern for that.


  1. This is going to be the most fantastic Dress Up Box ever!! I really want to make one for my girls now, and will surely come back here for many ideas!

    I was so surprised when you showed the photo of the bias-cut casing. I would never have guessed that it wouldn't have ripples, but it does make sense when i think about it.

    Oh, and at first it didn't really register when you mentioned sewing the elastic 1" in from the edges on the first two. But then your explanation hit home on the third one. What a great detail to think of.

  2. This blog has kept me reading and drooling for an hour, I hope to make everything I see, what a treasure to find your blog! Thank you!!
    Olga from The Netherlands

  3. This is awesome and completely perfect for our costumes. Thank you for the thorough tutorial and excellent mask!


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