Sew Karen-ly Created...

If you have arrived here via a link (such as to a tutorial) click on "Sew Karen-ly Created" to return to the latest blog post. I invite you to my website to see a gallery of quilts and patterns available for purchase.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday 19 July 2020

Adventures in Mask Making: First Draft

Yesterday my friend Cheryl (aka Grandma Coco's Designs) posted these incredibly beautiful, embroidered masks which she makes as a fundraiser for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. Her two-tone masks in particular spoke to me, as I had not considered fancy piecing as mask covers.  When she first shared her progress photos with me a week or so ago, I jokingly told her I should do a New York Beauty one, and she of course said, "great idea - I think you should do it!" That sounded a bit like a challenge...or a I decided to give it a go.

Where to start? In drafting the pattern, I started with the thinking that 4 New York Beauty blocks set together form a circle;  the rounded edge of that quarter circle centre section could form the curve up the nose.  I began by drawing a circle and worked back from there.
Normally, I draw my patterns in EQ8 but I figured flying blind would mean lots of erasing, and easier to do that by hand. It came out looking a bit like a basketball at first...
Once I had the shape, my easy method for adding seam allowances on curved edges is to unthread the machine and stitch with my 1/4" foot.  I did that all the way around my template.
Using my curved ruler, I marked equal divisions on the outer ring and staggered divisions on the inner ring.  With a ruler, I connected the dots to make the NYB spikes. 
Once I had my pattern, I made 3 copies to cut up into a template and a foundation.
With only three spikes, the foundation piecing was quick.  I reached in and pulled Island Batik scraps from a basket as I went, paying no attention to colour at all.
After the foundations were trimmed, I added the curved bottom section. I used my pieced sections as a pattern to cut two pieces of lining from batik, and also one layer of nonwoven interfacing.   In total my mask has 3 layers, two with no needle punctures.
I added a casing to each end to insert the elastic, which made it easy to adjust the length for my mask model. I call her Louise.  Her ears are not in the same place as mine. :)
Granted, you don't really get the effect of a NYB block;  it's more of a diamond pattern across the centre which stands out.
It's really not a bad fit, for either me or Louise, and perhaps a good jumping off point to try again.  Having spent most of my summer with monotonous mask sewing, it made for a nice change of pace.
The nay-sayers will be quick to point out that there are perforations in the mask because of the seams,  and thus not safe to wear.  I will say again that the pieced layer is simply a cover, and that there are two layers underneath this, one of which is non-woven. It was a fun project to challenge my brain.  Thank you, Cheryl, for your continued inspiration! :)


  1. That is very cool! Now I have to go look at Cheryl's. I obviously don't visit Facebook very often.

  2. Love the side pieces that show the NYB points off so well. Yes, layers under are the safe way to go, and batiks are so finely woven, the perfect fabric for a mask. I can see more of these coming soon.

  3. It's so cool to see how you go about things! I imagine it's a little glimpse into the way your mind works... and your mind is very impressive! I love your mask!

  4. Well.....that's a cheerful mask, for sure!

  5. That is so cool! I have made masks but been slacking. Trying to do a little catchup on my projects!