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DIY domino-style mask

Are you one of those people who has already finished their Halloween costume (handmade, obviously), have already posted multiple Instagram pics, and have already RSVP’d to all the events and parties that will be graced with your presence (and your awesome costume)?

Then this post is not for you!

I made this tutorial and pattern download for people like me…you love the idea of an amazing costume, but somehow it never comes to fruition…

(I can’t tell you how many elaborate plans I’ve made for awesome costumes that never happened…Ursula, Calypso, Bellatrix, Eartha Kitt-style Catwoman…sigh.)

free pdf pattern and tutorial for a domino-style mask

Don’t fret, my friend! Download my domino-style mask pattern and make yourself a costume that is super-simple but also awesome. Just pair your finished mask with simple clothes you already have!

I made mine in an Italian Carnivale style, but the pattern is so simple, you could do pretty much anything with it. You could use primary colors (or solid black) for a super-hero style mask. You could use feathers or fur for some kind of animal costume. Or, if you’re going for creepy and scary rather than shiny and pretty, switch out all the gold trims for spiders, bats, or fake scars.

If you want to make one like mine, there’s only a few steps!

 

step 1: gather fabric & trims

materials to make my domino mask - felt, black ribbon and gold trims

 

I used felt for my mask, but you could use any type of fabric! If your fabric is very flimsy, you might consider a layer of interfacing as well.

My theme was red and gold, so all my trims and decorations are gold: ribbon, ric rac, netting, embroidery floss, metallic thread, and glass beads.

You’ll also want ribbon or elastic to keep your mask in place while you wear it. I chose black ribbon for the ties, since the lining of my mask is also black.

 

step 2: cut 2 masks

front and back of mask in red and black felt

 

I chose black fabric as the back of my mask, but there’s no reason both layers can’t be the same color. Just remember whatever you choose as the lining will be rubbing against your face all night, so choose carefully!

Click here to download the PDF pattern, and remember to set scaling to “none” when you print…otherwise the mask might come out a little too small. The pattern includes a 1″ test square to make sure you get the scaling right!

 

step 3: decorate the front & attach ribbon ties

red felt mask with gold embellishments

 

This is the fun part! Stitch on whatever you’d like to decorate your mask. I used the metallic thread to sew on the gold trims on one half of my mask. For the other side, I used embroidery floss to stitch in little asterisk-style stars, with a little gold bead in the center of each.

Since I wanted a Carnivale look (but I don’t have any feathers), I used gold netting instead. These were tulle circles meant for bridal favors (I have no idea why they are in my stash…these things happen to me sometimes), that I folded into a fan shape.

Remember, anything you want to stick out of the edge of your finished mask has to be stitched so that it is facing inwards:

decorated mask with ribbon ties and tulle accents added

That way, once you sew on the back, and turn the whole thing right-side-out, your ribbon ties and other embellishments will be facing the right way.

Also: remember your seam allowance! Keep all your embellishments away from the edge of the mask, so you don’t risk sewing over them in the next step!

 

step 4: sew front and back together

mask with black lining pinned in place

 

With right sides facing, pin and stitch the front and back of your mask together, all the way around the outside edge, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Make sure to back stitch over the ends of your ribbon ties/elastic to reinforce those stress points.

Trim the seam allowance all the way around. Gently turn your mask right side out through one of the eye holes, being careful not to damage any of your fancy embellishments.

 

step 5: finish the eye holes

mask turned right side out, the eye holes don't match!

 

Once you’ve turned your mask right side out, you’ll need to carefully finger-press, and then press with an iron.

You might find that a bit of your lining fabric is showing through the eye holes. No worries! Just baste the edges of the eye holes together, keeping your stitch close to the edge of the front fabric, and then trim the rest off.

 

trimmed eye holes

 

If you like the way this stitch looks, you can leave it at that. In fact, you might want to do this step with a decorative hand-stitch with embroidery floss, depending on the look you’re going for.

I wanted more glitter and shine, so I finished my eye holes with more metallic thread. I used the widest and shortest zig zag stitch on my machine, and stitched two layers, since the metallic thread is so thin.

Your machine might have a satin stitch which achieves essentially the same look. Try out both on a bit of scrap fabric to see which one you like best!

Note: metallic thread is easiest to use when you also have needles especially for metallic thread (they have larger eyes). I cheated though, and used my size 90 universal needle. I figure this is for a costume, it’s not that serious. BUT you will definitely want to slow down while you sew with metallic thread; it can break easily if it is subjected to too much friction!

finished Italian Carnivale style mask in red and gold

There you have it friends, an easy, low-stress way to have a handmade costume, for Halloween or any masquerade event. Happy sewing and trick-or-treating!

 

 

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DIY bow tie five different ways

It’s a fact: bow ties are cool.

group of handmade bow ties

As soon as I introduced the necktie to my online shop, I had people asking me about bow ties. And the same was true when I introduced my four fold necktie pattern! The fact is that bow ties are never going to go out of style.

The good news is my bow tie pattern is now available for sale, and it includes the traditional butterfly style bow and the swanky diamond point bow. The even better news is I’m going to show you three more variations!

Although I am showing them tied here, my pattern is for a freestyle bow tie you tie yourself, not a clip-on or pre-tied tie.

reversible, diamond-point bow tie

variation #1: make it reversible
When it comes to fabric, my motto is more is better. Why choose just one awesome fabric when you can have two? With a reversible bow tie, you can see both fabrics or one or the other, depending on how you tie it!

fabric layout for reversible bow tie

Achieving the look is simple. Your bow tie is in four parts: two short ends and two long ends.

To make your bow tie reversible, all you have to do is cut one set (one short end and one long end) in one fabric, and the other set in a coordinating/contrasting fabric.

If you were feeling really crazy, no reason you couldn’t use four different coordinating fabrics. Wild!

(If you want to make your bow tie reversible AND adjustable ~ instead you’ll cut both short ends in one fabric, and both long ends in the other fabric.)

adjustable bow ties

variation #2: make it adjustable
My bow tie pattern is for a fitted tie, but it is super easy to make it adjustable, if (a) you don’t know the shirt collar size of the wearer or (b) you simply prefer a little flexibility.

First, you’re going to need some hardware. I use this 3-part set, which I purchase from the amazing Wawak.com for a ridiculously low price.

They are sturdy, yet slim, for a comfortable fit underneath a shirt collar.

3 part bow tie hardware

Next you’re going to need to adjust the pattern. All you need to do is add a few inches…add 1″ to the short end, and 5″ to the long end.

The pattern tells you to create a front and a back of the tie by joining one short end to one long end.

For an adjustable tie, instead you will sew the short ends to each other and the long ends to each other (right sides facing, all the way around, leaving the opening at the pointed end of the strap).

bow tie with adjustable strap

You’ll turn each end of the tie right side out, and then fold under the raw ends to wrap around the hardware. The hardware joins the two completed ends together. That’s it!

variation #3: make it “batwing”
In addition to the traditional butterfly tip and the diamond point tip, you can go for the ultra modern batwing bow tie.

(I have no idea why it is called this. It is clearly not shaped like any part of a bat, nor any type of wing, as far as I can tell. EDIT: apparently it is so-called because it resembles the shape of a cricket bat!)

Adjusting the pattern to make this style of tie is ridiculously easy!

adjusting the bow tie pattern to make it batwing style

Start with your butterfly bow tie pattern. Take a ruler and draw a straight line from the widest part of the curve of the bow, straight out towards the end of the bow.

The line will cut off the very point of the tip of the bow, and that’s okay.

batwing bow tie pattern

This will form a paddle sort of shape, which is what you want to form the “batwing” bow. There is no curve in this style of bow tie, which gives it its modern silhouette.

With so many variations, you can make a bow tie for every well-dressed gentleman you know (or lady…lots of ladies in my classes make bow ties for themselves!), and they can all be different.

Click here to get the pattern and start sewing tonight! As always, send me pictures of the ones you make, I would love to see them!

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