sugar skull mask

19 Oct

A quick break from the birthday presents for a Halloween treat.

I’ve mentioned Spoonflower and my obsession with random fabric designs before in this space. Well this project was my entry (now available for sale) for a fabric design contest featuring masks.

For some reason, the second I saw that there would be a mask contest my mind went straight to a sugar skull. Truthfully, the reason might be have been that I was wearing a shirt with one on it at the time. I’d been wondering why they never seem to be terribly prevalent as a Halloween costume. I’d always found the decoration on sugar skulls to be really interesting, so I figured I’d have a go at it.

This also proved to be the perfect excuse to bust out my felt-tipped pens and draw a bunch of weird random stuff, which I absolutely love. A page or two full of sparrows, lightning bolts, matches, knives, swirls, stars, and flowers later, I was ready to begin.

I based the basic face-fitting oval shape of the mask on one I already had that was made out of cardboard. I made it curve a bit closer to the forehead to help hold it in place. Originally I’d decided to make the mask fit a man’s head (that’s the size in the pictures). After sewing my first one up, I decided to scale it down a bit so it’d be closer to fitting people with smaller heads.

At first, I’d debated making the mask in black, white and grey, but while looking for inspiration I was stuck by how pretty the more colorful sugar skulls were. I picked a palette of bright colors and went for a watercolor look. When the printed fabric came in I loved the way it turned out. I’d printed a test on paper beforehand, but the colors and patterns looked really nice on the cotton.

To make the mask, I bought innerfuse (double sided fusible interfacing). I made an innerfuse sandwich with the patterned mask pieces on one side and plain unbleached muslin on the other side and ironed the whole thing together. I then cut out around the edges and zig-zag stitched the edges to make it look more finished. I sewed the mask pieces together by hand and that was pretty much it.

I was planning on making a mask for each of my nieces and my nephew, but it took until I tried the mask on to realize that maybe a mask I’d made to fit an adult man wasn’t the best present for kids under 10. They are now getting sugar skull pillows made from the same fabric since I didn’t leave myself enough time to print the fabric again.

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