Multi-Piece Lace Mask

So, you want to whip up something quick for some fancy costume occasion? What better excuse than to reach for our embroidery machine! Freestanding lace has become a popular choice to whip up everything from mini hats to masks, and   These lace masks stitch in multiple pieces, all under 4"x4", so they're as easy to make as they are gorgeous! We'll begin with just what you need to stitch up your mask and how to assemble it, and then move on to making it awesome. We're all about making things awesome.

Get close to the action -- check out the Embroidering Lace Masks video to see how it's done!

To craft your freestanding lace mask, you will need:

  • Raven Mask, Kitty Cat Mask, or Foxy Mask embroidery design.
  • Heavy duty water soluble stabilizer
  • Thread
  • Empty bobbin
  • Hand-stitching needle and matching thread
  • Spray starch


First you'll need to stitch out each freestanding lace piece for your mask, one at a time -- three pieces for the Raven Mask, and four pieces for the Cat and Foxy masks. For each lace piece, hoop up a piece of heavy duty water-soluble stabilizer such as Vilene, embroider the design, soak to remove the stabilizer according to the package instructions, and then lay the lace flat to dry.

Need more tips on stitching freestanding lace? Check out this tutorial.

The Foxy Mask requires two different thread colors. Make sure that each color of thread has its own matching bobbin thread to achieve this look.



When you're finished, you have beautiful two-color lace pieces, ready to assemble! Follow the basic instructions below to assemble the pieces together.

Here are your raven mask pieces after they're all stitched and ready to be put together! The mask part is pretty basic, but you might be wondering why the nose piece has a little gash in it. I'll show you how it all stitches together.



First, let's start with the simplest part, the two mask pieces. You can stitch these together by hand, but since they're flat and easily fit under our sewing machine, I'd just use a small zigzag stitch to sew the two pieces together. Call it lazy, I call it efficient.

Now, the nose. That little gap at the front is also meant to be stitched together, closing the nose into the downward curve of a beak. Because of the curved nature of the nose, most of this stitching has to be done by hand. Once you have the nose tip closed, stitch the nose along the bottom curved edge of the mask, using the middle seam of the mask and the seam of the nose to line them up together. Once the nose is stitched in place, the tension will pull the nose into a slight curved shape.



Your raven mask is stitched together! How easy was that? Now, if you're happy with your mask just the way it is, you can skip on down to the starching step, add a string and be done with it ... but you know Urban Threads. We're never content to leave things unadorned. We must make them ... awesome-er! Read on for suggestions to bling up your mask...

The Cat and Fox masks go together similarly. Start by stitching out each freestanding lace piece individually onto water-soluble stabilizer, then rinse and let the lace dry.



Use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine to sew the pieces together. The scallop shape at he bottom of the ears will show you where they fit. The center seam has a bit of a curve to it, so that the kitty nose flips out a bit, but you should be able to get this under a sewing machine too.

Ta da! Your kitty cat mask is all assembled. Just add some ribbon ties to each side...



...and rock some fierce feline fashion at your next costume party!

...or some foxy fashion!



So, how do we take that mask to that new level of awesomeness? Well, you'll need some supplies. To make a blinged-out mask like mine, grab a hot glue gun, some feathers, some heat set crystals, some delicate jewelry chain, and that matching thread you used before. Now is also the time to dig through your crafting box and see what other goodies you might unearth for your mask.

You may notice a somewhat obvious lack of a heat set gun for my heat set crystals. I shall say no more except that I suspect a certain bunny who has a penchant for eating craft supplies was involved in their disappearance. Lucky for you, that affords me an opportunity to show you how to apply heat set crystals without needing that fancy gun! All you need is a nice hot iron and a small scrap of fabric as a pressing cloth.

Note: my lace is stitched out of rayon thread. If you used polyester thread, your lace may be more vulnerable to meltiness when you get it near hot things. Proceed with caution.



So, since these things are pretty permanent once you set them on, I find it best to lay them out to help decide where they look best. Since I'm going with an overall asymmetrical mask layout, I went with a general asymmetrical gem placement. At this point, you could either try and remember where they all go -- do this very, very carefully, or do what I do all the time, which is take a picture of it so you remember where all your crystals go when you're heat setting them.

 I should say at this point, if you have the heat set gun, of course you should use it. If you've never tried it out before check out this tutorial, where you can find out how to embellish a scarf with them. But, if you'd like to know the quick and dirty way of doing it, try this trick:

Cut a little square of fabric as a pressing cloth. Turn your iron onto high (usually the cotton setting) with no steam. Carefully place your crystal on your mask, then lay the pressing cloth on top, and finally the tip of the hot iron. Take care not to shift your crystal when you do this. You'll want to hold your iron on there for about 30 seconds. When you remove it, wait at least 10 seconds to touch your crystal, as the glue may still be hot and not set. Once you've let it cool, test to see if the glue took hold.



Once you're satisfied and you've figured out how to attach your crystals, go to work on the rest of them, one by one. This is why we're waiting to starch our mask, since all the pressing with the iron would ruin the nice curved shape we'll get later from starching.

Your jewels are done! You don't think you're done now, do you?

There is more awesomeness to be had ... feathers! Before you start, I will mention that we will be starching our mask later, and if you're feeling unsure about being able to cover up your feathers, you can always do this step later. Grab some of your pretty feathers and heat up your glue gun. I glued a bunch to add a flourish off to one side. Lay the feathers down and add a generous helping of hot glue. Try to keep them from sticking out to far at the back, or they'll be uncomfortable when you're wearing your mask. Add as many feathers as you like and then let the glue dry.



Remember that "go dig in your craft box" bit? Seriously, go do it. You know you have a bunch of stuff in there you kept "just because." Don't deny it. It's like trying to deny you have a secret fabric stash.

I found this awesome little bit of trim that matched my crystals perfectly that I just had to use. Lace edging and all sorts of other things could be used in a similar manner. Cut it to size, just long enough to go around one side of your mask. For this piece, when I cut the edges, I also added a dab of glue to keep it from fraying behind the mask. Carefully add a line of glue around the back and glue it in place.

Here's my trim all glued in place around the edge of my mask. Pretty, no? You never know what you'll find in your own stash sometimes...



Now, we've loaded all that cool stuff on one side of our mask, crystals, trim, and flouncy feathers. What about the other side?

We're going to offset that with a delicate dangling chain, just to add a touch of class and drama to your mask. With chain as delicate as I'm using, you can actually cut it with a scissors quite easily. However, chain this small is usually too small to attach with normal jump rings. No problem! We just do what we do with everything else... stitch it on! Carefully loop a length of thread through the lace fill at the side of your mask, lace one end through the end loop of the chain, and tie it in place. Tie it a few times for strength, and then for good measure you could always add a small dab of glue to make sure everything stays in place.

Now, loop it to somewhere else on the mask. I'm looping mine all the way out to the side of the beak, kind of like a nose piercing. Choose a link to tie to the beak, but don't cut the chain yet! Once you have one loop attached, you can loop it back to the start. Try offsetting the length of the chains for a dramatic effect. You can do this a lot or a little, depending on how dramatic you want your chain to be.



Once you've decorated your mask to your hearts content, it's time to starch it in place! To help the mask hold it's shape, take a length of string and tie it from one loop of the mask to the other. Pull it tight enough to give the mask a slight curved shape.

Place your mask in a spot that can get a bit messy (not really a pristine white background, it just made better pictures) and carefully spray it with starch. I say carefully because there are some areas on the mask we want to avoid spraying, namely the feathers if you have attached some. I started by carefully starching one side, then using a scrap of paper to mask the feathers from spray and starching the other side. It worked just fine, and my feathers stayed nice and fluffy.



Let your mask dry!

With you mask dry, tie on some string or elastic, and you've got a gorgeous lace mask worthy of dancing the night away at a masquerade. The curved features of the mask bring to mind a dark raven, while the beaked nose is reminiscent of the Venetian masks of Italian carnival. When starched, your mask should hold a nice curved shape that's perfect to display on or off.

Well, we do love it on. We think you will too.

No matter how you dress it, your freestanding lace mask is sure to dazzle any party or costume event!

Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Belle of the Ball Mask (Lace)_image
Belle of the Ball Mask (Lace) $5.99
1 Available Size:
Machine Embroidery: 3.86"w x 3.86"h
Evenfall Lace Mask (Split)_image
Evenfall Lace Mask (Split) $5.99
1 Available Size:
Machine Embroidery: 3.86"w x 3.90"h
Foxy Mask (Lace)_image
Foxy Mask (Lace) $6.99
1 Available Size:
Machine Embroidery: 3.86"w x 3.66"h
Kitty Cat Mask (Lace)_image
Kitty Cat Mask (Lace) $5.99
1 Available Size:
Machine Embroidery: 3.86"w x 3.62"h
Raven Mask (Lace)_image
Raven Mask (Lace) $5.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 3.90"w x 3.66"h | 2.99"w x 2.80"h