Thursday, 20 December 2018

Machine embroidery – sleep masks

I love Celtic designs as some of you may know. I have made a Celtic Owl notebook and will post separately (should really be first but hey ho). From the same company I bought the pattern for the Celtic Owl notebook cover, I bought a pattern for two sizes of sleep masks. I say the notebook should be first because I learned from that , though I actually completed it second. The main thing I learned was to trim VERY close to the stitching.

Okay, onto the masks. I downloaded the pattern I had purchased (Stitch Delight), looked at it and the instructions accompanying it, and transferred it to my embroidery machine.

I made the first mask (the gold and black one) in the same gold metallic lame I used for the notebook cover. I hooped black stabiliser and floated black batting and the fabric. I liked that the pattern suggested stitching the first step directly onto the stabiliser to allow you to see exactly where the design was stitched and use the bare minimum of batting and fabric – these are held in place with temporary glue until the machine puts a securing line of stitching in place and then it’s fine.
The first mask went very well. After the mask shape is stitched, then ribbon and a further layer of batting and fabric (this time, black Kona cotton) is attached to the back, again using a spray of glue. For this mask, I didn’t have any gold or black ribbon so decided to use some of the green I had. Then the layers are stitched together back in the machine. After that, the fabric and batting on both sides of the hoop are trimmed back close to the stitching joining the layers but the stabiliser stays in place. So, in the hoop there is a sandwich of, from the bottom, fabric, batting, ribbon, stabiliser, batting and fabric. The hoop is then put back into the machine and decorative satin stitch border is added all around. After that, the stabiliser has to be trimmed away from the stitching.  This was the trickiest bit! It could be closer but I feared cutting the stitching.

The green ribbon inspired me to make a mask for Helen using the green silk from the dress I made for her (another post). I hooped up as before and the design started stitching out – but then….
What a mess on the right hand side!

The machine gave an audible error warning that there was a problem with the top thread, which is easy to fix. Instead, I found that a large part of the design had stitched badly and the inside of the hoop had slipped out of the outside. I was in the room but had watched only the start of the design – it takes about 25 minutes for the machine to stitch it out. I found this fabric very tricky to use – I don’t know if the problem was because of this or whether I hadn’t secured the hoop properly. I couldn’t salvage the design – so started again.

This time I did sit and watch but there was no problem; I was extra especially careful about tightening the hoop. Normally the hoop shouldn’t be too tight as this adversely affects the design but in this case, the fabric being stitched isn’t in the hoop, only the stabiliser is.

I backed the mask with the green ribbon, more batting and some more green silk and continued as before.

I like them but David asked ‘what on earth?’. I hope the girls will like them too. I’m only making two as I have run out of time. Originally, I thought I’d make my mother and the 3 girls one each.


  1. I thinks they are really lovely and remind me of the kind of masks that you might see at a Venetian masked ball.
    Merry Christmas Anne x

    1. Thank you. I love them. I agree about the masked ball. Merry Christmas to you, too, Diane x (I hope you got your IG problem sorted)

  2. They're beautiful! I also thought of Venetian masks, it looks like you could easily open up the eyes if you wanted to use them for a masked ball. You are having lots of fun with your embroidery unit this year!

    1. Thank you. Yes, I reckon that's possible. I've never been to a masked ball - have you? Scene of murders in the movies? Yes, I'm having fun and a break from fitting issues. Merry Christmas, Marianne x


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