The kids are planning Halloween costumes, and we’re starting to think about our holiday gift making plans… It’s time for an Owl Mask tutorial! Delilah from DelilahIris Designs is an expert felt sewist, creating magical creatures and patterns too. Learn all about her work in her introduction, and visit the DelilahIris Designs shop for handmade dolls, animals and gifts, plus whimsical sewing and felt patterns. You can also follow Delilah via Instagram (@DelilahIris).
Looking for more mask fun? Delilah has a second felt mask pattern at DelilahIris Designs. The second free tutorial is for a Woodland Bear Mask, a perfect friend for the owl!
Delilah is currently a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made competition. Voting is open to audience participation so find her profile page here (and be sure to vote!).
Felt is by far my favorite material for sewing! It is perfect for fun creative projects, especially for beginners. There is no need to worry about frayed edges or seam allowances! I created this simple Owl Mask with extraordinary looking– but easy to re-create– details. It’s a project that looks like a masterpiece but it’s easy to create in an afternoon.
The mask can be hand-stitched or machine sewn. You can make it as plain or elaborate as you might want, but all of the gorgeous details really do make this little owl mask pop, don’t they?
Let’s get started!
Start by cutting out all of the pattern pieces from different colored felts of your choice. My Printable Owl Mask Sewing Pattern (PDF) has instructions for the number and type of pieces you’ll need to cut to create your mask.
Most of the larger pieces can be cut by simply tracing or pinning the pieces onto the felt. For smaller, more intricate pieces, I like to tape the uncut (paper) pattern pieces straight onto the felt with some wide, clear tape. I then cut the pieces out by cutting through both the tape, paper and felt all at once. The result is a perfectly cut small intricate felt shape.
OK Let’s start sewing!
Begin by adding some detail to the Mask Base piece. I like to use a contrasting colored embroidery thread to do this. Thread a long piece of the thread on the needle and make a knot on the end. Pull the needle and thread through from the front to the back of the mask piece. Start in a spot just below one of the “ears” about half an inch to an inch from the edge.
Hand-stitch in some dashed lines (this is called a running stitch) up and down between the “feathers” as shown in the photo. This shows what it will look like from the front of the mask. Don’t worry! The knot and the stitches running across the top will be hidden between other pieces of felt, as well as the stitching on the back.
Pin and sew the Hood piece in place, in a contrasting felt color. This piece can be hand- or machine-stitched in place.
Pin and stitch the Brow piece in place. This can also be hand- or machine-stitched depending on your preference.
Next you’ll piece together the wide, bright eyes. This consists of several pieces.
First pin and stitch in place the “Inner Eye” pieces to the “Outer Eye” pieces. I recommend a hand stitch for these smaller pieces.
Optionally you can choose to stitch in some details around the inner eye. I used a slightly different colored embroidery thread to stitch in some very simple stripes.
Last you will stitch the “Eyelash” pieces in place.
Here is where I decided to add some decorative embroidery stitches to the completed “Outer Eye” pieces. I created some cute little rosettes by using the French knot stitch and the lazy daisy stitch to create a flower bud and leaves. You could use the same decorative stitching I used, consulting the pattern for placement. Or you could add your own detailing with sewn in beads or tiny buttons!
Once you’ve added your decorative details you can now place and pin the eye pieces onto the Mask Base, and stitch or machine sew in place.
Next we’ll sew the floral details to the forehead. I like to layer two flower pieces slightly skewed so all of the petals show. Start by sewing just one flower in place, then layering the next on top and adding a small button or bead in the middle of the flower.
Sew the tiny leaves in place with the larger leaves towards the inside and the smaller ones on the outside. I used a simple running stitch with a slightly contrasting green thread to hold the leaves in place.
Match up the two beak pieces and sew along just the top edge of the beak. Once it is sewn together, open this piece up and pin it in place on the mask. Sew the beak in place.
To finish the mask you will sew in a ribbon to hold the mask onto the face, and add the second Mask Base piece onto the back of the mask.
Cut two long pieces of semi-wide ribbon of your choice. Pin them in place just about parallel to where the eyes are positioned on the mask. Add a few stitches to hold the ribbon in place.
Match and pin the Mask Base piece onto the back of the mask. I like to use a short, tight blanket stitch to hold the two pieces together. Viola! The mask is ready to wear!
Creating The Moon + Stars Mask:
The moon and stars mask is created identically with the omission of the “Hood” piece. You also add stars to the outer eyes pieces. The decorative stitching on the Mask Base is also slightly modified. I added a moon instead of flowers and a few stitches placed askew to create a small “star” by the moon.