It all started at a Renaissance Festival. I saw a woman wearing a quilted plague doctor mask, and I immediately knew I needed one. So I googled how to make a plague doctor mask and this is what popped up.
I was ecstatic that a pattern existed and it used a technique that I was already familiar with! I traced the pattern onto some interfacing and immediately made a mock-up.
I made a few minor fit adjustments, and then got started with the piecing. I used the English Paper Piecing technique to construct each panel, but I decided to skip the papers and cut my batting to shape instead.
I used a range of blue batiks to make the mask. I had already cut about a million 2″ squares for another project in the same fabrics, and unfortunately this size was a little small for many of the pieces, so I spent some time drawing new lines to make the shapes a better size for my pre-cut squares. I traced the new pattern onto some woven fusible interfacing, fused that to some quilt batting, and cut out my pieces one by one. Then it was on to the sewing.
I basted each fabric square onto its corresponding piece, trimming the fabric to size as I did so. Then I whipped each shape to the next one to form the four main panels of the mask. When all the piecing was done I ironed the panels – it was so satisfying to see all the fabrics and seams relax and flatten. Then I ironed the lining pieces to size and pinned them to each of the coordinating outer pieces in preparation for quilting. I used my muslin as the liner, and I am really pleased with how well the colours coordinate with the outside of the mask. It’s one of those tiny details that only I will know about, and it makes me happy.
I quilted each panel by sewing close to each seamline on my machine. I was amazed how the quilting made the panels so much more stiff and stable! I added a bit of bias to the eye-holes in yet another batik, then removed the basting threads and started sewing the panels together (using whip-stitches again).
The mask was finally in one piece, but it wasn’t quite done. I tried it on, just to make sure it fit. It turns out the mask fits my dog, too (he was not happy about this)! The last steps were to make some straps and to sew them on along with the binding. The straps close with a pair of D-rings.
My mask is complete, and I love wearing it! It’s definitely different than wearing a closer-fitting mask and it gets in my way a bit, but I firmly believe that great style is worth a little inconvenience.