Make your own Balaclava (or ski-type mask)
Our Colorado skies have dropped several thick blankets of snow lately…..and my kids are in absolute HEAVEN! Even if we don’t have time to head to a sledding hill, they are perfectly content stepping outside in the backyard building snow castles, making snow angels, throwing snow balls, and well, just plain ol’ kicking around in this stuff! And me? I usually watch them from inside…….with my slippers on! It’s a tough job……but someone needs to have full feeling in their fingers to make the hot cocoa afterwards. :)
But, I’m pretty sure kids don’t have a functioning internal thermometer….because those little rascals can stay out there for the longest time. And the biggest reason they come in, is because their face is cold. And their poor little noses are FROZEN.
And bless Connor’s little heart, he has my thin skin (sorry buddy…..blame grandma!). So the moment he runs around doing any type of exercise, his face gets flushed. And once he steps outside in the cold…..the same thing, his skin immediately gets flushed. So, once they all come in to defrost from an hour or so of playing outside in the snow, his cheeks are the reddest of all. And take the longest to turn back to normal flesh color.
So……he was my first subject. Because those frozen red cheeks/nose, were screaming at me to help keep them warm!
So, I made him a super-quick Balaclava. All from some scrap fleece……and a little fold-over elastic. Simple.
The opening of the Balaclava is stretchy…..so if it starts bugging him, or if he feels warm enough, he can pull it down under his chin.
But brrrrrrrr………..when it’s chilly outside, you know it’s that steamy breath that helps keep your face warm. This very breathable Balaclava keeps all that warmth held right in.
The top is nice and snug, to conform to his head….but also helps keep the opening right at his eyes. It also comes down long enough to cover his neck and to stay tucked into his jacket.
It’s totally perfect for this little snow bunny. (And for the record…….he calls this his “Clumsy Ninja” mask. And even wears it inside, while doing his “Clumsy Ninja” moves. Ha! Does anyone else have that app? Pretty cute.)
Alright buddy……now you are ready to stay outdoors for hours.
I guess I better hurry and make your sisters one. And me too, for that matter (I do love sledding)! This Colorado winter isn’t getting any warmer…
Would you like to make one too?
- Fleece, 1/2 of a yard
- Fold-Over Elastic, 1 yard (5/8 – 3/4 inch wide)
- Paper Balaclava Pattern (fit for my 5 year old, with a large head….make adjustments as necessary)
I created the paper pattern to fit my 5 year old just right. He, however, has a large head. So, it’s probably more like a 10 year old head. However, kids’ heads don’t grow much past the age of 2-3…..up until adulthood. So the pattern I made may fit your adult head perfectly. If not (or it doesn’t fit your child like you’re wanting), you’ll have to shrink it down just a bit, as needed.
Use the pattern (or create your own) to cut out 2 pieces, with right sides together. BE SURE TO CUT YOUR BALACLAVA PIECES WITH THE STRETCH GOING FROM RIGHT TO LEFT….SO THAT IT WILL STRETCH CORRECTLY OVER THE HEAD.
Then, place the pieces together with right sides together….and then sew together around the the top and sides (using a 1/4 inch seam allowance), skipping the cutout for the eyes. Be sure and leave the bottom edge open as well.
Sew another straight seam, right next to the first one, for extra reinforcement.
Then, begin pinning your fold-over elastic around the eye opening of your balaclava…..sandwiching it around the edge of your fleece. As you’re folding your elastic around the fleece, pull the elastic slightly, to help ease the elastic around the curves and to keep it from puckering when you sew. You’re not going to stretch it a ton…..just ever so slightly. Use pins to keep it in place.
((**Why Fold-Over Elastic? Well, it’s really soft [generally used as a waistband for underwear] and isn’t bulky, like other elastics. It also maneuvers really well around the curves and will help your balaclava keep its shape. I have found mine on etsy.com and have even seen it lately in fabric stores, like Joann’s.))
Once you make it all the way around, leave the two ends of elastic free…….and then sew the pinned areas of the elastic in place, with a zig-zag stitch. Just be sure to leave several inches free at both ends of your elastic. (If your elastic is pulling and stretching out as you sew, increase the stitch length a bit, so that it will skip over more fabric with more stitch…..which will help with the pulling.)
I used the center seam of the front of the balaclava as my guide for where I would join my two elastic ends…….so I pulled one end over to where it would reach the seam of the fleece and placed a pin there.
I did the same with the other elastic end and added a pin.
Then, I placed the two elastic ends together, with right sides together…..then pinned them together, right where the two original pins were placed. Then, I sewed a seam right where the pin was inserted.
Trim off the excess elastic ends, then sandwich the remaining elastic around the rest of the eye opening. Pin in place.
Then continue zig-zagging the rest of the way around.
Add more fold-over elastic around the bottom of the balaclava…..the exact same way.
And that’s it! A quick balaclava for this chilly weather! :)
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