Monday, July 20, 2020

The Lobster Quilt Block

I've lived near coastal waters most of my life and lobsters and buoys have always been a part of the scenery. I designed a stuffed Lobster (named Pinchy) for my book Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love back in 2013. A year later in 2014 I began designing foundation paper piecing patterns, I sketched out this Lobster as my second block (the Anchor was my first), but I never finished developing it through all these years. There was just something about it I didn't love, but as I revisited it, I easily changed the tail and head in my Electric Quilt EQ8 program file and fell in love. So to say this #LobsterQuiltBlock has been years in the making, is no joke.

The Malibu and Ruby + Bee Fabrics I used in the block above and are shown with the quilt layout below were such a perfect fit right for this ocean loving girl (me) and this Lobster block. I actually grew up going to Malibu Beach every summer in New York when I lived on Long Island. These adorable fabrics are available from Windham Fabrics. I reached out to Windham and they provided me with the fabric swatch files so I could easily import them into EQ8 and whip up a fun layout. If you have fabrics you want to use for a project, but have never tried this, here's a quick video tutorial.

You can get a copy of my new #LobsterQuiltBlock by visiting my Kid Giddy Etsy shop. Want to Learn to Design and Sew Foundation Paper Piecing patterns? You can find the ebook in my shop as well. Visit the Electric Quilt website to learn how to convert your designs into the EQ8 program to make designing and printing your patterns easier. Please share your #LobsterQuiltBlocks with me on Instagram @kidgiddy #kidgiddy.

Thanks so much for visiting!

Disclosure: As a Media Partner with Electric Quilt, I may receive compensation for this post. I also received the Malibu and Ruby + Bee Fabrics from Windham Fabrics to help create my block, but the opinions and comments provided are always my own. There are no affiliate links at this time. Thank you.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Free Patterns: Birdhouse Mini Quilt and a Weighted Comfort Bunny

Hi all, I have two more fun and FREE projects for you to make over on the Bernina We All Sew website. Most recently I designed this Birdhouse Mini Quilt with my mom in mind. She loves birds (even own a couple at one time named Pete and Repeat) and raised four kids on her own while being an art teacher, so I designed it with four houses and a momma bird near by.
It works great for using up scraps for all the houses and the bird, as each block finishes at 3" and the mini quilt finishes at 12.5". For the background you'll only need a fat quarter or, you could easily sew up various scraps in shades of blue and then use them for larger pieces.  Don't want to sew smaller blocks, you can easily enlarge these blocks and trim the seam allowances to a true 1/4" to make a 24" mini quilt.

Last month, I designed this Weighted Comfort Bunny for the Bernina We All Sew website. It's a project near and dear to me. More than 20 years ago I found myself laying in a hospital during the springtime while in college covered in hives and miserable. Everything started a couple of days earlier, but I was eventually hospitalized and alone for at least a day (until my mom arrived). As I got better I was allowed to have some visitors that brought me a sweet little bunny stuffed animal from the gift shop. It’s the only reminder I have from my time in the hospital. In the months and years that followed, any time I got sick…"Sick Bunny" came out for cuddles. When I had my two girls and one of them got sick…Sick Bunny again came to the rescue.

Although we now have a real bunny (Lola), she’s not exactly a cuddle on demand animal. There’s no denying that animals (even stuffed toys) provide comfort in times of need. During this unique spring season, I want to share a sewing tutorial with all of you to help you make your own comfort bunny, with a little weight. The weight helps to feel like a constant hug. Just having it sit on your lap, or a child’s lap, can be of great comfort. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression during these very difficult and challenging times, this comfort bunny could be a wonderful gift to make and share. I make no medical claims or guarantees, but believe that this spring is that time to get sewing and try anything and everything to help our loved ones while in isolation. So head on over and make your own Weighted Comfort Bunny.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of your #BirdhouseMiniQuilt and your cuddle worthy #WeightedComfortBunny! Thanks so much for visiting and hope you enjoy sewing these fun projects! Please share your finished projects with me @kidgiddy on Instagram. Be sure to tag @berninausa too!

Disclosure: I received products from Shannon Fabrics, Bernina and Aurifil, as a designer, Bernina Ambassador and Aurifil Artisans to share ways I use my Bernina sewing machine and the threads, but the opinions and comments provided are always my own. Thank you.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Face Mask Tutorial - With Elastic or Straps

Hello everyone. I hope you are all staying in place, and are healthy and busy. A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine said her husband (a dental student) was being rationed to one medical face mask per day. It got me thinking that this coronavirus wasn't going to slow down and was going to deplete the supply chain here just as it has done elsewhere. As things rapidly changed, my ability to care for my family and also help other elderly friends prepare for the self isolation, I wasn't able to get this tutorial up sooner.

The CDC has said "In settings where face masks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face." Please note - I know that these masks are not PPE, but where some are struggling with supplies, I know these are more helpful than bandanas or scarves.

So this is our chance to help. I have posted the basic tutorial first (with elastic - although ties are now most recommended), and have updated it with more info and alternative ways to make the face masks. My hope is that for all of us that can sew, will take the time to sew at least 5 masks to donate to your local hospital, or another medical facility in need. It won't make sense for us all to send masks to one central location as that can easily be overwhelming at a time like this. Nursing homes and midwives and so many others are looking for masks. Even persons that work in hospital kitchens and other places where person hygiene is most important.

Here's what you'll need:

2 pieces of fabric cut 7 1/4"w x 7 1/2" h (yes you can simplify to a 7 1/2" square but please know I based these measurements off of an actual medical mask) To make a kid sized mask - the fabric measurement is 5 1/2"w x 6"h.

Download a copy of the template I have made for the overall piece and the pleats here.


1) I used quilters cotton on the top outer layer, and a tight weave gauze for the inside layer that touches the face. It's not too thin but also not too thick to make it harder to breathe or too hot for the wearer. Two layers of quilters cotton is also great, just use two different colors or prints. By using two different fabrics, the wearer will know which side was outward and which side was touching their face, which keeps them safer! 

2) It is also recommended to use (brand new) t-shirt material that is 100% cotton as the inside lining. (again - I don't recommend using the same quilters cotton print for both sides, as you want to know which side you've potentially touched, and which side is safe to go against the face.)


Please DO NOT USE Vaccum Cleaner bags or other Air Filters as they have not been tested for human breathing filter use in a mask...and I have read elsewhere that antimicrobial fabrics are not the safest option either.

Likewise, Sanitary Napkins should NOT be used. This is dangerous and wholly unnecessary. Sticking to 100% cotton and even cotton t-shirts - is always best. If the medical professional wants a filter, they can simply wear the PPE mask UNDER the homemade mask.


1) Straps sewn into the seams on the corners - should be 14" long each, cut 4. A little longer is ok - better long than short. Ties sewn all the way across the top (as shown with selvage in photo below) should be 37" - 40" in length, cut 2. Straps/ties are preferred by many medical professionals as they can be sanitized properly with high heat washing and drying without breaking down.

2) 2 -  5-7" pieces Elastic - (TIP: The 1/8" flat soft stretch elastic by Dritz truly is the best, but you can use the round cord elastic - tip on that coming later, or a flat clear elastic not shown). Elastic length for kids can be the same as adults but adjust shorter for youngest kids (depending on age and size of child). Elastic is becoming harder to find. 1/8" elastic is the best, and most comfortable on the ears. If it's not available, please sew ties. 


1) Adjustable Nose piece (this nose piece really helps to create a better seal over the wearers face:
1 piece of 1/8"w x 5"l (up to 6") aluminum strip (TIP: this can be found at some hardware stores like ACE but I found mine as a 3/4"w x 12"l piece - as shown above - and cut it down to size with strong metal scissors.

2) You can also use twist ties - twist two together to make a double, and then twist two doubles together - or pipe cleaners - aka chenille sticks.

Here's how:

The first tutorial shows how to sew the mask with elastic, but please read all of the instructions to see how to sew a mask with straps/ties.

Want to make a whole bunch? Mary @Z_Fabrics in Portland Maine is kitting up some mask kits with straps (no elastic needed). We will post more on that soon via @kidgiddy on Instagram.

Step 1: Pin the elastic to the sides of the mask. One on each side. The end of the top elastic shown will go to the right side of the mask, while the bottom elastic will go to the top left side of the mask. I wanted to show the piece flat so it's a bit easier to see.

Step 2: Place the gauze (or lining material) right sides together. The two pink pins will be the start and stop when stitching all around the mask.

Step 3: Before sewing all around the mask, pin the ends of the elastic as mentioned above.

Step 4: Sew all the way around the mask, leaving an opening to turn right side out. Clip the corners and turn right side out and press the edges.

Step 5: Place a metal strip, pipe cleaner, or twist ties up through the opening to the top of the mask. Place is under the seam allowance so you can't see it on the gauze side (this will protect the wearers face while using).

Step 6: Pin just under the metal strip to keep it in place.

Step 7: Add three knife pleats to the mask so when wearing the pleats are facing downward and press with a mini iron and be sure to avoid the pins. Download a copy of the template to easily make your 1/2" knife pleats.

Step 8: Pin the 1/2" knife pleats in place so they don't shift as much while sewing.

Step 9: Sew a top stitch all the way around three sides of the mask, making sure not to sew the top stitch on the metal strip, but rather just underneath it. This will keep the metal strip securely in place.

Don't have elastic or metal strips? That's ok - here are some other variations.

Variation 1: If you don't have elastic, you can use cotton twill strips, binding or bias binding left over from quilts, grosgrain ribbon, or even shoe laces per my hubby. They should be at least 14" long and you'll need 4 strips. Place the raw edge along the side edge and approximately 1/2" below the top edge and 1/2" above bottom edge and pin to sides. Place the gauze on top and like Step 2, and stitch all the way around leaving a small opening for turning right side out. I would recommend sewing with the gauze on bottom to prevent it from stretching.

Here are some of the other things you may have around your space that you can use for ties and straps. It's ok to be creative, so long as it doesn't put the medical professional at risk while wearing.
Variation 2: If you do not have aluminum metal strips, you can use "pipe cleaners" (now called "chenille sticks" cut to 6". Curl the ends and crimp to prevent the metal tips from poking out or poking the wearer. Place inside the mask along the top edge and follow Steps 5 - 9 to finish.
Variation 3: If you have the Bernina Ruffler #86 Foot, you can ruffle the sides instead of pleating. This ruffle was set to 1. That means it was 1 ruffle per stitch. If you own a different machine and ruffler, please check the length on a scrap. The end result should be sides about 3 1/2" long.
Variation 4: We all have selvages and scraps from quilt bindings. Let's use what we have and get creative. Selvages should be cut to 1 3/4"w x 34"l. I cut the ends of my straps with pinking shears instead of tucking them in and making it a perfect finish.

Thanks so much for visiting and I hope to see some of your face masks before you donate them. I am also making some for my family and elderly friends in the hopes that if we or they have to go out, we can have that added protection from the virus. I have asthma as does my daughter, so we are doing all we can to stay safe. If a member of your family gets sick, a little extra protect helps then too. Feel free to share info below and also on Instagram by tagging me @kidgiddy.

Disclosure: I received the mini iron from Oliso but the opinions and comments provided are always my own. Thank you.

Friday, February 7, 2020

FREE Sew Plush Valentine Heart Box Tutorial for Bernina

I'm not sure how it's February already, but I have a super sweet and FREE project for you to make. I designed this Sew Plush Valentine Heart Box for the Bernina We All Sew website, just in time to fill it with all kinds of lovely goodies before Valentine's Day.

Do you have a favorite candy (like dark chocolate?) or sewing notion you'd want to see inside like these beautiful Aurifil Floss spools or are you a jewelry lover? Want to make it bigger or smaller? I am sharing all the details over on their website - so head on over to take a look. Then share your #sewplushvalentineheartbox with me @kidgiddy on Instagram. Be sure to tag @berninausa too!

These sweet fabrics are courtesy of Riley Blake Designs, designed by Lindsay Wilkes and are called Love Letters.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of your heart boxes and what you'll be putting inside! Thanks so much for visiting and hope you love sewing this fun project!

Disclosure: I received products from Riley Blake Designs, Bernina and Aurifil, as a designer, Bernina Ambassador and Aurifil Artisans to share ways I use my Bernina sewing machine and threads, but the opinions and comments provided are always my own. Thank you.