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. 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. 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.)


Regarding fabrics: Ann @StitchSupplyCo sent me this link that discusses various fabric options and how well they do or don't work.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 also 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 3/4" 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 or 1/2" 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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Studio and Travel Organization

It's still January, so I can still say welcome to the new year and a new decade. I have tons of new stuff coming down the pike and even some older stuff I haven't shared yet. But first up - the #kidgiddystudio requires a bit of organizing, destashing and overall cleaning up. I've lived in my house for almost 20 years - and I am feeling this "20 year itch" to make some changes (like out with the old - in with...nothing new). Have you ever felt this way? This is the longest I have ever been in one place all of my life, which is so strange to say and feel. But it's true and that means stuff has moved from room to room after baby number one, and then moved again after baby number two, and then again after starting kid giddy, and during renovations, and whew - I'm out of breathe.

My Potter desk above tends to get covered in the WIP's and to-do projects, but I love being able to have a small design board here, my serger and my collection of Aurifil threads on the ready for quick switches and fixes.
For the past 7 years, I have had my studio space above the garage (you can see the start of it here) and what once was fun moving into, is slowly starting to feel suffocating because I create all of the time and make really really big messes. So last weekend, I started clearing 10-20 year old things out of my closet to make more room for thinking and breathing. I'm not done yet - but just getting started is feeling great. I'm letting go of said "things", continuing to organize and can see pretty stuff on my walls and desk again.

Those are some photos I took of my space last year and neglected to share here. I'm working towards this level of clean again...but better...less cluttered. I love having all of my Artbins filled with fat quarters, and my Sterlite bins filled with their own category of things under my cutting table and love that they are easily accessible. The large cutting table pictured above was custom made for me based off of a drawing I gave to the manufacturer to fit the space and to provide the highest level of (easy to access) organizing opportunities. You can find out more about my table by visiting this kidgiddy studio post.

I'm also organizing more of my slow stitching and on the go sewist stuff. I am still making a #SewPlushPlanner for metalsmithing class and all my metals, but I've also recently finished this Sew Plush Planner for my cross stitching and embroidery. These Aurifil Floss spools were not up on my wall, but previously haphazardly snuggling in a pouch. Sad spools. Now they have their own little spot and nest together when the sew plush planner is closed. You can fit 21 different colored spools in this format which is perfect for most cross stitching projects...and of course you can rotate as needed.

These new add on pages are coming soon, but you can see more of the original Sew Plush Planner here and find it in my kid giddy Etsy shop. The original sew plush planner I made houses my "on the go hexie" wares. I'm working on one sew plush planner for a different work in progress and one for my crochet needles and such too. I still have a feeling I'll need a few more! What would you put in yours? How do you stay organized? How do you decided what stays and what has to go? Do you have big plans to change things up this this new decade?

Thanks so much for visiting and I hope to see some ways you organize your space and your sewing travels needs. Feel free to share info below and also on Instagram by tagging me @kidgiddy.

Disclosure: I received the floss and threads from Aurifil and this post is a challenge for some of the Aurifil Artisans to share ways we organize our spaces and things, but the opinions and comments provided are always my own. Thank you.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Aurifil Whole Cloth Quilt Challenge

Did you know you can make tiny pompoms with thread? Yep! This month the Aurifil Artisans were given a whole cloth mini quilt challenge using a solid fabric from Painter's Palette Solids by Paintbrush Studio and Aurifil thread. At the time of sign up, I requested the Aurifil 12wt thread because I had yet to really work with a 12wt thread and wanted to experiment with it. Although I didn't know what color fabric and thread I would get, I was so excited to open my package to see that I received the "Shell Pink" fabric (one of their 2019 colors) and Aurifil thread in color number 2425.
I initially wanted to do something like Sashiko when I first began thinking of ideas because the 12wt thread would work great...but things went on a bit of a bird walk in a whole other direction. Because it was pink (even my martial arts sparing gear is pink) and I've loved pink since I was younger, I got to thinking of my bedroom when I was a tween. One summer while my twin sister and I were away, our mom painted a huge pastel rainbow and animal shaped clouds all around our room. When we got back, we stuck glow in the dark stars up on the walls and ceilings for night time effects (what can I say it was the 80's). That got me thinking further back in our past when my sister and I were in Texas and sitting with another girl on the bleachers and she taught us how to make our first pompoms using cereal box templates when we were 7ish. Flashing back to the present, since I also design 3 dimensional toys and quilts, I felt the need to add something 3 dimensional to this project, but with pompoms it is?!

Now if you really want, you could try making pompoms with 40wt or 50wt thread...but that might take a while! You definitely can make them with Aurifil floss, but I wanted to see if I could make them with 12wt. And it just have to add water!

To make my tiny pompoms I used the 12wt Aurifil thread, Clover 3/4" pompom maker, fabric snips, and water. Each pompom took me about 10 minutes to make. Yes - we timed it. lol. Begin by wrapping your thread around the clover pompom maker so both sides are full. 

Using your fabric snips, carefully clip the threads right down the center of the pompom maker.

Cut two 8" pieces of thread and wrap them together through the center to tie the pompom. I double loop my first tie and then single loop my second tie to make a really strong knot. By double looping the first one, it won't easily come undone before you knot it with the second tie.

Carefully open the pompom maker.

Remove the pompom and notice it is oddly shaped. This is where the water comes in...

Get your pompom wet by pressing the two sides together and really get the water to soak into the center of the pompom. Once the threads are wet, they will relax a bit and fall into place a lot easier. Squeeze out all of the excess water and shake it using the attached strings (remember how you would shake the troll (tm) dolls to make their hair puff out perfectly...pompoms work the same way!).

Once it has a little shape to it - set it somewhere to dry. Once it's fully dry, use your snips to shape the pompom into a pretty little ball. The more you trim off, the tighter the threads will appear and the smaller the pompom will end up being. Some sides of the pompoms will appear shiny but other (and most parts will looks super soft and will even look like yarn.

Because I wanted the quilting and the pompoms to play nicely together and not have one over power the other, I decided to quilt the background with a basic 1/2" grid using the exact same 2425 color in a 50wt (thank goodness I had this exact color on hand - yay!) and placed the pompoms in a basic polka dot or cookie sheet layout. I cannot tell a lie though - I decided it had to be a pillow - so this finished pic is without the pillow form since it was supposed to be a mini quilt. I wanted it also to have a more finished and professional look, so I used some of the left over fabric to add piping around the edge. This simple and quick design will spruce up any little reading nook and add a little whimsy to your home decor.

Now that I have a cute pillow, I think I'm going to need a large quilt to go with it! Who's up for making more Aurifil thread pompoms? Thanks so much for visiting and I hope to see some more Aurifil thread pompom/whole cloth pillows and quilts out there!

Disclosure: I received the fabric and thread to help create my project, but the opinions and comments provided are always my own. There are no affiliate links. Thank you.