Archive for the ‘Sewing Projects’ Category

At the start of the Covid pandemic I posted instructions on how to make face masks. I thought that would be the ONLY face mask tutorial I would ever have to do. But …., as time goes on and Covid “does it’s thing,” things change and we will probably be wearing face masks for a LONG time yet to come!

At least the kids are able to go back to in person school, wearing a mask of course! And my grandkids are no different! Again, I have been making masks for them, for myself (we all need a new wardrobe every once in a while, even if it is face masks!) and for other adults.

Over the last year and a half, I have found a new way to make face masks, which, IMHO, is far better than what I showed before.

A friend of mine posted this video on FaceBook, I watched it, made a mask or two, and tweaked the pattern a bit.

To view the original video Click Here

Here are my “tweaked” instructions on how to make this mask.

Fabric – 1/4 yard of printed fabric will make at least one, probably two, adult size masks and 1/4 yard of lining fabric. I used washed muslin for the lining.

We will talk about the ties in a little bit. I have a variation which works really well.

Here is the pattern, which is just a tad different than the pattern in the video.

Click on any photo for a larger view. Click on the text at the bottom of the photo and the photos will scroll.

For child size instructions, see the bottom of this post.

Cut one pattern of the printed fabric and one pattern of the lining fabric.

Place right sides together and stitch around all sides, leaving an opening at the bottom. Turn right side out and press well. Top stitch around all sides, stitching across the bottom (formerly open) area. Your mask should look like the photo below left.

Insert Nose Bar – Lay your nose bar at the top of your mask and mark / note how much space you need for it.

Turn the mask to the wrong side and stitch a line across the top to make a casing for the nose piece. The casing I made for my nose bar was between 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch wide.

Make a small cut in the lining fabric ONLY and insert the nose bar into the casing.

After the nose bar has been inserted and centered, stitch the ends of the casing closed.

See photos below

Note – I have found some EXCELENT nose bars at my local quilt shop, Running Stitches, Kent, WA. To see the nose bars I use Click Here

Lay the face mask, wrong side up on the ironing board. Fold the top and bottom edges towards the middle having a 2 inch “flap” of the right side of the face mask at the top and bottom. The “middle” of the face mask is about 2-3/4 – 3 inches wide. See photo lower left. Your face mask now looks sort of like a burrito! See photo lower right

Stitch along the folds at the top and bottom of the middle section, about 1/8 inch away from the fold. It doesn’t matter if you stitch from the right or the wrong side, as long as these folds are stitched into place. (Note – the stitching is not shown in the photos above. )

Here is where things get interesting.

Step 1 – Move the bottom flap out of the way. Place a ruler so that it is 1 inch from the side edge. If desired, draw a line with your marker of choice.

Step 2 – Fold the flap UP so that the edge of the flap is even with the middle stitched line. Keep the ruler in place. See middle photo.

Step 3 – Bring the diagonal fold to the edge of the ruler and pin in place. This is going to “twist” the fabric and you will think you are doing something wrong. This is correct!

Now we are going to repeat this on the other flap

Step 4 – Fold the remaining flap UP and place the ruler 1 inch from the side edge

Step 5 – Fold the flap DOWN so that the edge of the flap is even with the middle stitched line. Keep the ruler in place.

Step 6 – Bring the diagonal fold to the edge of the ruler and pin in place. This is going to feel really wonky, but it is the way it is supposed to be!

Step 7 – Take the mask to the sewing machine and stitch along the side pinned edges. See photo below left. I like to start my stitching at the top edge, backstitch, stitch along the fold, go across the “plain” fabric, then continue stitching along the bottom fold, backstitching at the start and end of the folds.

Now turn the mask 180 degrees and do Steps 1 – 7 on the other side of the mask.

When finished folding and stitching the other side of the mask, the inside of the mask will look like the middle photo and the outside of the mask will look like the photos at the right.

The body of the face mask is completed, now we have to work on the ties.

I have seen many different ways to put the ties onto a face mask, all of which don’t seem to fit well or need a lot of adjusting. I have found a different – and much easier – way of putting ties on the mask, and it makes wearing the mask a LOT easier.

I do have to give credit to my sister, Sharon for showing me this a while back.

I have been making fabric ties from 2 inch strips of fabric (cut from selvedge to selvedge). One strip of fabric 36 – 40+ inches x 2 inches wide, will be enough for 1 face mask

Fold the tie in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. Open the tie and press one side to almost the middle (pressed) line and press. Repeat for the other side.

Now fold the tie in half again – no raw edges are showing – and press. Stitch close to the double folded edge. I like to use a three step zig zag stitch, but a straight stitch will work just as well.

I am assuming that you have a folded and stitched tie that is at least 36 – 40 inches long.

From this cut 2 – 4 inch pieces and cut the remaining piece in half. You will now have 4 cut pieces of the tie.

Take one of the short ties, fold it half, and snuggle it between the bottom outer side folds on the mask. Note – the mask edge with the nose bar is the TOP of the mask. Stitch in place, backstitching at the beginning and end of the tie. See photo lower left. The middle photo shows the loop that is made with the folded tie.

Take the long tie and snuggle it between the TOP outer side folds of the mask. Stitch in place, backstitching at the beginning and end of the tie. See photo lower right. Repeat on the other side of the mask with the remaining ties.

Take the long, upper tie and put it through the lower (tie) loop as shown below left. Repeat for the other side.

Take (cut) ends of the long ties put them through a “barrel lock.” Here is a source for all sorts of these “locks” and all sorts of other wonderful things. You can get these locks at Strapworks.com For a direct link to the barrel locks I used Click Here (Note – these barrel locks come in all sorts of colors!)

Sometimes it can get a little fiddly to get the ties through the barrel lock. I will use a plier to hold the lock open and then push the tie through the opening.

The photo below right shows the ties through the barrel lock. After the ties are through the barrel lock I like to tie a knot at the end of the tie.

Now your face mask is finished. But wait, there is more!!!!

I really don’t like making the fabric ties and I kept thinking there has to be a better way. Then I had the idea of using RIBBON instead of fabric for the ties! And it works!!!!

I have used both gross grain and satin ribbon, the 3/8 inch width) and cut the pieces as follows – 2 – 4 inch pieces and 2 – 18 inch pieces of ribbon. After I cut the ribbon, I put a little dab of Fray Check on the ends. The Fray Check REALLY works and keeps the ends of the ribbon from fraying out, even after washing!

Put the ribbon into the mask the SAME way as the fabric ties and put a barrel lock on the ends of the ribbon. It is MUCH easier to put the ribbon through the barrel lock! Tie an knot at the end of the ribbon and your mask is done!

To wear this mask, have the nose bar at the top and put the mask over your head so that the barrel lock is at the back of your neck. The (long tie) loop goes over your ear and you can adjust the tightness of the mask with the barrel lock. See middle photo of my granddaughter Maddie wearing the mask.

Adjust the nose bar and proudly wear your mask!

If you don’t need your mask, take the loops off your ears and the mask will hang around your neck and it won’t get lost!!!

The child’s mask is made exactly the same way as the adult mask. Use the child size mask (see first set of photos), the top and bottom “flaps” are 2 inches. When making the side (diagonal) folds, place the ruler 3/4 inch from the side edge.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial and if you have any questions, comments or anything else about this, send me an email at longarmu@aol.com or leave a comment below.

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For the last few days the weather here in the Seattle area has been BEYOND hot! Yesterday, an all time record was set at 104 degrees and today it is going to be even hotter! Usually, we have one, maybe two days above 90 degrees, and sometimes we don’t even reach 90 during the summer!

Because the summers are usually mild compared to other parts of the country, most people in the Northwest do NOT have air conditioning. And guess what, I don’t have it either!

I am sitting under a ceiling fan and I am having a standing fan blowing on me. It’s till warm in my house – 84 degrees at 10:30 am – but the air is moving and it doesn’t feel too bad.

As this heat wave started, I began making some more neck coolers for myself and my family. I wrote about making the neck coolers a few years ago. For the post on how to make them Click Here

I am also keeping myself hydrated / caffeinated by drinking liberal amounts of iced tea and iced coffee! For a post on how I make my iced coffee Click Here The “recipe” is towards the bottom of the post.

After making my large glass(es) of iced beverage, the sweat running off the glass was awful (I forgot how much iced drinks sweat!) and leaving puddles of water where ever they were placed. Which is not good when you are trying to piece a quilt top under the ceiling fan!

I thought to myself, “I need a coaster for under my sweaty glass!” And, of course, could I FIND a coaster? No way!

Then I was looking around my work area and spied these two fabrics from a patriotic quilt top I am working on.

Click on any photo for a larger view

As I looked at those fabrics, I “saw” a four patch coaster! And guess what I did? I made one – or a few of them!!

Here is what I did – I started by cutting the two fabrics into 1 – 3 inch x width of fabric (wof) strip and stitching the two pieces together along the long edges. I pressed the seam to the darker side. Then I sub-cut the strip into 3 inch sections the full length of the strip. I got 13 – 3 inch pieces from the strip. This will make 6 – 5 inch (finished size) coasters.

Then I laid out the strips to form the pattern

Then I stitched them together to form a 5-1/2 inch, 4 Patch block

But what about the quilting? I could have put them on the longarm, but that was too much of a hassle. And, there is no fan in my quilting room! So I went “old school” and quilted them on my home sewing machine! Yes, I still know how to do that!!!

I found some scrap batting (Warm & White) and scrap fabric to use as the backing, layered everything together, put my walking foot on my sewing machine and had fun!!

I kept the quilting super simple. One coaster I did “modern” stitching straight lines with white thread and the others I did straight lines with blue thread in the stars and following the “waves” of the stripes with white thread in the wavy fabric.

Modern straight line quilting
Combination straight lines and wavy lines

Last, but not least, I trimmed the blocks and put some binding on – again fabric from my scrap bag and I had quilted, patriotic drink coasters!

Now it is time to make a iced beverage, I’m thinking iced tea for now, and put my patriotic quilted coasters to work!

PS – I had the red and white wavy fabric in my stash. If you don’t have fabric like this, you can make your own red and white stripe fabric by cutting strips of red and white fabric into 1 inch strips and then stitching them together to form a striped fabric.

Here is an illustration of how this block would look. Note the placement of the position of the stripes on each part of the 4-Patch. Or you can have all the stripes in the same position.

Remember, you are the Queen (or King) of your own quilting world, and, as Queen (or King) you can do what you want when making your quilts!

If you make some Patriotic quilted coasters, send me a photo and I can post them on this blog.

Say cool and keep quilting!

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My goodness how the world has changed in only one month!!!!

I don’t need to go into what is happening, you KNOW all the details! And, you know that as quilters and sewers we have been making fabric face masks for our families, for friends and to be donated to hospitals and other health care facilities.

Along with many, many other quilters /sewers I too, have been making masks. Here are just a few that I have made. Click on any photo for a larger view.

I started making masks that had the elastic, but when I wore them, the elastic was too short and my ears hurt after only a few minutes. So I began making masks with ties on them. They are MUCH more comfortable and are adjustable too!

I came up with my own version of the fabric face mask which is easy to sew up.

It does take a bit of pressing, but that isn’t hard to do.

Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this fabric face mask. For a pdf version Click Here

Note – the following instructions have a lot of photos

Fabric Needed

Outer Fabric and Ties 1/4 yard of cotton fabric. Any type of print / pattern will work.
Note – You will need the full 40 inch width of the fabric. You could use a Fat Quarter, but you will have to piece the fabric tie strips together.

Lining Fabric – 1 – 8 x 7 inch piece of lining fabric. I used a light color or light color print.
Note – 1/4 yard of lining fabric will make up to 5 pieces of lining for 5 face masks.


Outer fabric and ties –

Cut 1—8 inch x width of fabric (wof) strip.

From this cut – 1 – 8 inch x 7 inch piece of fabric.

From the remaining strip of 8 inch wide fabric, cut into 4 – 2 inch strips. These strips will be about 32 – 33 inches long. You will need 2 of these strips for the ties for one face mask.

You can get creative and mix and match the extra fabric strips and use them to make more face masks. All you need are 2 – 8 x 7 inch pieces of fabric to go with the extra ties! Any strips that are left over will go into the quilting scrap bag.

To make one mask you will need –

1 – 8 x 7 inch piece of print (outside) fabric, 1 – 8 x 7 inch piece of light colored (lining) fabric,
2 strips of 2 inch x 32 – 33 +/- inches of fabric for the ties.

Make the Pleats

Place the printed fabric and the lining fabric WRONG sides together on the ironing board and press them together.

Mark for the pleats – I prefer to do this on the lining fabric so I can see my marks.

The 8 inch edges are the top and bottom and the 7 inch edges are the sides.

Starting at the bottom (straight) edge, begin measuring UP and make marks on BOTH sides edges.

Make a mark at 1-1/2 inches, 2-1/2 inches, 4 inches and 5-1/2 inches. See photo below.


Hold BOTH pieces of fabric together and treat them as one piece.

Fold right sides together along the 2-1/2 inch line and PRESS. HARD!! Hold the iron and steam that fold in place!!! Do the same thing on the 4 inch line and the 5-1/2 inch line.

You will have 3 pressed folds that go across the fabrics from side to side.

Bring the fold at the 2-1/2 inch line down to the marked 1-1/2 inch lines. This will create a pleat. PRESS HARD along this pleat/ fold.

If your ironing board has a padded surface, you may want to put pins at the side edges to hold the pleat(s) in place.

Bring the fold at the 4 inch line down to 1/2 inch ABOVE the first pleat. You should be able to feel the (back) edge of the fold that is under the first pleat. Have the pressed edge of the new fold against that fold. PRESS HARD along this pleat/ fold.

I know, this is as clear as mud! Don’t worry, when you feel it, you know what I am talking about!

Bring the fold at the 5-1/2 inch line down to 1/2 inch ABOVE the second pleat. You should be able to feel the (back) edge of the fold that is under the first pleat. Have the pressed edge of the new fold against that fold. PRESS HARD along this pleat/ fold. You now have 3 pleats.

Remove the pins from the ironing board and place them on the pleats you made.

The mask should measure 8 x 4 inches.

Pressing the Ties

We need to press the 2 – 2 inch x 33 +/- inch strips of fabric as if they were bias tape.

Here is a link to a video that shows how you can do this with needles or long straight pins on your ironing board.


If that isn’t working for you, you can press the strips as shown below.

Note – I am using a smaller strip of fabric so you can see things better. You will do this for the whole length of the tie fabric strips.

Step 1 – fold the strip in half lengthwise, WRONG sides together and press.

Step 2 – Open the pressed strip and fold about 3/8 inch of the bottom edge up towards the center fold. Press in place.

Step 3 – Turn the strip 180 degrees and press up about 3/8 inch on the other long edge. Leave a little space open along the center of the strip.

Step 4 – Fold wrong sides together and press again.

You now have the ties for your face mask folded as if they were bias tape.

Cut the Ties

Take one of the pressed ties and cut off a 5 inch piece. From the other pressed tie, cut off a 5 inch piece. 

DO NOT cut both of these pieces from only one tie. That will make the (longer) tie too short!

Make the Mask

Mask Sides

Step 1—Take one 5 inch tie, open it up and place the right side of the tie on the WRONG side of the mask.

Stitch with a straight stitch, slightly inside of the first fold from the raw edge. Click on the photo to see the stitching.

Step 2 – Turn the mask over and fold the tie up as shown in the photo below.

Step 3 – Fold the tie OVER the raw edge of the mask. The folded edge should cover the previous stitching line.

Step 4 – Stitch close to the folded edge. I prefer to use a 3 step zig zag stitch or serpentine stitch. You can straight stitch this line or use a decorative stitch. Trim the edges of the side ties even with the top and bottom edge of the mask. Click on the photo to see the stitching line.

Repeat Steps 1 – 4 on the other side raw edge of the mask. Both side edges are now covered with the tie fabric.

Fold the side edges together and mark the top and bottom center of the mask with straight pins.

Top and Bottom Ties

Step 1 – Take one long tie and open it up and find the middle and mark with a pin.

Step 2 – With the wrong side of the mask facing UP, match the (right side) middle of the tie to the middle of the mask. Pin in place. Pin again at the mask side edges. Click on the photo to see the pins.

Step 3 – Stitch with a straight seam just above the first fold from the mask raw edge. Back stitch at the start and stop. Click on the photo to see the stitching line.

Step 4 – Turn the mask over and fold the tie up and then over the mask raw edge, just like you did on the sides. When the tie is in position, begin stitching, back stitching at each end of the mask. Keep the tie folded and continue stitching with a straight, serpentine or other decorative stitch all the way to the end of the tie.

Step 5 – Rotate the mask and go back to the start of your stitching line. Begin stitching where you started before and continue stitching until you are at the end of the tie. This tie is now completely attached to the mask.

Repeat Steps 1 – 5 with the other tie on the remaining raw edge of the mask.

Your fabric face mask is now complete!

Grandson Nathan and Son-in-Law Albert, wearing masks that I made for them!

I hope you enjoy making fabric face masks from these instructions. Let’s hope we don’t have to wear the masks for a long time!

Please send any photos of masks you have made from my instructions.

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