DIY Top Knot Headband | Easy Sewing Tutorial

top knot headband feature2

When you’re looking for a cute baby gift, this top knot headband is so quick and easy to make! They can be made with a minimal amount of knit fabric and OF COURSE, an UPCYCLED T-SHIRT! 

top knot headband tshirt

Choose fabrics that have good stretch to them. These top knot headbands are cute made up of solid colors or prints. I’ve been known to buy shirts, dresses, and skirts for the fabric to make other things with. In fact, I do it all the time, especially clothing on clearance racks! So be on the lookout in your closet and on clearance racks for some cute stretchy fabric that you can make headbands or other baby clothing with.

Choose fabrics that have good stretch to them. These top knot headbands are cute made up with solid colors or prints. I’ve been known to buy shirts, dresses, and skirts for the fabric to make other things with. In fact, I do it all the time, especially clothing on clearance racks! So be on the lookout in your closet and on clearance racks for some cute stretchy fabric that you can make headbands or other baby clothing with.

Make sure you are checking out my SEWING PATTERN STORE, where you’ll find a big handful of other things you can make for babies.

top knot headband

These topknot headbands look adorable on babies, toddlers, and even adults. They can be made to fit ANY SIZE HEAD, just follow the head measuring instructions to get a perfect fit.

You can make these headbands using a regular sewing machine; serger or you can even sew them by hand. If you don’t have a sewing machine, be sure to check out my HANDSEWING tutorial where I show you how to sew a stretch stitch by hand.

Top Knot Headband Materials & Items Needed

  • Sewing machine/Serger (optional)
  • Scissors/Rotary Cutter-Mat
  • Knit Fabric or UPCYCLED KNIT CLOTHING
  • Pins/Fabric clips (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Turning stick
top knot headband measurement

HEAD MEASUREMENT

The best way to get the correct size is to measure the head you are making the headband for. If that’s not possible, refer to the Average Head Circumference Chart. Knit fabric will stretch to fit a wide variety of heads sizes in that range so don’t be too stressed about it!

Using a measuring tape, measure the widest part of the head. Write that measurement down.

CUTTING OUT
Cut a strip of knit fabric (6-8 inches/15.5 cm x HEAD MEASUREMENT)

Feel free to alter the thickness of the headband. You may want a thicker, bulkier, or even a thinner headband. It’s all your preference and you can cut them out accordingly.

Make sure you cut out the strips with the stretchiness of the fabric for the widest part.

topknot headband tshirtUpcycled t-shirts work really well

SEWING TOP KNOT HEADBAND

SEAM ALLOWANCE IS 3/8 INCH

 

STITCH TYPE: 

Use a lightning bolt stitch, a small narrow zigzag stitch, this is so the seams won’t pop and break when the fabric is stretched, or you can use a 3-4 thread serger.

TOP KNOT HEADBAND

Fold the fabric strip in half lengthwise. Sew along the unfinished edge. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Turn right side facing out using a turning stick or the eraser end of a pencil.

Align the seam so it is in the center of the headband.

top knot headband topknot headband knot

Take the short ends and tie a very loose knot.

Place the shorts ends Right Sides Together and with the seams lined up. Using a regular straight stitch, sew along the unfinished edge using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. (Basically the edge of your presser foot). Trim seam allowance.

 

I love this method because there is NO SEAM on the back of the headband, therefore making it so much more comfortable to wear.

Slide the knot down so it covers the seam you just made. Adjust the knot how you want it and you’re finished!

Tadah! Now wasn’t that simple!

I hope you have fun making these top knot headbands as much as I do. 

 

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Sewing Corners and Curves | Serger Tips and Tricks

sewing corners and curves

Serging around corners and curves can be a little tricky, but when you know these handy tips and tricks, it’s no problem at all.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to easily sew around square outer and inner corners and how to sew curves without any puckering.

For those of you who are visual learners, you can watch the video tutorial at the end of the post. I give several other serger tips that you won’t want to miss!

Typical Corners and Curves Sewing Projects

Of course, sewing around corners and curves is not a big issue with a regular sewing machine, but when you are using a serger (3 or 4 thread) it is different. For one thing, the serger leaves a chain of stitching that can get quite messy and add bulk to your project if you leave them too long when turning. No more of that!

Before I learned these tips and tricks, I had stitching tails all over the place, which doesn’t look really clean and finished.

Before trying any of these tips, I recommend getting some scrap pieces of fabric and just practice. It takes a little practice and every fabric is different.

Tips for Sewing OUTER CURVES

Start with lining up the fabric edge you are sewing with the side of your serger plate (the side with the blade). This is where you want to keep your focus point. As you slowly sew, you’ll be gently rotating the fabric to the right, keeping the edge of the fabric aligned with the edge of the cutting plate.

Be careful not to twist too much or you’ll get puckers. Just let the machine feed the fabric and you turn the fabric. You’ll get the hang of it real fast.

Tips for sewing  INNER CURVES

The same thing as with outer curves, except instead of rotating fabric to the right, you’ll rotate to the left. Inner curves are a tad trickier because it is a smaller radius. Just go slow. Any slight puckering that occurs can be pressed out.

Most likely, you’ll be sewing a lot more outer corners than inner corners, but knowing how to sew an inner corner using this method is a GAME CHANGER!

Sewing Corners and Curves outer corners

Outer Corners

To sew an outer corner, sew up to the edge of fabric and then take two more stitches by TURNING THE HANDWHEEL TOWARDS YOU.

Lift up the presser foot, gently pull the fabric back a bit to disengage the threads from the looper hooks. This will enable you to PIVET THE FABRIC around. Align the fabric edge with the knife plate edge and the top of the fabric in align so that when the needles come down it will be at just inside the edge of the fabric.

Continue to sew. It’s pretty simple. Do some practicing on scrap fabric. It’s actually quite fun, and notice what clean corners you have all finished nicely!

Sewing inner curves

Inner Corners

Begin sewing and when you get close to the corner, flip the bottom of the fabric edge to line up with the knife edge of your serger. THIS WILL MAKE A NATURAL PLEAT! Flatten the pleat (it will look like a little ice cream cone).

Continue to sew straight, keeping the fabric along the edge until you have completed the corner.

Open up the fabric and BAM, there you have it!

If there is just slight puckering, this can be pressed out.

sewing corners and curves clip cornerNOTE:  if the fabric is thicker, you may need to clip the corner just slightly 1/16 of an inch before sewing. You shouldn’t have a problem with lighter weight fabrics.

Once again, practice and test out the fabric you’re using on your project to see whether you need to clip the corner or not.

I hope that was helpful. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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DIY Neck Cooling Scarf | Easy Sewing Tutorial

neck cooling scarf youmakeitsimple.com

When it’s hot and you need to keep cool, this DIY neck cooling scarf works like a charm. The scarf is made of simple cotton fabric and filled with water beads. These polymer crystals or water beads are quite amazing and when soaked will plump up with water, expand and then release the moisture slowly. That’s what makes this cooling scarf so nice is that it will stay wet and applies gentle moisture to your skin that keeps you cool for hours.

This is a very simple sewing project that even a beginner seamstress can handle. Making a neck cooling scarf will only take you about ten minutes to make, and it only takes a minimal amount of fabric. These are great to wear when you are working outside, or inside and can be worn by adults and children.

What types of water beads/crystal are best to use?

There are lots of varieties out there. The “crystals” are very small chunks that almost looks like a powder, while the “beads” are smooth spheres. I like to use spherical beads for comfort and ease of use, and some say that the small crystal powder can absorb into the fabric. You will be AMAZED at how the big the beads plump up when soaked in water. One teaspoon turns into 3-4 cups once soaked!

You can find the beads in most craft stores, floral shops and even some hardware stores will sell them in the garden section. They were all sold out in the stores in my location, so I bought them on-line and was very pleased with this brand. (clear beads) (colored beads)

You can find the beads in most craft stores, floral shops and even some hardware stores will sell them in the garden section. They were all sold out in the stores in my location, so I bought them on-line and was very pleased with this brand. (clear beads) (colored beads)

Neck Cooling Scarf Materials & Items Needed

  • Water beads or water crystals
  • Cotton fabric
  • Scissors/rotary cutter (optional)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Pins/ fabric clips
  • Measuring tape
  • Cookie sheet (to keep the beads from going all over the place)

Neck Cooling Scarf Instructions

1-Hydrate the beads.

If you are using beads, hydrate them before placing them into the scarf. There are so many different sizes of beads that it’s hard to know how much they are going to expand. If you fill the scarf tool full they can expand too much and pop the seams.

If you are using the crystals you can apply the powder before soaking. JUST REMEMBER YOU’LL ONLY NEED JUST A LITTLE BIT! 1 teaspoon of powder, split into different pockets.

neck cooling scarfThe bead to water ratio is 1 teaspoon/3 cups water. Get a big bowl or tub to put them in. It may take a few hours for them to hydrate completely. I like to soak my beads the night before I plan on sewing.

neck cooling scarf cutting fabric

2 -Cut a piece of cotton fabric 4.5/10 cm x 42-44/112 cm inches.

Most bolts of cotton fabric are 42-44 inches wide, so just cut a strip of fabric 4.5 inches.neck cooling scarf cutting ends

3 -Fold the long edges of the fabric strip in half and CUT OFF THE SELVAGE EDGES AT A 45° ANGLE to form a taped edge.

4 -Open up the strip and fold in half again with the RIGHT SIDES FACING EACH OTHER.]

5 -Pin or clip in place.

You are going to leave a space un-sewn about 4 inches/10cm long to turn to the scarf. Find the center and mark that 4 inch space so you don’t forget and sew.

red clips
neck cooling scarf tip
neck cooling scarf sewing

6 -Sew together.

Using a straight stitch, start sewing at one tapered edge and sew all the way around to the other end. DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE THE OPENING. When you come to the red clip, backstitch and then lift up your presser foot and move to the next red clip. Backstitch and continue to sew the rest of the seam backstitching at the end.

7 -Clip corners.

neck cooling scarf turning

8 -Using a turning stick, turn the tube right sides out.

9 -Press seams out.

Fold the seam allowance under where you left the opening and press in place.

10 -Fold the scarf in half and measure 10.5 inches/27 cm from the fold and mark both layers with a pin.

This is where you will stitch the scarf to create the pocket that will hold the beads. You don’t want the whole scarf to be filled with beads, just the portion that wraps around the neck. (Some folks like to make 3 separate pockets, and this works well if you are using the powder, but if you are using the beads, I find it’s not necessary and only takes more time).

11 -Sew vertical seams

Sew two seams where you marked with pins. Backstitch at the beginning and end of seam.

neck cooling scarf filling with beads

12 -Fill scarf with beads.

Now it’s time to fill the scarf with beads. Place a cookie sheet under your workspace so you don’t have beads rolling all over the place. YOU DON’T WANT PETS OR CHILDREN INGESTING THESE BEADS!!!! You can use a funnel that will fit the beads, but I find that you can just grab a handful and feed them into the hole you left. Fill one side and then the other. Don’t overfill as they may expand a little more and pop the seam.

13 -Sew the opening closed.

Once the scarf is full, place the opening edges together and clip in place. You can hand-sew the opening closed or I use the sewing machine. I prefer using a 1/8 inch seam allowance on the sewing machine, it’s much quicker.

14 -Clips threads and you’re finished.

neck cooling scarf soaking

15 -How to soak and hydrate the neck cooling scarf

The beads will eventually dry up, but it takes several days. To re-activate the neck cooling scarf, just soak the entire thing in water for a couple hours. If you want to dry it out, just leave it in the sun. The beads will shrivel up to almost nothing, allowing you to store the wrap flat until the next time you need it.

Some friends and I are currently making a bunch of these up and taking them to the homeless shelter all hydrated and cooled. Perhaps this could be a project for those in your own community who are out in this heat; just a little way to give back.

Get in your fabric stash and make a few neck cooling scarves for yourself, family and those in need.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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How To Make Beaded Coasters From Upcycled Sweaters

upcycled sweater beaded coasters youmakeitsimple.com

Coasters do more than protect your tables and counters. They can also add a pop of color to your room and give your cup of coffee or tea a happy place to land. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make beaded coasters from upcycled sweaters.

 

Adding beads around the edges using the BLANKET STITCH, really gives the coasters texture and color. You can make them any shape you desire, however, I have the FREE PDF download for the circle and heart that you can get HERE.

This is a fun, relaxing, and easy project AND a set of these make great gifts!

WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL BELOW

 

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BEADED COASTERS ITEMS NEEDED

  • Upcycled felted wool sweater/thick pieces of felt can also be used. (I hope you’ve been saving your sweater scraps)!upcycled felted wool sweater scraps
  • Embroidery thread (2-3 yards) Quilting thread can also be used especially for smaller beads.
  • Embroidery needle (make sure the beads you are using will fit through the needle).
  • Scissors
  • Beads of your choice (glass seed beads are a good option)
  • Sewing machine for quilting (OPTIONAL)

BEADED COASTERS INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Cut out two circles (4.5 x 4.5 inches – 11.5 x 11.5 cm) * If you have a very thick felted sweater, only use one layer.
    2. Separate the embroidery thread into 3 strands.
    3. Thread the needle and knot the end.
    4. Place the beads you want to use onto a spare piece of sweater or fabric to make loading beads easier.
    5. Stack two circles on top of each other and line up the edges. If using the heart shape, start stitching at the notch of the heart.
    6. Insert the needle between the two pieces of fabric about ¼ inch/ .5 cm from the edge. Take one stitch and poke the needle out at the edge of the fabric. Load a bead onto the needle and begin the BLANKET STITCH.
    7. Take a stitch and make a loop, pull the needle through the loop MAKING SURE THE BEAD IS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE THREAD. Pull the thread taught and load another bead.
    8. Continue this process all the way around.
    9. To finish, take a tiny stitch, knot the thread. Insert the needle into the fabric close to the stitch and out between the two layers. Cut the thread.

You can leave the coaster just like this or you can quilt it or embroider a design in the center to give it a more dense texture.

If you want to use the sewing machine, attach the quilting foot and free-sew whatever design you want.

That’s it! Make a set for yourself and make some for your friends!

I’d love to see what you come up with. Tag your finished coasters on Instagram . youmakeitsimple.

****If you want to know about FELTING WOOL SWEATERS, check out this post.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Simple Christmas Stocking Sewing Tutorial | Lined With Contrasting Cuff

Christmas is just around the corner and what a great time to get out your sewing machine and make some fun holiday decorations. This Christmas stocking sewing tutorial is a very simple project that you can whip up in no time at all. The stocking is lined and has a contrasting cuff.

You can make these stockings out of all kinds of fabric.

WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE

Play Video

Christmas Stocking Items & Materials Needed

There are two different styles of the stocking. You can make them all one solid color, or piece several types of fabric together to get a patchwork design.

Christmas Stocking Instructions

  • Download and print the pattern. (Due to the size of the pattern, you will first need to assemble the pattern. Not a big deal).

Cutting Out

  • Two of the outer covering and two of the lining pieces.
  • One cuff piece, on the fold where indicated on the pattern. You can also use an upcycled sweater cuff. (The bottom edge of a sweater or the sleeve cuff can be used). If using a sweater cuff, you won’t need to double the fabric, so don’t place the pattern on the fold).
 
  • Loop piece, on the fold where indicated on the pattern

Sewing 

You can use a serger or single needle machine to sew the Christmas stocking. All seams will be 3/8” (usually the edge of your pressure foot) and you will always backstitch at the beginning and end of seams unless directed otherwise.

  • With Right Sides Together (RST), place stocking front to back.  Pin in place.  Sew all the way around, leaving the top open.

 

CUFF:

  • Fold cuff piece in half (RST).  Sew the side seam.
  • Fold the cuff over and in half so the right sides are facing out. (If you want to add lace or trim to the cuff, do it now)
  • With the seam on the left, press in place. Mark the halfway point with a pin, on the right.

PIECED STOCKING:

  • If you want a pieced look, like in the photo on top, follow the directions below. For a more rustic look, you can expose the seams on the outside of the stocking.
  • With (RST) place pieces A & B together matching darts. Pin in place and sew the seam.
  • Open the stocking up and with (RST) place on top of piece C, matching darts. Pin in place and sew the seam.
  • If you want more than three pieces sewn together, like the stocking on the left, you can sew several sweater strips together and then cut a front stocking piece. 
  • Cut out a solid piece for the back.
  • Place these pieces (RST) matching seams and edges, pin in place.  Sew all the way around leaving the top edge open.
  • Place the loop on the stocking lining, centered on the back seam.  Pin in place.
  • Baste the loop onto the stocking. (No need to backstitch) You will be sewing through the lining, stocking, and the loop

SEWING THE CUFF ONTO THE STOCKING

  • Place the cuff inside the stocking, with the RIGHT side facing the stocking.  (If using a sweater cuff, the sweater cuff seam will be facing out and visible).
  • Align the cuff seam with the stocking seam. (There will be 4 layers, 3 if using a sweater cuff)
  • Pin in place.
  • Sew all the way around, through all layers. Stretch and ease sweater cuff as needed.
  • Flip the cuff over. Press seam towards the stocking.
  • Flip the cuff down and Ta-dah…….You are ready to hang your stocking!

There is no limit to the color and fabric combinations that you can do. Make a stocking for each one in the family! 

Have fun sewing. Reach out if you have any questions.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Unpicking Serger Stitches the EASY WAY

Sewing on a serger/overlock machine is wonderful, but when it comes to unpicking serger stitches, you may find yourself overwhelmed and dreading the whole process.  I used to feel this way until I learned this slick and easy way to unpick; and I’m going to show you how it’s done. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been sewing or how good you are at it, there ARE going to be times that you’ll need to UNPICK! However, once you learn this technique, it won’t matter, because it is so easy to do.

A serger stitch will either use three or four threads to form the stitch: two looper threads and one or two needle threads. In the photo above, I have used a different thread color for each stitch to show you what it looks like. (four-thread stitch).

Before I learned this trick, I would grab my unpicker and try to unpick each stitch. There were little cut threads everywhere, and it took FOREVER! It was so frustrating! I seriously can’t believe and went so long sewing on a serger without knowing this little trick. It makes the process so quick and you don’t have all the cut threads to collect and dispose of.

UNPICKING SERGER STITCHES-HOW TO

The only stitches you are going to pull out are the needle threads. The photo above is a four-needle thread stitch. The RED thread is the left needle stitch, the TAN thread is the right needle stitch, and the blue thread is a looper thread.

1. Take the unpicker and with the point grab the red thread and pull it and cut it. Go down the seam another 1-2 inches and cut the needle thread again. BE CAREFUL NOT TO GRAB THE LOOPER THREADS, this will cause the seam to lock up and the threads will not pull out as easy. Get ahold of one of the tails of the thread you just cut and ease and pull it out of the fabric. (Sometimes you can do the whole seam in one go). Continue this process until you’ve removed that left needle thread completely.

2. If you are using a four-thread, you’ll need to remove the right needle thread as well. Finding the right needle thread can be a little tricky if you are using the same color of thread as the fabric. (A trick to finding the stitch, is to take your unpicker tip and glide it down the little v shape that the looper makes and it will slide right into the right needle stitch). It may seem like a lot of work, but trust me, it goes quickly and you’ll love the results.

3. Here’s the fun part! Once the needle threads are removed, all you need to do is grab the looper threads and give a little pull, and voilà! It will unravel like a dream. There won’t be all those little threads to gather and you’ll be on your way to re-sewing your seam.

I hope this saves you some grief while sewing. Be sure to leave a comment if you have some great sewing tips for us!

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Here are some other sewing blog posts you may be interested in:

OVERLOCK STITCH | NO SERGER NEEDED 

SEWING BY HAND | MOST IMPORTANT STITCHES TO KNOW

Have fun sewing and UNPICKING!

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Adjustable Face Mask Earloops Tutorial – No Beads

For those of you who are STILL MAKING FACE MASKS, I am going to show you how to make adjustable face mask earloops that are comfortable and don’t require any beads or other hardware. This simple slip knot technique is easy to do and makes adjusting your mask a snap. You can sew these earloops into any of your favorite mask designs.

The secret for comfort is the stretchy fabric strips. You can make your own using upcycled t-shirts, tights, leggings (watch the tutorial HERE) and read this post for some great face mask tie ideas and tips. Or you can simply buy the fabric already cut, stretched, and rolled onto a bolt.

I love this product from FARMYARN. It’s 100% recycled selvage edges from stretchy lycra fabric, and it’s very reasonably priced.

So if you’re making a lot of masks, this is the route I recommend! This stuff can also be used for so many other things and it’s much more comfortable than scratchy elastic! You can purchase it from several places. Here are a few. AmazonEtsy, and ebay.

Do you have a bunch of tie face masks that you want to convert over to earloops? I have that covered. This post and video tutorial will show you just how to do that. 

ITEMS AND MATERIALS NEEDED

 

I have a Youtube video that you can watch and it really helps if you’re a visual person (like me). You can access the video at the end of the post.

FACE MASK EARLOOPS INSTRUCTIONS

1-Take the small strip and make a small loop at the bottom of the strip.

2-Wrap the long end around the loop and poke through the loop.

3-Pull it through while you’re holding onto the two ends to tighten. (Don’t tighten all the way at this point).

4-Take the long strip and make a knot at one end. (This will keep the strip from pulling through the loop when washing your mask). Thread the other end through the loop you just made and cinch it up by pulling the strip that slides to tighten. (You want it to be able to slide, but also be able to hold in place).

5-Hold the two slip knot ends and cut to even length. 

6-Do the same thing to make a set.

HOW TO SEW FACE MASK EARLOOPS INTO MASK

1-Insert the end of the strip without the knot, into the top side of the mask. (Just below the top seam allowance) Allow the strip to overhang the mask by about 1/2 inch. 

2-Place the two slip knot strips at the bottom side of the mask, just above the seam allowance, and sticking out 1/2 past the edge of the fabric. TIP: Take a strip of masking tape and tape the knotted end the sliding stip to the inside and out of the way, so it won’t get sewn into the seam.

3-Do the same thing for the other earloop set.

4-Proceed with your face mask directions sewing the earloops into the side seams of the mask. Make sure to leave an opening for turning the mask inside out. 

5- Turn inside out, remove the tape, clip seams, and proceed with your face mask instructions.

Play Video Play Video

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

My other FACE MASK VIDEOS

Happy face mask making!

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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DIY Cut Off Shorts | 4 Simple Hemming Methods

cutoff short options

Making a pair of DIY cut off shorts is a snap with these 4 simple hemming methods. This is a great way to recycle and save a lot of money! As you know, I like to upcycle and re-purpose items.  Clothing is one of them.

Cutting off a long pair of pants and making a pair of shorts is one of the simplest upcycling projects there is. I am going to show you FOUR different ways to hem your cut off shorts.

I recommend watching the video tutorial which will walk you through

h all four of these methods step-by-step!

 

Play Video
  • Cut Off & Fray
  • Rolled Hem
  • Cuffed Hem
  • Trouser Hem

What you’ll need to make a pair of cut off shorts

  • Pair of pants

Pants of all kinds can be used. Jeans are one of my favorite things to cut off. So if you have a pair of jeans that have holes in them, don’t throw them out, make SHORTS!

If you don’t have a pair of pants you want to cut off, thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales are great places to pick up an inexpensive pair of pants.

  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Pins
  • Needle & Thread (optional)
  • Chalk pen (optional)
  • Seam gauge
  • Iron

How long do you want your cut off shorts?

Whichever way you choose to hem your cut-offs; the first thing you’ll need to do is decide HOW LONG YOU WANT THEM.

The easiest way is to take a pair of shorts that you already have and like the length of and use them as a template.  Or you can simply try the pants on and carefully apply a straight pin at the DESIRED LENGTH. DO NOT CUT OFF AT THIS POINT!

Once you’ve decided how long you want your shorts, it’s time to decide how you want to finish the edge.

If you are using an existing pair of shorts as a template, simply lay the shorts on top of the long pair of pants you are cutting off. Line up the CROTCH SEAM, NOT THE WAISTLINE. (Some pants have a longer waist height than others). Make sure the waist is lined up horizontally so you get an even cut.

Depending on what hem style you are using, you’ll either be cutting off at the DESIRED LENGTH or ADDING TO THE LENGTH.

CUT OFF & FRAY – Cut off at that length.

ROLLED HEM  –  Add ¾ inch

CUFFED HEM  – Add 2 inches

TROUSER HEM – Add 1 3/8 INCHES

1  Cut Off & Fray

The “cut off & fray method” is the simplest and quickest way to finish a pair of shorts.

  1. Cut off one pant leg at the DESIRED LENGTH.
  2. Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.
  3. Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

You can leave the fabric unfinished and just the fabric fray out. I recommend sewing around the leg with a straight stitch ¼ – ½ inch from the cut edge. This will keep the fray to a minimum. This is a preference only.

2  Rolled Hem

Using a seam gauge, measure ¾ inch from the DESIRED LENGTH MARK. Make sure the top of the waist is even and straight. Using a chalk pen or disappearing ink pen and draw a cutting line.

Cut off one pant leg.

Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.

Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

Fold the edge up 3/8 inch and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place.

Topstitch just inside the fold all the way around, starting at the inner thigh seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Repeat on the other pant leg.Finished cut edge by using a serger, or the zigzag stitch of a single needle machine.

Fold the edge up, wrong sides together, 3/8 inch, and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place.

Finish cut edge by using a serger, or the zigzag stitch of a single needle machine.

Fold the edge up, wrong sides together, 3/8 inch, and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place

Tack the cuff in place so it does not come undone while laundering. To do this, simply sew along the side seams of the cuff using the sewing machine or you can do this by hand.

4 Trouser Hem

This hemming method is a good one to use if you want a more finished look. Dress pants and trousers with a lighter weight fabric work well.

  1. Using a seam gauge, measure 1 3/8 inches from the DESIRED LENGTH MARK. Make sure the top of the waist is even and straight. Using a chalk pen or disappearing ink pen and draw a cutting line.
  2. Cut off one pant leg.
  3. Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.
  4. Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

Fold the cut edge up 3/8 inch and press.

Now fold another 1 inch. Press and pin in place.

There are a few ways to finish this hem. You can topstitch with a single or double stitch or you can use the BLIND HEM STITCH. The blind hem stitch can be done by hand or by using the sewing machine. You can watch the blind hem video tutorial HERE.

There you have it; four different ways to make a pair of cut off shorts from an upcycled pair of pants. It’s pretty simple and straight forward. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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DIY FELT CHERRIES Easy Sewing Tutorial

Summer has arrived and it will soon be cherry season. This DIY felt cherries easy sewing tutorial is a fun little project that you can make in no time at all. There are so many fun ways to use these bright colored red gems. Add a key chain and hang them on your purse or backpack. Glue a magnet on the back and display them on your fridge, or embellish your gift wrapping.

These cherries can be made using, of course, an upcycled red sweater, red fleece, red knit fabric, regular woven fabric, or felt scraps. Felted wool sweater fabric really adds a unique charm to a set of cherries. So get into your upcycled wool sweater stash and see if you can find a piece of red felted wool.

FELT CHERRIES MATERIALS AND ITEMS NEEDED:

FELT CHERRIES INSTRUCTIONS

Cut Out

  • 2 cherries from red fabric
  • One dark green rectangle and one leaf from light green felt
  • Cut a strip of cord to 7 inches.
 

Apply cord to ring, knotting in the center of cord. Set aside.

Single thread the needle and knot the end.

Using a running stitch, sew around the perimeter of cherry piece ¼ from the edge of the fabric with the knot on the inside of the fabric.

End by poking the needle to the outside, and leave it unknotted. Pull the thread to gather fabric and form a cup.

Insert stuffing into the formed cup. It doesn’t take a lot of stuffing.

Continue stitching around and around using the same seam allowance and pulling to cinch. This will eventually stay cinched.

Push the seam allowance into the inside and pull thread tight.

When the gathering stays cinched you can insert the end of one of the stems into to hole.

Push in about a ½. Sew around the stem and then insert the needle into and through the stem to secure it in place. (These may be a little challenging and will take a little force to poke it through).

Take some more stitches around until the stem is secured in place.

To knot, simply take a tiny stitch at the base of the thread leaving a little loop.

Wrap the needle around the loop and pull to form a knot.

Poke the needle back into the cherry and out the bottom. Cut the thread close to the fabric.

Repeat this process with the other cherry.

TO MAKE LEAF

There are several different ways to finish the leaf. You can just glue the two pieces together with a small leaf centered on top of the bigger leaf, or you can sew them together using a blanket stitch or embroidery the leaf veins using green embroidery floss.

● Center the small leaf on top of the dark green rectangle. Edge the small leaf using a blanket stitch on the sewing machine or sew by hand.
● Embroider the veins (optional).
● Cut out the leaf backing about a ¼ inch from the inner leaf edge.

Leaf Application

Using the hot glue gun, apply a small dab of glue onto the stem knot. Wrap the tip of the leaf around the stem knot and around the key ring. Pinch in place.

SEE THE LEAF TUTORIAL HERE

CHERRY FRIDGE MAGNET

Apply a dab of glue onto the back of a small round magnet and stick it to the back of the leaf.

Play Video

Tadah! Now wasn’t that simple?

Have fun creating and let me know if you have any questions.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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FACE MASK Minimal Sewing Method | It’s A Cinch

Making a face mask just got even easier! This DIY face mask minimal sewing method can be made either by a sewing machine or by hand. It’s really a cinch, literally! Instead of pleating, I teach you how to create a comfortable fitting face mask using a new CINCHING METHOD. 

This adult face mask has four protective layers and an easy to access filter pocket that is accessed from the bottom of the mask, out of the way from your mouth. The ties are made from upcycled t-shirts which makes this mask comfortable to wear. I have given the measurements for a TEEN AND CHILD MASK as well.

 

Recycle an old t-shirt or use a cotton piece of fabric to make your mask. I will demonstrate the sewing machine and hand sewing method in this tutorial.

Face Mask Minimal Sewing Method Materials and Items Needed

  • FABRIC (14.91 cm) cotton fabric, knit fabric, or upcycled t-shirts (cut 16 ½  x 16 ½  inch)
  • SCISSORS/ROTARY CUTTER (OPTIONAL)
  • PINS/CLIPS (OPTIONAL) I LOVE THESE FABRIC CLIPS!
  • RULER/SEAM GAUGE
  • SEWING MACHINE (OPTIONAL-can be sewn by hand)
  • BAG TWIST TIES,  CRAFT PIPE CLEANERS (If using craft pipe cleaners, cut to 4 inch
  • IRON
  • UPCYCLED T-SHIRT/ OR KNIT FABRIC (for the mask ties)
  • Safety Pin
  • Needle & Thread, if sewing by hand.

Cutting Out Mask

Cut the fabric to the correct measurement for the size.

  • ADULT: Fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches (14.91 x 14.91. cm)
  • TEEN: Fabric 15.5 x 15.5 inches (39.7 x 39.7cm) 
  • CHILD: Fabric 14.5 x 14.5 inches (36.83 cm)

Upcycled T-Shirt

Cut off the bottom 16.5 inches of the shirt, LEAVE THE HEM INTACT!

Cut the same width (16.5 wide).

Woven Fabric

Cut a piece of fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches.

Cutting Out Ties

The beauty of knit fabric is that it doesn’t fray, and when pulled it will curl. You may be asking why do we want it to curl? When it curls it creates a little tube, like an enclosed tie, but you don’t have to sew it to keep it that way like you would a woven fabric.

If you don’t have any knit fabric or T-shirts to make ties with, I found a great resource where you can purchase this stuff already made. It’s called “FARMYARN”. This yarn is made from recycled lycra fabric that is REALLY stretchy and durable. It’s like elastic and can be used in so many ways ie: FACE MASKS! You can read more about it and buy it HERE

Read the face mask tie tutorial HERE.

Cut two strips either crosswise or lengthwise 1 inch wide. (2.5) cm

Cutting along the bottom of a t-shirt, the fabric will curl and expose the wrong side of the fabric.

 (Which doesn’t matter if using a plain color, preference only).

But if you want the right side of the fabric exposed, cut the shirt lengthwise.

Pull the strips to stretch and curl the fabric.

You can either have the ties tie over the head and behind the neck, or you can make it so you have a continuous permanent loop behind your neck. (That way you don’t have to tie it every time) I personally just like regular ties.

 CUT TWO STRIPS 32 INCHES (58.42 cm) long

CONTINUOUS STRIP  33 INCHES (83.82 cm) long

If you don’t have a strip long enough, you can sew two pieces together.

Sewing Instructions

Fold the fabric in half with Right Sides Together (RST).

(T-Shirt fabric, have the hem edge be on the side).

Using a ¼ inch seam allowance, sew along the long unfinished edge using a straight stitch or sew by hand USING A RUNNING STITCH. Backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams.

 

Turn inside out.

WOVEN FABRIC: Fold unfinished edges under ¼ inch and press in place. Do this on both sides.

T SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step. (Knit fabric will not fray).

Fold WRONG SIDES TOGETHER making a shorter tube.

Line up pressed edges of the two layers.

WOVEN FABRIC: Sew the 2 layers together, topstitching close to the edge.

You will start at one point and sew around until you meet the starting point (Sewing around the tube). Backstitch.

T-SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step

Applying Nose Wire

Take the twist tie or pipe cleaner and insert it between the two FOLDED EDGES of the doubled tube.

(Opposite of where you just topstitched)

(If using a pipe cleaner, barely fold the ends under and crimp in place. This will keep the sharp point from poking through the fabric!).

Center it side to side and down ¼ inch from the top edge. The wire will be sandwiched between the two layers. Clamp or pin in place.

Make a casing for the wire so it stays in place when washing the mask.

If sewing by hand, use a simple running stitch.

Feel with your fingers where the edge of the wire is and start stitching down from the top a few stitches. (You will be sewing through all four layers of fabric).  Leave your needle in and lift up presser foot and pivot fabric.

Sew along the bottom of the wire to the other edge of the wire (feeling with your fingers where that is).

Pivot and sew back up to the top edge. Leave your needle in and pivot again to sew along the top edge. You will have sewn a little box around the nose wire.

Sewing Tie Casings

Sew down the sides of the mask ½ inch from the edge.

If sewing by hand, you can just use a simple running stitch.

Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Inserting Mask Ties

Attach the safety pin to the end of the tie.

CONTINUOUS TIE:

Thread the tie into the casing starting at the top of the mask. Pull out and continue threading the other side from the bottom up to the top.

REGULAR DOUBLE TIE:

Thread each tie into the casing.

 

Cinching the sides of mask to gather.

No Pleats, Yea!

CONTINUOUS  TIES:

Decide how tight you want the neckband to be by trying the mask on.  Once you’ve situated it and it feels tight enough, clamp in place. Remove mask.

Take the ends of the ties and hold them together. Pull to gather each side of the mask until the gathered section measures 4 inches.

Repeat on the other side.

REGULAR DOUBLE TIES:

Take the ends of the ties and hold together. Cinch the fabric to gather evenly until the gathered fabric area measures 4 inches. CLAMP IN PLACE OR PIN IN PLACE.

Tacking down ties

Sew the ties in place by sewing back and forth over the end of the casings, making sure to catch the ties underneath.

Repeat on both sides of mask. (This can be done by hand or by sewing machine).

Mask Care:

Masks can be washed and dried with other clothing.

See my other face mask tutorials HERE.

 

Play Video
Play Video

See my other face mask tutorials HERE.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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SEWING BY HAND | Most Important Stitches to Know

SEWING BY HAND | Most Important Stitches to Know

 

Knowing how to sew these 3 basic stitches will allow you to mend and create items that maybe you thought you couldn’t because you don’t have a sewing machine.

Although there are several other hand sewing stitches and techniques, I am only going to show you the basting or running stitch, stretch stitch or herringbone stitch and the backstitch.

Items Needed:

  • All-purpose thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle

(I recommend getting a variety set of needles to have handy for different projects). For basic hand sewing, use a sharp or a milliner. You can get more technical with eye size and point types, but for now, just choose one that is mid-sized.

  • Thimble (optional)
  • Needle threader (optional)

I recommend purchasing or making your own little sewing kit. What I love about this one is it comes with everything you’ll need, even my favorite fabric clips and small scissors. It comes with several colors of thread for those small mending projects.

Threading the needle

You can either use a single or double thread. I use a double thread for most projects. Don’t get the thread too long or it may be prone to tangling while sewing. A good length is around 16 inches after doubled.

 

Knotting the thread

Each seam, unless you are just basting, will need to start and end with an anchor stitch. This is where you knot the thread so it will not come undone. For most projects, you can just make a knot at the end of your thread.

To do this, simply take the ends of the thread and wrap it around your pointer finder then roll the thread between your fingers. Gently pull the thread and it will create a little knot. Then you’re ready to begin. To make a knot at the end of the seam, pull the needle to the backside and take a TINY stitch, leaving a little loop.

Wrap the needle around the loop once and pull the thread. Thiswill knot the thread.

If you don’t want the bulk of a bunch of knots when you’re sewing by hand, you can use an anchor stitch. Simply take a tiny stitch and then another tiny stitch right by it. Then start your stitching. You can end a seam the same way.

SEWING BY HAND stitches that are important to know

 

Basting stitch/running stitch

The basting stitch/running stitch is great for temporarily holding pieces of fabric together or for quick seams that don’t need to be real sturdy. This stitch can also be used to gather fabric for ruffles or easing in.

 

Take the needle in and out of the fabric with ¼ to ½ inch long stitches. Take several stitches at a time by popping the needle in and out of the fabric before pulling through.

 

Stretch stitch/herringbone stitch

This stitch has several names. I like to call it a hand stretch stitch because it works so well with stretchy fabrics. (The seam won’t pop and break like a straight stitch will when sewn on knit fabrics).

You can also use it for hemming and decorative embroidery and quilt making.

 

Drawing two horizontal lines with a washable pencil or chalk will help as a guide while sewing by hand. Work the stitch from left to right, making little back stitches and crossing over at a diagonal to the other line.

 

backstitch

The backstitch is one of the strongest, most adaptable stitches. This stitch mimics the straight stitch you would see on a sewing machine and is good to know for simple mending jobs and other small projects. Also good to know if you plan on sewing your own clothing by hand.

 

To keep your seam as straight and as tidy as possible, it’s helpful to mark the line of stitching with a thin pencil line. You can us a sharp pencil, chalk pen, or washable ink. On straight seams, use a ruler.

 

Push the needle into the fabric where you want to start the seam. Bring the needle back through both layers of fabric just in front of the previous stitch. Push the needle back into the fabric between where the needle came in and out of the fabric to create the first stitch. These stitches can touch each other, as you see here, or you can space them a little farther apart.

 

Continue this pattern until you are at the end of the seam. Push the needle to the back side and take your anchor stitch and knot in place.

 

I hope this makes sewing by hand a little less intimidating and helps you understand how to use these three basic stitches.

 

Play Video

The running stitch could come in real handy to make the NO SEW FACE MASKS stay in place longer. Real simple to do!

Have fun sewing!

 

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Simplified FACE MASK / No Elastic / Filter Pocket / Upcycled T-Shirt Ties

As you most likely have heard, face masks are in huge demand right now, as we experience this COVID-19 pandemic. There is a BIG movement going on with crafters making and donating homemade masks. Forbes even wrote an article calling all people who sew to help with the face mask shortage.

However, before you go crazy and start mass-producing a bunch of masks, I think it’s important that you get informed on the mask-wearing facts. I know there is A LOT controversy over their effectiveness and use, but from my research here are a few resources that I think are reliable.

This HUFFPOST article is loaded with links to who should and should not wear a mask, how effective homemade masks are and they even recommend some mask patterns. The World Health Organization has some good videos showing when to use a mask and other tips to protect against the coronavirus.

The purpose of this post is not to educate about the COVID-19 virus, but to show you how easy it is to make a simplified face mask for yourself, your family or serve the community by making and donating them, if you choose. 

Get informed!

I encourage you to be informed. Call your local hospitals, healthcare facilities, and see what their needs are. If they are taking homemade masks and could use them, by all means, get out your sewing machines and your fabric stash and get your little sewing fingers moving!!!!! 

I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of different styles and patterns of masks out there and most of them call for elastic. If you’ve tried to buy elastic lately, you’ll find that most stores are out of stock. NO WORRIES! You can make this face mask without elastic using an upcycled t-shirt!

This face mask has

  • No Elastic
  • A Filter Pocket
  • Wire Nose Clamp
  • Upcycled T-Shirt Ties

 

Material and Items Needed

YOU CAN GET THE FULL PRINTABLE TUTORIAL AND PATTERN HERE.

If you do not sew and would like to purchase a face mask already made, I have them in my Etsy shop HERE.

If you don’t have any knit fabric or T-shirts to make ties with, I found a great resource where you can purchase this stuff already made. It’s called “FARMYARN”. This yarn is made from recycled lycra fabric that is REALLY stretchy and durable. It’s like elastic and can be used in so many ways ie: FACE MASKS! You can read more about it and buy it HERE

INSTRUCTIONS

1- Cutting Out Face Mask

ADULT: Fabric 14 1/2 inches x 8 inches (36.8 cm x 20.3 cm).  
TEEN: Fabric 13 3/4 inches x 7 inches 
CHILD: Fabric 13 inches x 6 inches

2- Cutting Out Ties

The beauty of knit fabric, is that it doesn’t fray, and when pulled it will curl. You may be asking why do we want it to curl? When it curls it creates a little tube, like an enclosed tie, but you don’t have to sew it to keep it that way like you would a woven fabric.

Cut two strips either crosswise or lengthwise 1 inch wide. (2.5) cm

Cutting along the bottom of a t-shirt, the fabric will curl and expose the wrong side of the fabric. (Which doesn’t matter if using a plain color, preference only). But if you want the right side of the fabric exposed, cut the shirt lengthwise as shown in the diagram above.

Pull the strips to stretch and curl the fabric.

Cut ties to 15 inches (38.1) cm

3-  Finish the edges of the short sides of the mask piece using a serger or zigzag stitch.

4-  Place the right sides together of the SHORT ENDS of the mask piece.

ADULT: Measure 1 ½ inches from both sides and mark with a pin.
TEEN: Measure 1 inch from edges
CHILD: Measure 3/4 inch from edges.

5-  Using a straight stitch, sew from the edge to the pin.

Backstitch. Sew the other end the same way.

 

6- Open up seam and press.

 

7- Topstitch along both sides of the seam.

(It’s easiest to keep the wrong side out and sew inside the tube you just made).

 

8-  Place seam 1/2 inch from the top fold

Press.

9- Sewing the Face mask ties

Take the ties and place the ends in the corners of the mask, making sure they butt up against the fold. Allow the ends to stick out a bit to make sure you are catching them in the seam. Pin or clamp in place. Pull the tie ends out of the hole to keep them out of your way.

I love these little fabric clamps, but pins work just fine.

 

Sew down the sides of the mask, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.

Clip corners.

10- Turn inside out.

Poke out the corners and press.

 

 

11- Mark and sew pleats

Lay the pleat guide along the edge of the mask and place pins in to mark folding points. There should be 6 pins on each side, as indicated in the photo above.

Fold the top pin down to meet the second pin. Clip fold in place using the fabric pins or pin in place. Continue this process until all three pleats have been formed.

If you are making a lot of these masks after a while you won’t need to measure and pin, you’ll be able to just eyeball it. 

 

Repeat this on the other side. Press pleats in place.

 

 

12-Top stitch along the side edges of the mask.

First pass sew close 1/4 inch from the edge, and the second pass sew close to the edge.

13- Wire Nose Clamp

Take the pipe cleaner or wire that you are using and insert it through the hole in the back of the mask. Align it at the TOP of the mask and center. Make sure it is against the folded edge of the mask.

 

Sew along the top edge at 1/2 inch seam allowance to create a casing for the wire.

Sew along the bottom edge as well to reinforce and stabilize the mask. 

Play Video

There you have it.

 

Keep in mind that these masks MAY not prevent us from contracting Covid-19, but they can act as a physical reminder for us to keep our hands away from our face, and when it comes down to it, they may be better than nothing as a protective barrier.

If you think that a handmade mask cannot be used, think again. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a place for them — in times of crisis, like the one we are in right now. On the CDC page: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks, they explain that as a last resort, a homemade mask is acceptable.

NEED A GENUINE N95 Respirator Mask Reusable, (FDA Registered) Face Mask?

Check out this reputable source

Take care my dear friends! We are all in this together! 

Sending love to all of you!

Other posts you may be interested in

 

 

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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