Sewing With Plush Fabric | Tips & Tricks

Sewing With Plush Fabric

Items made with plush fabric are the coziest things ever; however, sewing with plush fabric can be a little tricky. In this post I am going to give you some great tips & tricks that will make the sewing process a lot easier and save you a lot of grief!

What Is Plush Fabric?

The fabrics that are considered “plush” are:

  • Faux Fur                 
  • Fleece
  • Minky (also known as “Cuddle” fabric
  • Velvet
  • Chenille
  • Velveteen

These fabrics usually have a “nap” to them. If you run your hand up and down the fabric, they’ll be smoother in one direction and may even look a shade different in color.

plush fabric blanket

What do you do with plush fabric?

These cozy fabrics make really nice toys, blankets, pillows and jackets. It’s not just for babies! We, adults, deserve to have something COZY! 

The fabric is available in solids, prints, embossed and double-sided. Embossed Cuddle is a favorite. You get softness plus a subtle design that pops up from the nap, such as the classic dimple as well as hearts, stars, paisley, and more. Next time you’re at the fabric store, check and see what they have available.

You can buy the fabric by the yard, or you can upcycle a throw blanket or item of clothing (like I like to do). The bunny in the photo below was made from an upcycled fleece jacket.

PLUSCH FABRIC BUNNY

Sewing With Plush Fabric Tips & Tricks

  • Things are going to get messy! Plush fabric sheds when cut; use a rotary cutter to minimize fuzz. After cutting, place pieces in a dryer with a damp washcloth on low heat for about 10 minutes. Keep a lint roller, masking tape, and vacuum handy.

plush fabric stretch

  • This fabric has some stretch to it. It stretches on the crosswise grain but very little along the lengthwise grain (parallel to the selvages). If you are sewing two pieces of fabric together, it’s important to line up stretch with stretch and the grain with the grain, or you’ll get twisting and uneven seams.

plush fabric pinning

  • Use a lot of pins! This fabric will do a lot of shifting from the time you pin until the time you actually sew, so place a lot of pins to hold things in place. I love these long, floral tip pins. It makes them easy to see, so you don’t accidentally leave pins in your projects. 
  • Attach a walking foot, if you have one. If you are going to be sewing on these types of fabrics, it’s well worth the investment. Most sewing machines have one available if it doesn’t come with one. It makes a huge difference when sewing on the fleece, Minky, upcycled sweaters, etc. *If you don’t have one, be sure to hold the bottom layer of fabric a little more firmly when sewing. What happens is, the bottom fabric gets fed through the machine more quickly and you’ll get uneven sewing.
  • If you’re sewing a different type of fabric together with the plush, place the plush fabric on the bottom when sewing.
  • Use a ballpoint needle, 90/14 (Ge my NEEDLE GUIDE HERE).
  • Set your stitch length to a longer-than-normal stitch (3-4) to keep seams from puckering.
  • Do not use an iron. The fabric can melt!
  • Use a slightly bigger seam allowance. I like to use a ½ inch seam allowance when sewing on plush.
  • Using a rotary cutter will give you a cleaner cut edge.
  • If sewing together with a different type of fabric, especially cotton, be sure to wash the cotton piece first! Plush fabric will not shrink, but the cotton will.

Sewing with plush fabric is really not that bad once you get the hang of it. I wished I would have known this stuff before I attempted my first plush fabric project.

I have a video tutorial showing you how to make a plush self-binding blanket, and I go over these tips in it. WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE.

You may also find the fleece binding tutorial helpful.

Check out my sewing patterns HERE.

I hope this was helpful and that you’re now ready and excited to make a fun baby blanket or teddy bear.

7 Sewing Machine Presser Feet and How To Use Them

presser feet youmakeitsimple.com

Have you ever gone through the sewing machine attachments that come with your sewing machine and wondered, “What the heck is this used for?” I certainly have! In this post, I am going to walk you through the 7 most basic sewing machine presser feet and how to use them.

Whatever type of sewing machine you have, it will come with some basic presser feet attachments. Some of them may look very intimidating and seem complicated to use. NO WORRIES. By the end of this tutorial, you are going to be all ready and hopefully, excited to tackle any sewing project.

What are presser feet?

Presser feet are small attachments that are added to the machine to help feed the fabric through the machine while you sew. There are many types of presser feet and each does something different to make the sewing task easier.

janni tips

Make sure to use presser feet that are compatible with the model of the sewing machine! Some feet are universal and can be used and several models of sewing machines, but others are not. When you purchase a new foot, it will tell what models it can be used on.

 

7 Basic Presser Feet

Play Video

Standard Presser Foot

This foot is most likely the foot you’ll be using for most of your sewing projects. It’s used for standard and decorative stitches.

  • Straight stitch
  • Satin stitch
  • Zigzag stitch
  • Overcasting
  • Other fancy stitches
  • Zipper Foot

Most machines include a zipper foot. There are several types of zipper feet and different ways to attach them. Depending on the setup of your machine, will determine how you attach it.

It’s pretty obvious what the zipper foot is used for, but how does it work?

Most commonly a zipper foot has gaps on either side of the foot. Depending on which side of the zipper you are sewing you position the zipper tape under the relevant side of the zipper foot. You stitch along one side of the zip then repeat for the other side.

The gaps in the foot allow you to sew close to the zipper teeth on either side of your zipper. If your sewing machine is capable, you can also adjust the needle position to more precisely place your stitching.

You can also use the zipper foot to attach trimmings and that have a tape, just like you do with a zipper. A zipper foot can also be used to apply piping. (There is a piping foot, which makes the task even easier

Overcasting/Overedge Foot

This foot is wonderful if you need to finish the raw edges of fabric but don’t have a serger or overlock machine. There is a little bar in the center of the foot that works to wrap the thread around the edge of the fabric for a neat finish and to prevent fraying.

There are usually a couple of options for overcasting stitches on most machines. You may need to play around with the length and width of the stitch to get the result you are looking for. I always recommend practicing on a piece of scrap fabric first.

You can watch the video tutorial where I will show you in more detail how to do the overcast stitch on your sewing machine.

Play Video

The overcasting stitch can be used even if you have a serger. It comes in handy for quick, small, and hard to reach places.

Blind Hem Foot

This foot is a nice option if you want to hem a pair of pants, curtains, skirt, or other items that you don’t want to be able to see the seam and you don’t want to sew it by hand.

The foot has a gap down the center and the right side of the foot is wider than the left side. The left side is also slightly raised compared to the right side because once the fabric is folded correctly there will be three layers of fabric to fit under the left side of the foot (two layers of the garment fabric itself plus the hem allowance), but only one layer on the right side

You can watch the detailed blind hem video here

Play Video

As I mentioned before, take a piece of scrap fabric and test it out there before sewing on your project. It takes a little tweaking to get the stitch how you want it.

Select the blind hem stitch on your machine and position the foot with the right side of the foot snugly against the fold in the fabric. The right side of the foot will act as a guide as you sew making it easy to sew accurately and ensure the stitches are falling correctly.

As you sew the stitches will be straight and then it will jog over to just catch the main garment fabric as it joins it to the hem allowance. You may need to play with the needle position to get your stitches in the correct place.

You will see a minimal amount of stitching from the right side, especially if you are using thread that is the same color as your fabric.

Buttonhole Foot

This foot can look intimidating, as at least it did for me until I used it. There are different types of buttonhole feet and some are fancier than others. I’m going to show and demonstrate how to use a one-step buttonhole foot. Most machines will come with at least a sliding or adjustable foot, which is similar to the one-step.

The one-step buttonhole attachment looks similar to the sliding and adjustable buttonhole feet, but it also has an area at the back of the foot where you can insert your button. You slide the foot until the button is fitting snugly in the gap then engage a lever or similar on your machine (instructions for this feature will be in your manual). This allows the machine to measure the button and stitch out the correct sized buttonhole in one simple step. I LOVE IT!

Practice on a scrap piece of fabric first. It’s actually quite fun making buttonholes!

Button Foot

You can always just sew a button on by hand but if you’re not a fan of hand sewing this foot could be a very welcome addition to your sewing kit! This foot allows you to sew a 2 or 4 hole button, and in different sizes, depending on the size of the button you are using.

Some machines will have a special setting for applying a button. But if it doesn’t NO WORRIES!

Simply set the stitch width according to the gap between the holes on the button and set the stitch length to “0”. The machine does all the work. If your machine does not have the special button setting, when you complete the stitching, move the needle position to the left or right and set the width to “0” and take several stitches in the same hole to knot the thread. Or you can just manually knot the two threads on the underside.

Viola!

Applique Foot

An appliqué foot is shorter in length than most presser feet and has a wider area for sewing all kinds of decorative stitches. The foot is shorted in length which makes maneuvering curves and angles easier.

The front of the foot sits on the fabric to maintain the required pressure; however, the back of the foot is raised to allow stitches and fabric to feed through easily.

Simply attach the foot to your machine, select an appliqué stitch of your choice, and sew around your chosen design quickly and easily. One of my favorite stitches to use is the blanket stitch.

There you have it. I hope this was helpful and allows you to feel more confident and familiar with those foreign-looking attachments that come with your sewing machine.

janni tips

It’s always a good idea to read through the manual that comes with your sewing machine. There may be some good tips in there to help make your sewing experience a lot easier.

 

 

For those of you who would like a little more direction and tips on all the SEWING BASICS, be sure to check out my SEW SIMPLE COURSES. Find out more about them HERE.

OTHER SEWING POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:

Sewing Machine Needles, Why choosing the right one matters!

Unpicking Serger Stitches the Easy Way

Have fun sewing, and remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE!

 

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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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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!

Play Video

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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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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OVERLOCK STITCH | No Serger Needed

Do you want a finished overlock stitch for your seams but don’t have a serger? NO WORRIES! I am going to show you how to finish your seams using four different methods and there is NO SERGER NEEDED!

Ideally, it would be nice to have a serger in your sewing tool kit, however, not everyone can afford one or has access to one. Maybe you’re just getting into sewing and haven’t ventured into the serger world yet.

There are still several ways to get a nice finished edge without using a serger. I did it for years and these few stitches I’m going to show you work really well.

Why do you need to finish seam edges?

If you are sewing on a woven fabric, the seams WILL eventually fray, especially after washing. You don’t want your seam to come undone after all the work you put into a project. Depending on what you are sewing, you can use different methods. I will show you several different ways to finish the seam edges. Even the most basic sewing machines will have these stitches.

Sewing Machine Overlock Stitching Alternatives

ZIGZAG STITCH

This is a stitch when sewn along the edge of the fabric will keep it from fraying.
SEWING MACHINE SETTINGS: Width 4-5, Length 1-2
You can either open up the seam and sew each side of the seam allowance separately or sew them together. This depends on the project you are sewing. If the pattern has you open up the seam and press, sew separately. This is good for light to medium weight fabrics. (cotton prints, linen, etc.)

ZIGZAG STITCH with ADDED STRAIGHT STITCH

SEWING MACHINE SETTINGS: Width 0, Length 2.5
For added strength and a more finished look, you can sew down along the inside edge of the zigzag stitch. You will see this type of seam used on jeans, and projects that with heavier weight fabrics and seams that need more stability.

OVERLOCK STITCH

This is an actual stitch option on your machine. It looks like a zigzag with a straight stitch on the side. It will obviously take a bit longer than it would with a serger, but it does the job.
THIS STITCH WORKS REALLY WELL ON STRETCHY FABRIC! When using this stitch on stretch fabric seams, the seams won’t pop open when pulled. A narrow and short zigzag stitch will also do the same thing. LOVE IT!

You can use this as your seam stitch and the overlock seam. However, since the seam is small, your seam allowance will be very small. You’ll have to take that into consideration and trim the seam allowance first.

Most machines will come with a special OVERLOCK FOOT. You can see what it looks like in the photo above. This foot will help guide the fabric so you are sewing right along the edge where you’re supposed to. It works really well.

SEWING MACHINE SETTINGS: Width 4-5, Length 1-2

SLANTED LADDER STITCH

This is another sewing stitch option that most machines will have. It is also good for stretchy fabrics.
SEWING MACHINE SETTINGS: Width 4-5, Length 1-2
You can play with the length and width to get the stitch you want.

I recommend getting some scrap fabric and practicing with these stitches. You’re going to love it.
Please send me a note if you have any questions.

Have fun sewing!

Other posts you may find helpful:

Sewing By Hand, Most Important Stitches to Know

DIY Bias Tape

Play Video

Have fun sewing and remember to keep it SIMPLE!

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How to Sew Hexies On-the-Go | English Paper Piecing Tutorial

I have to share with you my new crafting project LOVE, hexies. Yes, I’ve made them before and have even hand pieced a hand quilted hexie flower garden quilt. (That was years ago). For some reason, the smaller one-inch version has caught my eye I love making them. We recently went on a road trip and I NEEDED some handwork to do while riding in the car. I figured while I was in the car I would show you how to sew hexies on-the-go. 

One thing I get excited about going on vacation is not only time away, but some time to work on projects like these. Unless I need something to do while watching a movie, or I know I’ll be waiting somewhere for long periods, projects like these get put on the back burner. But WHY? Little sewing projects like these bring me joy, help me chill and relax, and are very rewarding. I guess I’ll have to go on more trips!

So I made sure I had some projects to take with me. (I had three small bins of things to DO: a little sewing, a little crochet, some beading, and my travel watercolor kit). I never get to them all, but at least I have them with me. Is anyone this crazy?

WHAT ARE HEXIES?

Fabric hexagons (which are affectionately referred to as hexies) are made using a process called English paper piecing. Each hexagon is made individually by wrapping the fabric around a paper shape, then securing it in place using either stitch basting or glue basting. (The paper will eventually be pulled out).

These hexagon shapes can be used alone or stitched together to form other fun shapes or patterns like flowers. There really are so many fun ways to put them together. You can applique them on pillows, quilts, or make a wall hanging. Of course, Pinterest has a few ideas.

This is a GREAT WAY TO USE UP YOUR TREASURED FABRIC SCRAPS!

I made a little HEXIE TRAVEL KIT. Let me show you what‘s in it. 

Hexagons are measured by the length of their sides. The hexies I show in this tutorial were made using a 1-inch template and is a good size to start with.

HEXIE TRAVEL KIT CONTENTS

  • Pre-cut fabric scraps (cut to 2 ½ inch – 63 mm squares). Use a variety of colors and prints. 
  • Pre-cut hexagon papers you can buy them already made in bulk, or you can make them yourselves. I like to make them using a lightweight cardstock. Cutting them by hand can be a little time consuming, so I made a template on my Silhouette and let the machine cut them out for me. It’s very important that they are cut out accurately and that they are uniform. I have the CSV file available HERE.
  • I like to get a little tin or zip lock bag to put the papers in for easy access.
  • Needle and Thread Some people use a glue stick, but I prefer the simple needle and thread method. Use a milliner type needle size 9-11. (However, any embroidery needle will work just fine). Throw in a spool of white or neutral color thread for basting.
  • Scissors I take my fabric scissors because I like to trim the fabric before sewing. A smaller pair of embroidery scissors are nice if you have a pair.
  • Upcycled Altoid tins to keep single already made hexies, and spare needles.
  • Acrylic template (optional)

HOW TO MAKE A SINGLE HEXIE

Double thread a needle and knot the end. (Don’t get your thread too long, or it will get tangled, about 16 inches after doubled.

Place your hexagon paper on the wrong side of your fabric and centered on the square. Hold the paper in place while you trim the corners to make a 3/8 seam allowance. 

Fold the fabric firmly over the paper on one side and then fold the adjacent side over to form a mitered corner. Take two small stitches over the mitered corner to tack in place. Stitch about ¼ inch from the edge.

Fold the next side over and hold in place while you tack that corner in place.

Repeat until all sides are folded over and sewn in place. Knot and cut the thread.

Store your made hexies in the tin until you are ready to sew them together. If you are home, it’s nice to press the hexies before sewing them together. However, if you are on-the-road, you can still sew them together and press later.

HOW TO SEW HEXIES TOGETHER

Decide how you want to sew them together. You can make hexie flowers for a Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt, (as shown above) or just start randomly sewing them together if you don’t want a specific pattern. I’ve done it both ways.

Double thread the needle and knot the end.

Place two hexies right sides together (RST). Using a WHIP STITCH, sew along one side from point to point. Sew small stitches that are about 1/8 inch apart. Catch the top folded edge of fabric only. DO NOT SEW THROUGH PAPER. Small, closely spaced stitches that are sewn straight across the fabric top are best.

When one edge is sewn, secure your stitching with a couple of stitches repeated in the same place, at the end of your hexagon side. This keeps the stitches tight and the seams (for each side of the hexagon) neatly intact. Next, fold the hexagons out flat and decide which hexie you want to add next.

When sewing more than one side together, you’ll have to flip the hexie as you sew. Sew the first side right up to the corner end. Align the next side by folding the other hexie next to it in half (without creasing). This allows you to line up the edges more easily. Sew that side and repeat the flip. 

While on the road, you can just make up a bunch of single hexies, or if you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait and you’ll want to arrange a flower and sew one together right away. 

Play Video

Seriously, once you make a few hexies you’re going to be hooked! 

I hope this inspires you to make a little travel kit and get sewing, EVEN ON-THE-GO!

Have fun sewing!

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DIY Face Mask Filter Insert-Reusable and Washable

Do you want a little more protective coverage with your face masks? This DIY face mask filter insert will give you the added protection without a lot of bulk and cost. These filters are EASY TO MAKE, REUSABLE, and WASHABLE. 

I guess we’re not going to get away from the “FACE MASK WEARING SAGA” anytime soon, so we might as well embrace it and make wearing a mask the best experience as possible. Most of the masks that people are making and that are floating around these days are simple, basic two-layer masks. Which are fine for those quick trips in and out of the store. However, what if you need a little more protection and you want comfort as well?

There are so many folks out there who are required to wear a mask for 8 plus hours at a time. Wearing some of these masks with filters feel like you’re going to suffocate, is anyone with me? 

What if your face mask doesn’t have a filter pocket?

No worries! I designed these little filters to fit almost every type of mask. (Pleated MaskCinched MasKNo-Sew Mask, Contour Mask). The pleated design allows the filter to open up like a cup and be able to fit comfortably even with a contour mask. (I am working on the finishing touches of my CONTOUR FACE MASK PATTERN right now).

If your face mask does have a filter pocket, you can simply just open up the filter and slide it inside.

Play Video

HOW TO MAKE THE FACE MASK FILTER INSERT

You’ll want to use a high quality 100% cotton fabric. Upcycled high percale cotton sheets and pillowcases work well. Use at least a 400-600 percale. A high-quality cotton quilting fabric will work as well. I like to cut out and make several at a time. They sew up real quick.  

Materials & Items Needed

Download and print the pattern. Cut out using PAPER SCISSORS. 

Make the pleat template by tracing the dimensions onto a piece of heavy cardstock paper or an upcycled cereal box. This template will make the pleating process so much easier! MAKE SURE POINTS ARE ACCURATELY DRAWN ON TEMPLATE, to save any pleat making frustration. 

CUTTING OUT

To cut out two filters at a time, fold the fabric in half twice. (You’ll need to cut out 2 of the pattern piece on the fold).

Place pattern on the fold where indicated and clip in place.

If you don’t have sewing clips, and you don’t want to use pins, simply tape the pattern in place with MASKING TAPE. Yep, I love this stuff. Masking tape comes in real handy for a lot of sewing projects.

Cut out using a rotary cutter or scissors. (If you plan on making a lot of these, I recommend making a template with heavy cardstock or oak tag paper. (recycled cereal box). If using a rotary cutter, GO SLOW AND KEEP YOUR FINGERS OUT OF THE WAY!.

Open the fabric up and take two layers and place them right sides facing out. Line up the edges.

MAKING PLEATS

Take the pleat template and mark the folding points using the tip of a pencil. Just make a tiny dot on the fabric. If using a dark color fabric, you can use a chalk pen

Take the template and flip it horizontally with the fold line at the top. Line the top of the template with the bottom set of folding points. Fold the fabric over the template and press in place.

Fold the fabric up until the bottom edge is aligned with the “folding line”. Press in place.

Remove the template and place the top edged of the template on the next set of folding points. Repeat the process until you’ve made all three pleats.

Accuracy is very important, or you will end up with the wrong size of the filter.

 

Once the pleats are made, clip in place.

Now all you have to do is finish the edges using a serger or sewing machine. If you have a serger, use it. If not, you can use a combination of a straight stitch first, and then finish the edges with a wide and short zigzag stitch. (Width 4-5 and 1.5 in length).

Serger method: watch the video and I will show you how to serge around the corners.

Sewing machine method: Using a regular straight stitch, sew all the way around with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Change the setting to a zigzag stitch and sew all the way around. Have the zigzag go all the way to the edge of the fabric. 

Clip threads and you’re finished. 

How do you care for the face mask filter insert? 

It’s easy. Just wash them the same way you do your cloth face masks. (It’s important that you’re washing the face masks frequently). I recommend washing the masks on a regular wash cycle with the rest of your clothing or towels). 

I put my face masks and filters all in a little mesh laundry bag. This keeps them all together and from getting tangled with everything else. These bags also make a nice ‘COLLECTING FACE MASK STATION’. Hang a bag by the door to collect USED MASKS.

I hope you have fun making these little filters and that they bring you a little more comfort knowing you’re getting some more protection. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns when making these.

Have fun sewing, and remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE!

CHECK OUT MY OTHER FACE MASK TUTORIALS HERE

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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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Upcycled Denim Patchwork Quilt

Have you ever slept under a denim patchwork quilt? There is nothing better! There is just something about the heaviness of the denim and the coziness of a soft flannel fabric that just seems to tuck you in and comfort you. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how easy it is to make a quilt using upcycled denim jeans.

My sister-in-law gave my husband a denim patchwork quilt many years ago and it has been a family favorite. We use it to throw on the lawn for a picnic, watching fireworks, or just to add some warmth to our bed on a cold winters night.

I have been saving jeans for many years with the intention of making each one of my kids an Upcycled Denim Patchwork Quilt. I made my oldest son a
denim quilt when he graduated from high school, and planned on doing the same for the other two kids.

Last Christmas I made another quilt for my youngest son and now it’s time to make one for my daughter. So am cutting out denim squares again.

The quilt that I made was for a double/queen size bed. I ended up cutting out 132 squares. Whew! One night my husband, bless his heart, helped me cut. I opened up the jeans and marked them, and he cut. We had quite the process going. (He is a manufacturing engineer)!

A FEW TIPS FOR CUTTING OUT YOUR SQUARES.

1-  MAKE A TEMPLATE of the size square you want.

I found about the biggest square you can get out of most jeans pant legs was a 8 x 8 inch square. You could always make this smaller if you wanted. I like to use oak tag paper. Oak Tag is similar to poster board, except it is thicker and holds up better. You will see it used in a lot in packaging of clothing, and other items.

I always save it to use on pattern templates, stencils, and of course VALENTINES!

2-  OPEN UP THE PANTS 

 

 

Here is a video showing how to deconstruct a pair of jeans to make it easier for cutting out these squares.

Play Video

3-  TRACE AROUND TEMPLATE using a pen.

You can include the seam of the pants in one square if needed. This actually gives a little character anyway. To optimize fabric usage, butt up the edges of the square whenever possible.

Include a few pockets in your quilt, especially if you have a pocket with a good tag.

4-  COUNT OUT SQUARES BY TENS and place a scrap piece of paper with the amount of squares up to that point written on it, between the layers.

(That way you will not waste time counting over and over again to see how many squares you have). I used 132 squares for a double/queen size quilt.  11 squares x 12 squares.

SEWING THE denim patchwork QUILT TOP TOGETHER

  1. Place two squares  Right Sides Together (RST) and sew a seam using a 3/8 seam allowance. I used my serger which works really well if you have one. No worries if you don’t have a serger.
  2. Open the two squares up and place another square (RST) and sew that seam.  Continue in this manner until you have 11 squares sewn together in a long strip.  *Alternate colors and shades of denim to give it some character.
  3. Sew 12 strips.
  4. Now to join the strips:  Place two long strips (RST) and sew all the way down the one edge of the strip.  (Take time to line up the seams as you go).
  5. Open the two strips up and place another strip to the two already sewn together.  Sew that strip on.  Now you have three strips sewn together.  Add one more strip making a section of 4 rows of 11.
  6. Set that foursome aside and build another foursome in the same manner, until you have 4 sets of 4.
  7. Now to join them all t.ogether, place two of the foursomes (RST) and sew.  Do that again with the other two foursomes.

This gets a little bulky sewing it all together, just take your time and give yourself some room around your sewing machine.

Denim Patchwork Quilt Back

Instead of buying about 6 yards of fabric and having to piece it together, I have found buying a flannel sheet set is cheaper and you usually get a better quality fabric. Don’t settle for a thin piece of flannel, as you will want it to be durable.

 

I found this Eddi Bauer queen size sheet set at Burlington Coat Factory for around $39.00. It came with a flat and fitted sheet and two pillow cases. My son was thrilled to have a new bottom sheet and some matching pillow cases. It was a good thick flannel as well.

To Tie The Denim Patchwork Quilt

Choose a matching color of yarn to tie the quilt with.

Throw it on your quilting frames and tie away.

I tied this quilt at the corners and one in the center. There is nothing better than an afternoon with a friend, sitting around chatting while you tie a quilt. That is about how long it took the two of us, 2 1/2 hours. It was so enjoyable and relaxing tying the quilt!

Binding The Quilt

Binding quilts by hand is so enjoyable to me. I am not sure why? There is just something about it. It does take quite a bit longer, but I think it looks so much nicer and is good therapy.

You can use the sewing machine to bind it if you like.

I usually leave about an inch of flannel around the edge. Fold the flannel edge over 1/2 inch and roll again over the denim top about a 1/2 inch and sew in place.

I like to personalize my quilts with some kind of endearing tag.

Want some other upcycled jeans project ideas? Check out this post.

Have fun sewing!

 

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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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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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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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DIY Lavender EYE PILLOW | Easy Sewing Tutorial

There is nothing better than a soothing lavender eye pillow when you’re feeling stressed to take away the tension. This easy to follow DIY eye pillow tutorial will guide you through a quick and easy project that you can make in 10 minutes or less. Even a beginner seamstress can handle this!

I love using an eye pillow when

  • I take a nap
  • at the end of my yoga practice for savasana
  • and when I have a sinus headache. (I put it in the freezer to get it cold and then put it over my eyes).

What I love about this eye pillow it that it has a removable slip cover that you can wash, and the dried lavender stays fragrant for years.

What else is a lavender eye pillow good for?

  • Shields the eyes from light and visual stimulus. Covering the eyes blocks out glaring light, and blocks any visual stimulus that may keep your mind racing.
  • Relieves tension and eye strain.  Most people think the an eye pillow is just to block out the light, but the light weight of the flax seeds ensures the perfect amount of acupressure to release tension from the forehead, cheekbones, temples, neck and even the shoulders. Some yoga scholars also claim that the light pressure on the eyes sends a neurological signal to the brain that facilitates  whole body relaxation.
  • Calms and rests the mind. 

Here is a little article that talks about the oculocardiac reflex in the eyes that can serve as a very powerful doorway to the relaxation response. Now I know even a little more about the “why” of these wonderful eye pillow. (I’m all about the why)!

You can read more about the other benefits in one of my previous posts

 Materials & Items Needed

Cutting Out Inner Bag

Cut ONE strip of fabric 9 x 9 inches. (22.86 cm)

Cutting Out Slipcover

Cut ONE strip of fabric 5 x 20.5 inches. (12.7 x 52.07 cm)

Sewing Instructions Inner Bag

Fold fabric in half with right sides together.

Pin in place and sew along the bottom and side using a ¼ inch seam allowance.

(Leave one short side open). Turn inside out and press.

Make a paper funnel using a standard piece of paper. Simply roll in the sides and adjust the edges to form a cone. Adjust it so there is about a 1/2 inch opening and tape it in place.

Fill with approximately 1 cup rice, flax seeds, millet, or buckwheat. (My favorite are flax seeds).

Add 1/4 cup lavender buds. (optional). Oh, baby, this makes them smell so yummy! If you don’t have access to lavender buds, you and simply place a few drops of lavender essential oil on the outer cover, here and there. 

 

Fold the open end under ½ inch to the inside and sew close to the edge.

Sewing Instructions Slip Cover

Hem the short ends of the fabric by using a rolled hem method. (Folding under ¼ and then another ¼ inch).

Press and topstitch in place. Backstitch at the beginning and end of seam.

With Right Sides Together, fold left side over 1 ½ inches.

Fold the right side over so the edge is about ½ inch from the left fold.  Press and pin in place.

If you want to add a tag, this is when to do it. Stick the tag just inside the right folded edge. Let the tag hang out a bit, as to make sure to catch it in the seam.

Sew along the top and bottom of the slipcover, backstitching at the beginning and end of your seam. Add a tag in the top right corner. (Optional) If you have a serger, use it. If you don’t no worries. However, you are using a fabric that frays easily, use a zig-zag stitch to finish the edge of the seam allowance. You can do this by simply sewing a zigzag stitch down the seam.

Clip corners, turn inside out. Poke corners out and press. You can do this by simply sewing a zigzag stitch down the seam.

Slip the inner bag inside the slipcover.

EYE PILLOW CARE: 

Outer slipcover can be machine washed and dried. DO NOT WASH INNER EYE PILLOW BAG! To refresh lavender fragrance, simply squeeze bag contents to activate lavender.

Play Video

Remember self-care is critical in your wellbeing! Enjoy a little YOU time!

Have fun sewing!

 

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