Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 2

 

SEW Busy!

I’ve been meaning to post a mask pattern, but have been busy…you guessed it…sewing. I also decided to tie dye a donated sheet (shout out to Leslie!) and cut it up for masks. While searching in my attic for more fabric, I came across clothes whose styles are out-of-date, but whose fabric could be turned into something else. Hmmm….

Creating masks for essential workers, we’re constantly tweaking our patterns depending on workers needs (comfort being the most important factor). The first pattern we used as part of  The Mask Maker for NJ Workers was put out by Atlantic Health System along with a helpful video. (see below) We worked on another pleated pattern, and are now creating cinched masks with straps that adjust with toggles.

Do you need masks? My daughter, aka my sewing partner, put together a flier with info for people who want to purchase them. We’ve been sewing lightweight, comfy, breathable, washable masks in both pleated and cinched models. In addition to the fabrics on the flier, we now have more choices.  Please email me at bmoreenergy@gmail.com for info.

Pleated Mask Pattern from Atlantic Health System
You can make two sizes: Adult or Child
  1. Cut fabric 9.5″ by 6.5″ for an adult or 7.5″ by 5″ for a child. Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally.
  2. Put right sides of fabric together
  3. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner and stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
  4. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
  5. Sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put an elastic with the edge out.
  6. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
  7. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.
  8. Pin three tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction
  9. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

Related Post:  Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 1

Dining Room as Sweatshop! Mask Makers, Part 1

Ever since quarantine started and a need for masks became apparent, one of my daughters (shout out to Hannah) and I have spent weekends sewing. With two sewing machines, piles of fabric, elastic, notions, and scraps littering the floor, our dining room has been turned into a sweatshop! We’re working with a group called The Mask Makers for NJ Workers, and we’ve been sewing and donating to local medical workers, restaurants and businesses.

This has been a huge learning experience because, hon, sewing straight lines was the extent of our sewing machine knowledge! Hannah and I have broken many needles, ripped out dozens of seams, made tons of mistake, and required boxes of Bandaids. We’ve spent a lot of time cursing the thread which seems to have a mind of its own.

At first, the group agreed to sew masks with elastic that goes around ears. Then, we switched to four, adjustable straps. And now, we’re working on a cinched version with straps that adjust with toggles. All in the name of comfort. But, since Hannah and I aren’t seamstresses, every time we switch to a new pattern, we need a whole day to get it right. Some days everything hums along nicely, and some days it doesn’t!

Once Hannah started posting our finished products on social media, we received requests to purchase. We bought separate fabric and notions, and only use our own machine (as opposed to the borrowed one) for any sales. Click here to learn about the masks we’re selling. They’re lightweight, breathable, comfy, and washable.

I joined several mask maker Facebook groups, but there’s a proliferation of posts like, “Woohoo, just completed 1,ooo masks!” or “Yay me, I’ve reached my goal of 500 masks!” Those posts put our efforts to shame, so I’m unfollowing them asap because Hannah and I can’t compete and, well, we don’t have to.  She works full-time, and I’m working on my long-term writing goals. Last week, one of The Max Challenge trainers said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I love this quote! Just thinking about the energy and emotion I waste feeling bad comparing myself to others, especially when it comes to my writing journey, is enough to make me weep.

Who knows how long this situation will last, and who knows what it will look like when it’s done?! In the meantime, we’ll continue stitching–ripping out–pleating–pricking fingers–ironing–burning fabric–sewing–dropping pins–and donating and, overall, enjoying the process!

Want to know what patterns we’re using? Check it out in Part 2.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Initial Fleece Pillows

Fleece is easy to work with because it cuts easily and doesn’t fray. K-2  kids can handle a needle and thread (really!) or work with supervision on a sewing machine. For this project, which is great for all ages, my After School Enrichment students pinned and sewed their letters onto the fronts, pinned and sewed the fronts and backs of the pillows together, added stuffing, and then sewed them shut. Voila! Soft, personalized pillows!

Party idea: These pillows are their own take party activity and take home “favor!” For a virtual party, drop off supplies at party-goer’s houses and then create activity via the internet. I just mailed supplies for Spring Bling Countertop Containers to my nieces and nephews and, after they arrive, we’ll set a Zoom date so we can create together. Fun!

Happy creating, hon!

Initial Fleece Pillows

Supplies:

–paper, pencil, ruler, scissors

–2 colors of fleece, one color for initial, contrasting color for pillow body, amount of fleece depends on finished size of pillow, Tip: Need fleece? Cut up an old blanket, jacket or shirt.

–needle and thread (if sewing by hand) or sewing machine

–straight pins

–stuffing

Directions:

  1. Draw paper patter for initial (or other shape). Draw paper pattern for outline of pillow, whatever size you choose, measuring to make sure sides are equal. {Top & bottom should measure the same and left & right sides should measure the same.}
  2. Cut out one fleece initial. Cut out two equal pieces for pillow body (front and back).
  3. Pin initial onto center of front and sew it on, either using whipstitch or straight stitch.
  4. Pin front and back pieces together. Sew all four sides, leaving about a 2″ opening. Tip: Seams were sewn about 1 1/2″ in from outer edges of fleece. Chalk or a light pencil mark can be used to draw seam lines to follow while sewing.
  5. In 2″ opening, insert stuffing. Tip: a chopstick or thin, long tool will aid in pushing stuffing into four corners. When pillow is as stuffed as you want, sew pillow closed.

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Felt Owls

 

What’s your project’s name? That’s the question SCBWI, the professional Kidlit organization I belong to, asked writers and illustrators who are offering tools, resources, and ideas for kids during the quarantine. I’m calling the collection of posts in the next few weeks (months?) EASY DIY KIDS CRAFTS (including kid-centric recipes, of course). Here’s one I haven’t posted before.

The story behind these adorable felt owls? My youngest daughter and I were visiting friends in Nashville (shout out to Laura) and, while window shopping, saw a basket of oh-so-cute owls. I couldn’t wait to share the idea with my grades 3-5 After School Enrichment class, so I stored an image of the owls and figured out how to make them.

Happy crafting, hon!

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Supplies:

  • paper
  • pencil
  • small glass, cup or circle cookie cutter
  • scissors (fabric scissors that can cut felt or scissors sharp enough)
  • felt, various colors
  • tapestry needle and thick thread
  • straight pins
  • 2 buttons
  • stuffing

Directions:

  1. On paper, draw outline of an owl along with a pocket-shape for front, beak, feet, eyes (trace around glass, cup or circle cookie cutter for eyes).
  2. Cut out paper patterns.
  3. Using paper patterns on top of felt, outline 2 owl bodies (front and back), 1 pocket-shape, 1 beak, 2 large circles, 2 smaller circles for eyes, 2 feet.
  4. Stitch a button onto each small circle (for eyes).
  5. Pin pocket-shaped piece of felt onto front of owl’s body and then whipstitch it on.
  6. Sew eyes to front of owl.
  7. Sew beak to front of owl.
  8. Sew feet to bottom of front of owl.
  9. Pin front and back pieces together and then sew them together, leaving about a 1 1/2″ – 2″ opening unsewn. (I taught my students how to sew the pieces together using a sewing machine, but the front and back can just as easily be hand sewn together, using a whipstitch.  Tip: When you get to the feet, sew front and back pieces together with a regular stitch and resume whipstitch around the rest of the body.
  10. Push stuffing through unsewn opening. Tip: A long, skinny tool such as a chopstick or long pen will help move stuffing into ears and fill body.
  11. Sew opening closed.

 

Extra Info:

–The top of the pocket-shaped piece of felt can be left open to make an actual pocket.

–Fabric, other than felt, can be used for the eyes and pocket-shaped piece.

–Love a different animal? The same directions apply for any animal. Outline it and other animals parts such as ears and a tail.

Easy Two Stitch Infinity Scarf

93 yards
70 yards

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Two Stitch Infinity Scarf
Two Stitch Infinity Scarf

Sew Handy

I learned how to needlepoint and embroider in Girl Scouts when Girl Scout badges were earned by practicing “traditional girl activities.”  My mom taught me how to use a sewing machine and, in fifth grade, I learned how to knit. I’m not sorry about learning Victorian-age  skills, though, because they provide instant stress relief and a sense of accomplishment. Knitting, especially, has taught me…

It’s okay to make mistakes.

Miss a stitch? Rip out rows. Yarn’s knotted up? Untangle it. Don’t care for a pattern? Try a different one. Sometimes, I re-start a project several times and–guess what–I don’t yell non G-rated words (click here if you want to know when I do yell non G-rated words.)

Easy Two-Stitch Infinity Scarf Directions

  1. Using a size 10 1/2 inch circular needle, cast on 60 stitches. Place a stitch counter to mark the end of the round. Gauge doesn’t matter.
  2. K2 P2 for 4 rows.
  3. Knit in the round until yarn is almost finished, but leaving enough to rib until the end.
  4. K2 P2 for 4 rows.
  5. Bind off loosely, Weave in loose ends.

Finished scarf–mine measures 9 inches wide.

Show -n- Tell (more projects)

I recently finished needlepoints for my niece and nephew. Here they are made into pillows.

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