Last week was a struggle to have any fun. I had “two emergency” visits to the dentist and another set for today. Seems an old woman with an old root canal and crown must say goodbye to the tooth instead of getting it repaired. Getting in to the dentist, endodontist and the oral surgeon are all tricky escapades during the global pandemic of Covid-19. The bright side is that once the antibiotics started to work, I could reduce all the pain relief medications; but it did take through the weekend. Slowed me down on having fun.
I was able to do a little stitch out on a couple of dish towels, one for each daughter.
The towel above was fun to do. I’ve found that the secret to doing applique on the embroidery machine is using Wonder under or Heat n’ Bond light on the back of the fabric before you place it. Then when you trim after the tack down stitch you get a nicer cut. That said, I should have used some water soluble stabilizer on top of the towel before the applique. It would have made close trimming easier, without fighting with the nap of the towel. I chose this design for my daughter who moved “home” to Delaware recently, after moving around the country and world for the last 12 years with the US Military. (Years ago, while in Texas, she and I were shopping and saw “TEXAS” state towels and discussed how they were made and could be done for every state, and if they would be “marketable” . When I saw this design I scooped it up!)
This towel, for my youngest daughter, was a LONG stitch out. Over 30,000 stitches, and I forgot to take a photo before I gifted it. My daughter was sweet to send me a picture back for the blog. This towel has more of a woven weave and I had to use a LOT of tear away stabilizer, plus water soluble on top. I have a couple of “oops” moments and can see them in the picture, one being an orange thread dangling above the back wheel, and one being a “skip” of stitches on the front wheel. Why is it you don’t see those things until after it comes out of the hoop??? Snipping the loose thread can be done now, but fixing that front wheel is never going to happen. You can only hope the rider doesn’t feel the bump in the road! (Oh, and don’t get me started on the beak of the bird…..it’s not there….). Anyway, both towels were fun to do and I tried to pick a design that suited each daughter. My youngest daughter loves to ride, and her “cruiser” is orange and white. Both embroidery designs came from Oh My Crafty Supplies
In the midst of my dental emergency, I was committed to pick up kits from the local quilt shop for another batch of masks. This batch was quilters cotton and batik fabric with ELASTIC !! YAY, no ties. No flannel. So, I picked them up on Wednesday and was able to hand them off on Sunday afternoon. My friend Pam offered to deliver this batch to the local hospital.
I told my hubby that this batik looked like a virus. When I cut these I layered the two fabrics right sides together and made short work of matching pieces together. I thought I was being efficient. After doing the first one, I changed my method a bit. I marked a dot where the elastic was to go on all the pieces, and tack stitched the elastic in place. I did this rather than trying to pin in place and hope it didn’t wiggle out while I was stitching the two pieces of fabric together with the elastic inside. It was taking a lot of time to “pin” the elastic and fabric. So, marking the placement gave me consistent placement of the elastic, and I could just “hold” the elastic in place while I tacked it down on the edges of the mask.
Once the elastic was managed it was easy to put the fabric pieces right sides together and just sew around the edges, leaving a gap for turning.
I used my pleating template and clips again and lots of steam to pleat the masks. The walking foot is the best foot for me when top stitching to secure the pleats.
Did you know with careful cutting you can get 28 masks out of 2 yards of fabric? (These are cut 6×9″) I was happy the quilt shop was able to provide elastic.
I just got an order in on Monday of some nice soft elastic and used it for masks for my son-in-law. He has to go daily out for his work, all day wearing a mask, and I made him 4 new masks yesterday. I much prefer making the masks on the embroidery machine using the Creative Appliques pattern . I was able to get 4 mask “fronts” and ear flaps from one fat quarter, and using two other batik fat quarters the pieces for the inside. I tried to “mix up” the insides a bit when I assembled so he could distinguish from one to another, though they look similar.
I have a bunch more mask parts cut out and pre-pleated and ready to stitch out. I took a break though and made some “ear saver mask extenders” using another pattern from Creative Appliques.
I used black vinyl on top and black felt on the bottom with medium tear away for stabilizer. The idea here is to keep the elastic off the ears which can be a problem for wearing for long periods of time. I used 9″ elastic and knotted it into a loop. The loop goes into the mask flaps and gets snapped into the extender. The Creative Appliques pattern is a fast stitch out. A couple of weeks ago I tried another pattern and it was way more stitches than necessary, but pretty! The tan ones were the original ones I made and I used buttons and snaps. (Of course I sewed the buttons on using my sewing machine. The tan ones are only about 4″ long, and the black ones from Creative Appliques are 7″. They come in a variety of lengths at C.A., the pattern gives you lots to choose from.
Of course, I had to “test drive” the mask with extender.
The good thing about a mask is it hides all the wrinkles, and you can blame the mask for COVID-19 bad hair!
I really like this mask because it fits close on the nose with a wire, and the part I called ear flaps (where the elastic goes through) hold it close to the sides of your face. Because of the shape it is a much nicer fit. Making them on the embroidery machine uses a lot of stabilizer, but I have said before how I manage that with the “windowing technique” I use. If I was more efficient I could probably “mass produce” them like I did the ones for the hospital, but I am only doing this style for “special requests” as they take me longer, but give you a better mask. Creative Appliques sells this style pattern for the home sewing machine also.Creative Appliques sewing machine mask pattern
I’ve seen masks for sale all over the place from $8 to $15 or more. I don’t think I could “earn a living” making them. I might make some to sell to help recover the expense of all the elastic, twill tape, stabilizer I have used in the last 2 months. Are you selling masks? What style? How much?
Well done Mary. Very productive making much need protective masks. It’s quite difficult to find any shop that stocks elastic here x
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I ordered some from Walmart.com and some more from Amazon. Both took weeks to come. I understand it is a different story in England. A friend just finished a batch that she used fleece ties on and they are very soft. She cut strips and fold wrong sides together and zigzaged the edges
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I can’t find any elastic, and I could stay up 24/7 and couldn’t do what you do on an embroidery machine. Wow, you sure put it to good use.
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Too funny! Elastic – I love this stuff I got thru an order at Walmart. Took 3 weeks to get it, but it is rounded, soft and very nice.. Currently showing price as $21; 2 week delivery – https://www.walmart.com/ip/4mm-100M-Elastic-Band-Ear-Ropes-String-Cord-Rope-for-for-Sewing-DIY-Mask-Bedspread/685354208
I’m guessing it is air shipped from China, and I wish the website said so. The tracking info picked up in Los Angeles from USPS. The ‘return address’ on the pouch is from Kentucky, but the long delay in getting it into the hands of USPS makes me “feel like” it came air from China. I know they have had huge delays in shipping. Price is down $3 from the time I ordered. 100 meters is a LOT, but I bet you could find people to share it with. There are 10 pouches, 10 meters each in the package.
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Judy – that “rope elastic” is what is in the last mask picture .