Face Mask Tutorial

Let us preface this post by saying that, although we are not medical professionals, many people feel that a mask “might” be beneficial to wear to prevent the spread of whatever. So you make the choice for you and your household, we will all stay six feet apart and hope that “the virus” doesn’t continue to spread like wildfire.

As elastic of any width is pretty well non-existent for the next while, here’s a simple tutorial to sew a face mask using elastic or ties. Our thanks to Erica Arndt from Confessions of a Homeschooler for such clear instruction! Check out her demonstration video below:

Hand Sewn Face Mask Pattern

PLEASE NOTE: These masks will NOT prevent you from catching a respiratory illness. They may be used by hospital staff over the top of medical grade masks to help make them re-usable. They may be used for someone who is sick to help reduce the spread of germs when coughing and sneezing.

*** Mask are re-usable, must be sanitized after each use! ***

• 2 pieces of 6” x 9” 100% cotton fabric of varying colors
• 1 piece of 6” x 9” cotton fabric lining or light weight interfacing for lining
• 2 pieces of 1/8” x 7” elastic OR Fabric Ties – Cut 4 strips of fabric 1-1/2” x 18” • Sewing machine
• Scissors or a trimmer
• Pins or clips
• Pencil or Hera marker
• read
• Iron
Alternate Sizes:
• Elastic straps: 1/8” x 6” (women), 1/8” x 7” (Men)
• Kids size: Cut fabric 5” x 7” and elastic 5” long

Tip: Use two different fabrics, one for the front and one for back of the mask so you can remember which side goes by your face. Keep in mind men and women will be wearing the masks when choosing fabric for masks that will be donated.

DON’T HAVE ELASTIC? Use ribbon or fabric ties 18” in length.
For fabric ties: use a strip 1-1/2”x 18-20”. Fold one short end 1/4” in, this will be your nished edge. Next fold the fabric strip long edges in so they meet in the center then fold in half length- wise again. Sew down the open edge to secure and backstitch on the nished edge. Tip: Make sure not to sew over the loose end of the tie as you sew around the mask.

Step 1: Layer 1 sheet of cotton fabric right side up on top of your lining.

Step 2: If using elastic, take 1 elastic piece and pin it 1⁄2 inch from the top and 1⁄2 inch from the bottom of the right side of your fabric. Repeat this process on the other side. Tip! Be careful not to twist the elastic! For fabric ties, place the raw edge of fabric tie along raw edge of mask, and pin in place, 1/2” in on all four corners as shown.

Step 3: Place your second piece of fabric right side down on top of your straps. Re-pin so that all three layers of your fabric and straps are secured together.

Copyright © 2020 Erica Made Designs, LLC www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com

Step 4: Sew around the perimeter of your mask using a 1⁄4” seam . Leave a 2.5 inch wide hole on the right side of your mask. (So you can turn it out later.) Back stitch at your stops and starts & double stitch where the elastic bands are because they will have some tension. Tip: Make sure not to sew through the strap of elastic!

Step 5: Trim the corners then turn out your mask right side out. Tip: Use a hera marker to turn out the corners of your mask. A pencil will do the job too!

Step 6: Use an iron to press your mask so the edges are crisp.

Step 7: Fold your mask accordion style so there are 2 pleats on each side. Clip the pleats on both sides. Your mask should be about 3” in height. Press again with your iron.

Step 8: Sew 1/8” top stitch around the entire outside edge to finish. Congratulations! You’re finished with your mask!

You can also download Erica’s FREE HOW TO SEW A FACE MASK PDF pattern here!


*** MASKS are re-usable, but must be sanitized between each use ***


Tuesday Tip: Don’t Throw out Broken Rulers

Have you ever experienced a mishap with a quilting ruler only to have it break and become damaged? Maybe now you have a chunk broken out. So what should you do next? Here are two directions:

  1. Take that broken ruler and throw it into the garbage headed to the landfill. Not cool! You spent good money to purchase that ruler and now you face the cost of replacing that ruler.
  2. Carefully transport your broken ruler to your local glass shop. (eg. Speedy Auto Glass) Ask the folks there to cut and reshape your broken tool into a ruler that you can continue to use. For a nominal charge they can cut off the broken corner and re-invent your tool. Voila! Now you have a new ruler that you can use in your sewing room.

We all love tips that save us money and are reduce waste, etc. Please let us know if you have a tip to share with other quilters that is helpful.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: Cotton Batiste

Cotton Batiste: this light weight fine fabric is very useful behind the scenes. It can be basted to the back of fabric you are using for stitchery (eg. muslin or Kona – Snow) when you are working on a Crabapple Hill embroidery pattern. Attaching it to the back of the muslin you are stitching through not only stabilizes the fabric, but more importantly, it hides floss tails, knots, and crossovers so they won’t shadow through to the front of the embroidery.

We equate Cotton Batiste to the slip under your little black dress. Just like that slip prevents viewing of bits better unseen, Cotton Batiste prevents seeing any messy bits of floss from showing through to the front of your stitchery.

Note: If you’re making tea towels, tablecloths, etc… where the back will show, you just have to skip the muslin step and be more careful and neat with your stitching.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: Cleaning your Iron

Is the soleplate on your iron looking a bit yucky? After a while, any iron will begin to show residue and brown patches. Gunk builds up from working with fusible products, accidental scorching and residue from fabrics. A thorough cleaning will help your iron glide more smoothly and prevent any of that gunk from transferring onto your good quilting fabrics.

Dritz Iron-Off Hot Iron Cleaner removes built-up starch, fusible webbing and detergent from your iron. It’s non-flammable, non-toxic and non-abrasive. Iron-Off will not remove discoloration in metal finish.

To clean your iron properly, you need Dritz Iron-Off Hot Iron Cleaner, a terry cloth to apply and wipe. Then follow up with a soft flannel type rag to polish up. The cleaner is applied to your iron when it is hot and then wiped off with a rag.

Caution: Your iron will be very hot for this cleaning process and you want to apply iron cleaner with a terry cloth folded in several thick layers being careful not to burn yourself.  

Check out this video below to see how it’s done:

A bit of housekeeping like this will make your iron sparkle in a jiffy and you might be surprised to see the gunk that comes off.  Find Dritz Iron-Off in store or online HERE.

Happy stitching!


Tuesday Tip: Re-Using Batting Scraps

Do you have various pieces of batting left over from projects and/or strips you’ve collected after trimming up your finished quilt? Well, don’t throw out those scraps because there are ways to join them together and make use of them.

Take those smaller pieces of batting and sew them together to make a useable piece. I have used joined up batting in several quilts. It may take some time, but if you get sick of throwing away quilt trimmings, this is the use for you! There are a few ways to make this, but here’s my favorite:

  1. Start by gathering your odd pieces of batting. Get them out of those cupboards and drawers and use them for your next quilt project!
  2. Trim down the largest edges so they are straight. This is SUPER important to make sure that your batting doesn’t get wonky and bumpy later. It does not matter much if your batting pieces are the same length (or width). Just work with what you have and build it up to be big enough for your current quilt needs.
  3. Sew two pieces together using a wide zig zag stitch. You do not want to overlap the batting. Just butt the pieces up next to each other and sew. Keep following this process until you have built up enough batting for project.

I have never had any issues with any quilts in which I have used pieces of batting cobbled together to make a usable piece. You cannot tell once it’s quilted. It’s a great way to use up something that otherwise would be trash and save yourself a few bucks.

Bonus Tip:  Even skinny pieces of batting are also usable if you trim them to a 2 1/2″ width and join pieces up end to end. I am currently joining up pieces to make a length of batting approx. 50 yards in length to become the filling for a Jelly Roll Rug.

If this all seems a little too tedious for you, then join up your batting scraps using Marti Michell’s fusible batting tape. It comes on a roll and makes quick work of joining up batting pieces. You can’t even feel where the join is later once your quilt is sandwiched.

Happy stitching!