Monday, July 27, 2020

Most Popular Blog Posts

While I'm finishing up a few craft projects this week, check out Sarah Jane's Craft Blog's Most Popular projects: Most Popular Post Collection.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Modified Olson Mask Tutorial

When the pandemic started, I did a little research and found a pattern from a local hospital to make some masks. Those masks turned out well, but took quite a while to put together and sometimes felt a bit small. So, when I realized I would need to make more masks, I went looking for another pattern. There is no shortage of face mask patterns out there these days. So I found a new mask pattern, but when I did, I realized I could easily modify the old Olson mask pattern to sew up more quickly and keep it's shape better.

So, earlier this week I showed you how I made the new pattern. A the same time, I cut out the front face piece from the old Olson mask pattern so that I could try a more streamlined version.

I cut out 4 pieces from one of the front pattern pieces (on the right).

Then I placed two pieces of fabric right sides together and stitched the curved seam that runs from nose to chin.

Then I repeated the process with the other two pieces of fabric so both sets were stitched along the nose seam. If you want to, you can zigzag stitch the nose seam open to help keep it's shape.

Then I placed those newly made pieces right sides together. Feel free to put a couple of pins in, but if you're using woven cotton material, it stays put pretty well.

Then stitch around the outside edge of the mask and leave one of the side tabs open so you can turn the mask right side out.

(Photo of the inner and outer mask pieces stitched together.)

Then use the opening to turn the mask right side out.

(Photo of the mask turned right side out.)

Then I made a nose piece out of some pipe cleaner.

I used the open side seam to place the pipe cleaner inside the mask, and then I pinned it at the top of the mask where the nose seams meet. Place your pin right up against whatever you use to create your nose piece to hold it in place.

Tuck the edges of the open side of the mask under and pin it into place.

Then top stitch around the whole mask. This creates a channel for your nose piece and helps the mask to keep it's shape (and helps to keep the mask from twisting in the washing machine as much).

Then attach your elastic or hair ties by folding one of the side pieces over and stitching it shut.

We learned that this elastic beading cord stretches a lot more than hair ties do, so it needs to be even shorter to ensure a snug fit.

I was pleased with how these turned out--both the new pattern and old patterns come together using these methods very easily. I keep looking for slightly better fitting shapes, but the basic method is super simple. Happy mask making!

Monday, July 20, 2020

DIY Fitted Face Mask

Towards the beginning of the pandemic, I made some face masks to wear when going to the grocery store. They turned out pretty well, but as this crisis has continued, it became clear that we would need more masks. So, I set out to find a pattern that I could sew more quickly and that fit a bit better. I wanted one that was a little bit longer from nose to chin than the Olson mask I made last time so I felt comfortable talking while wearing it and wouldn’t worry about it slipping off my nose or chin. I also wanted a pattern that had fewer steps to sew so I could crank out a few in a sitting.

As I was searching online, I came across a pattern from Made by Barb that seemed to do the trick. I made a test mask and found that it was actually a bit big. after the first mask, I cut the bottom of the pattern off at the seam allowance line on the paper pattern to make it a quarter of an inch shorter. Everyone's face is a bit different, so when you find a pattern that seems close, it's pretty easy to adjust it a bit. Barb's pattern even allows for a few different cuts at the nose based on your preference.

After I made my test mask, I realized I could use the same steps that Barb recommends with her pattern while using the Olson mask pattern. So, I found some neutral fabric and folded it so that I could cut four pieces from one pattern piece at a time (folded in half and then in half again). I pinned the pattern piece from Barb’s website with its bit cut off at the bottom on one side and one of the front pattern pieces from the Olson pattern on the other.

I cut out both pattern pieces so that I had 4 identical pieces of fabric for each mask.

To make the new Made By Barb mask, I placed two piece of fabric right side together to create the front and the liner of my mask. I sewed along the curved seam that runs from nose to chin with both pairs of fabric pieces.

Barb recommends opening up the nose to chin seam and doing a zig zag stitch to help it lay fat and help the mask keep its shape. So, I gave that a whirl. I haven’t noticed a substantial difference with the zig zag stitch, but it does seem to hold its shape a bit better.

I repeated the zig zag stitch for the liner pieces. 

Then I placed them right side together to connect the front of the mask to the liner.

I stitched around the outside edge of the mask, but I left one of the sides open, so I could turn the mask right side out.

Then, I turned the mask right side out.

I cut a piece of pipe cleaner for the nose. I hadn’t used pipe cleaner before, so this was a test. I doubled it to make it a bit stronger and so the pokey end bits would be wrapped up in the middle. I’m not sure that’s necessary, but it seems to be working ok.

I used the open edge of the mask to place my pipe cleaner inside the mask and pinned it in place at the nose.

Then I tucked in the open side of the mask (pin it shut if it’s not staying put) and top stitched the edge of the whole mask. This helps the mask keep it's shape and keep from turning into a total crumpled mess every time it gets washed, and it allows for a channel for your nose wire, too. Just stitch carefully when you get to the pin. I didn’t think the pipe cleaner would slide around since it’s covered in fluffy stuff, but it did move when I washed the mask. So, either be prepared to slowly pull it back into place after washing, or put a couple of vertical stitches on either side of your pipe cleaner to keep it from moving.

Since this pattern didn't have tabs built in to fold over your elastic or ties, I stitched them directly on to the mask. I used some elastic beading cord that I had in my craft stash. I tied knots in the ends and stitched right over the cord a few times to secure them. They seem secure for now. I did have to use a lighter on the frayed ends after it went through the wash. 

And success! I made a mask that was a littler bigger and pretty fast to sew. After making a couple, this one took me about 20 minutes to make, and I'm not fast. I have neglected most pinning with these now, but even if you put some pins in, it's a quick mask to make.

I even made one of the mask (the tie-dyed one below) with three layers--two inside layers of cotton fabric and the outer layer of t-shirt fabric.

You can see in the completed photo that there's a longer skinnier blue mask  (bottom right). I also tried the Olson mask out using these same basic steps. Stop back on Thursday if you want to see how I made that mask!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Dripped and Flamed Alcohol Ink Candle Holders

I found a couple of candle holders from the dollar store in my craft stash and decided it would be fun to do some flamed ink. I hadn't done a flamed project in a while, so I got out my inking supplies and got started.

I laid out my craft mats and some blue and green alcohol inks along with a sheet pan covered in tinfoil.

The craft mats are heat resistant and protect the table from ink. Then a place cork trivet under the sheet pan just in case it gets hot (it usually doesn't get too hot, but it does help make it easier to turn the tray so you can see all the sides of what you're inking). And then I put my sheet pan covered in foil (just to protect it from ink) on top. I clear out all of the rubbing alcohol and inks so they are far away from the flames.

I dripped various shades of green and blue down sides of the candle holder and immediately lit the line of ink of fire. The ink spread out, dried, and became a bit darker with the flames.

For some reason, this alcohol ink project was really hard to photograph. Most of my pictures came out blurry. My camera and my phone just didn't know what to focus on. I continued to ink with shades of blue and green on both of the candle holders and lit them on fire as I finished dripping a line. The flames were small for this project since I wasn't adding any additional rubbing alcohol and the flames could be nearly invisible (the photo above has a flame on the top/base of the candle holder) so I had to watch the ink move and dry to see where the flames where. Be careful not to add any more ink until it's done flaming. Also, watch for pooling under the rim. If there's too much ink there, it can catch on fire, too. I stopped a couple times to either soak up ink or light the ink on the tinfoil on fire so it wouldn't catch on fire while I was dripping ink.

I kept turning my candle holder and filling in the dripped lines until the candle holder was nearly completely covered in ink.

These turned out well, but ended up a bit boring. It might be fun to add some more colors or drip some ink horizontally, but I played it safe the candle holders are curved.

The blue and green turned out beautifully, and I look forward to lighting up some candles in them.

Monday, July 6, 2020