Cloth Face Masks 2.0

Mixed feelings seem to be the norm these days, so – I am both sad that we need to wear face masks, and happy that I can make them. Now that I have tried a few different variations, it’s gotten pretty quick and easy to put these masks together. They are a satisfying way to use small scraps of fabric, and several have been going out by mail or on the doorstep to my friends. I’ve gotten some lovely chocolate treats in return – it’s a great feeling, when people know you so well!

The original mask pattern I made is in a prior post. Now, I have made a few updates that I think make it more comfortable (nose dart) and practical (opening at the bottom, if you want to add additional filter material).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cotton fabric – use a tightly-woven material, such as high thread count bed sheets or quilting cottons for better protection (two 8″ squares per mask)
  • 1/4″ wide elastic (12.5″ length per mask)
  • Cord for ties – I used spare shoelaces and some bias tape stitched closed (I yard per mask)
  • Basic sewing supplies

Here’s how to do it:

  • Cut two 8″x8″ squares of cotton
  • Round the top slightly (see picture below)
  • Fold the mask in half vertically, with right side facing, and sew small darts at the top center of each piece (see picture below)
  • Zig-zag stitch along the bottom of each piece to stop the hem from fraying, because this side will be left open to insert optional filter material.
  • Place the two pieces right sides together and pin
  • In between the two layers, pin the elastic 3/8″ down from the top corners, careful not to twist and pin the ties 3/8” up from the bottom corners
  • Starting about 1.5″ from a bottom corner, stitch toward the corner and all around the edge of the mask with a 3/8″ seam allowance, ending about 1.5″ from the opposite bottom corner, leaving an opening in the center of the bottom. Backstitch at the beginning, ties, elastic, and end (see picture below)

  • Clip the corners, clip the top curve, and turn right side out
  • Iron the seams flat and top stitch around the edges
  • Pin three pleats
  • Stitch the two sides to secure the pleats

Here’s how I wear these masks and some of the fun fabric and color combinations I tried:

Hope that helps others who are sewing masks. Stay safe, friends!

Julie aka “Jewels”

A Simple Cloth Face Mask

Sigh, with the novel coronavirus circulating it’s a good idea to have face masks for the times when we go out to get groceries or meals. Some hospitals are also asking for donations of fabric masks. I tried a few different patterns and settled on my own version I’m sharing here.

The features I like about this mask are that it’s easy to make and comfortable to wear, as well as conserving elastic, which is hard to find these days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cotton fabric
  • Elastic
  • Cord for ties – I used spare shoelaces and some bias tape stitched closed
  • Sewing machine, thread, scissors

Here’s how to make it:

  • Cut a piece of cotton 8”x 16”
  • Fold in half lengthwise and mark the middle
  • Pin the elastic next to the middle on the right side
  • Pin the ties 3/8” up from the bottom corners
  • Fold lengthwise with right sides facing
  • Leaving a 3” opening on one of the edges to turn the mask right side out, stitch around the edges with a 3/8” seam allowance
  • Using the 3” opening, turn the mask right side out
  • Iron the seams flat and top stitch around the edges
  • Pin three pleats
  • Stitch the two sides to secure the pleats

Here’s how I wear these masks and some of the fun fabric and color combinations I tried:

Hope that helps others who are sewing masks. Stay safe, friends!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Diaper Cake Using Cloth Diapers

I had a great time co-hosting a baby shower for my friend Nicola’s baby shower last weekend, and I’m working on getting all the pictures together to share on the blog.  I started with the tea party, and I’m still wrapping up some of the activities, but here are some pictures and a short tutorial on the diaper cake!

I used cloth diapers for our youngest through a lot of his first year, but I’ve fallen off the wagon lately. It really wasn’t that difficult, and I am so glad we did it.  Cloth diapers do, however, mean a few extra loads of laundry each week, and I was losing buy-in from hubby and the toddler himself. So, despite my feelings of guilt, I have given it up. We’re slowly starting to introduce him to the potty, so hopefully our days of diapers are numbered. In any case, the timing works out well for me to pass these diapers on to Nicola and Victor.

There are many ideas out there for beautiful diaper cakes. Most of them use disposable diapers or plain cloth ones. The diapers I had were the all-in-one or pocket diaper style, and I’ll write about how to use those diapers in another post for Nicola and the rest of you who want to get started. Since these diapers are bulkier than disposables and come in a variety of colors, I had to get creative with the design and owe thanks to Ari and Monica for their artistic input.

The technique for all diaper cakes is similar. You’ll need:

  • cardboard and fabric or wrapping paper for the base
  • diapers
  • small elastic bands
  • extra large elastics – I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop
  • ribbon – wired ribbon gives extra strength
  • decorations – more ribbon, toys, diaper cream, etc.

Prepare the base

I cut a large circle out of corrugated cardboard. It’s about a foot and a half in diameter, and I didn’t have a large circle to trace, so I taped a piece of string to the center, taped a pen about 9″ out from the center, and drew around the string to make a neat circle.

I used a piece of scrap fabric to wrap the cardboard and taped it to the bottom. You could also use a cute wrapping paper.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Prepare the diapers

Start by rolling up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic

Making a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Roll up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic.

Constructing the cake

Group your first layer of diapers together inside a large elastic band. I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop. Once you have them tied together, you can rearrange them to get the look you want (this picture was taken before I arranged them).  Because there were so many different patterns, I tried to group them by color (blues on the bottom; yellows in the middle; greens on top), and I hid the diapers that stood out too much in the middle (the tiger stripe diaper, the dark blues).

Make a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Make the first layer of the cake by grouping the rolled diapers inside a large elastic band.

Put something tall in the middle of the first layer to help attach it to the next layer. I used a roll of diaper liners (these are amazing, by the way. The poop sticks to the liner, and you just dump the liner in the toilet and flush it, leaving you with a much cleaner diaper to wash).

Making a diaper cake with cloth diapers by Jewels at Home.

Put something tall in the center of the first layer to help attach the next layer.

Add your second and third layers, keeping something that projects upwards in the middle, to secure the layers to each other.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

When each layer is done, you can tie a decorative ribbon around the diapers and remove the large elastic.  I used two layers of wired ribbon, and it made the bundles of diapers very secure.

Decorate your cake

You could add little toys, bottles, diaper cream, etc..  I just added some ribbons to the top and around the edges.  I folded pink and blue ribbons and secured them with a paperclip before stuffing them in the top.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

And here it is, the finished diaper cake!

Diaper cake using cloth diapers.  From Jewels at Home.

Finished diaper cake using cloth diapers.

In retrospect, I will have to say that this is not as fast a project as it looks, mostly because I had to fiddle with the arrangements and colors to make all those different diapers work together, but it was a very cute addition to the baby shower, so definitely worth it.

I’ll try to get the information on using the diapers up on the blog soon, as well as some more baby shower projects!

“Jewels”