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”

Noodlehead 2-4-1 Tote

While we’re staying home to “Shelter in Place” and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, I’m trying out sewing bags!

This is the lovely 2-4-1 tote by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. I made it with some leftover fabric from my favorite baby sling and a from my mother’s stash. I’m looking forward to trying it out with more variations!

The pocket and magnetic snap make me happy!

It feels a bit funny to be sewing purses while we’re barely leaving the house, but it’s making me happy!

More purses to come!

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”

Valentine’s Day Pennant Banner

I’m not usually a big Valentine’s Day person, but then again, a holiday built around chocolate can’t be all bad! Anyway, a couple of weekends ago, I got the urge to make something – anything! – and I put together … Continue reading

Dyeing to DIY… Shibori!

I love the look of shibori – which is hardly surprising, since I love all things blue and white, and fabric. I finally overcame my skittishness about dye and tried this technique… now, I am 100% addicted! I’ve got lots … Continue reading

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Graphic Modern Fabric

Happy New Year!

I am feel super-stoked about work this year. I have my long-time work “family,” and we have added some strong new staff as well. We are moving to new offices, and I am part of building a new clinic, which is a bit daunting but mostly exciting. To help kick off the new year at work, I decided to make myself a cute laptop sleeve.

 

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

I was inspired by this pattern from Mandi at A Beautiful Mess. I made a few adaptations, like a velcro closure, a sewn-in name tag, and a rectangular flap.

To make your laptop sleeve, you’ll need

  • half yard of outer fabric – I used this graphic modern print
  • half yard of inner fabric – I used dark red faux suede for extra protection
  • quilt batting
  • velcro
  • scrap fabric for label and reinforcement
  • bias binding – mine matches the red on the inside

Start by cutting rectangles out of all three materials. For the width, the fabric should be 1 3/4 inches wider than your laptop on either side. For the length, wrap the fabric around your laptop and add about 6 inches for the flap. I’m lucky the print on my fabric worked out perfectly to line up… I mean I carefully planned and lined up the pattern on my fabric!

I made a label out of scrap muslin and put my name and contact information on it, in case I should ever be so unfortunate as to lose my laptop by fortunate enough to have someone host find it… I sewed this onto the lining fabric, as show below.

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

Next, I laid all three layers together and pinned them to keep them in place. I sewed quilting lines through all three fabrics for most of the sleeve, but I did want to sew across my name tag, so for the top section, I used some scrap fabric for backing and just sewed the outside fabric and batting to the scrap fabric, also shown below (folded over).

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

Next, I added the velcro. For the velcro on the body of the bag, I sewed all the way through, since the velcro is on the outside fabric, and I didn’t mind having stitching on the inside. However, for the velcro on the inside of the flap, I didn’t want the stitching to show on the outside, so I used more scrap fabric for backing, and I sewed the velcro to the inside fabric, batting, and scrap fabric, as shown below.

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

You can see the sleeve taking shape now! I finished one short end of the rectangle with bias binding (shown bel0w) and folded the entire piece to make the sleeve and trimmed some excess from the sides for a snug fit. I pinned the fabric in place to form the shape of the sleeve.

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

I sewed the sides together with a zig zag stitch and then added bias binding to the sides of the sleeve and top of the flap.DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home
 This was a pretty quick and easy project, and I love how it turned out. I think Steve is eyeing the laptop sleeve, and I offered to make one for him, but he does work from home most days and so he has turned me down so far…

Here are some pictures of the finished product!

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home
DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home
Looking forward to many adventures both at work and “at home” in 2016!

“Jewels”

DIY Pencil Tins: Desk Set

I recently picked up some beautiful wrapping paper at Lavish in Hayes Valley. This is the same store where I found the perfect red and white graphic paper for lining our nursery bookcase. The new paper I found is for my craft room. It’s called Hydrangeas by Kate & Birdie. This company has lots of very sweet original prints – my six year old bought himself a sheet of pirate ship paper while we were in the store. They started in Winnipeg, Canada, so even dearer to my Canadian ex-pat heart.

Kate and Birdie Hydrangeas paper

Hydrangeas (WP02) wrapping paper by Kate & Birdie. Click the picture to see their site.

The blue, green, and grey color scheme of this paper fits my craft studio perfectly! The blue is just the same as the great print on my newly upholstered Queen Anne chairs, and all the colors are found in the stenciled lampshade I made for that room.

I’m amazed what a long way this one sheet can go. For $4, I have enough paper to create several great accessories and accents for my room.  I started a clothespin wreath and moved on to these pencil tins – and I still have more projects planned!

I love reusing old items, though it’s always a fine line between clever frugality and looking like a preschool art project. I’ve definitely seen more “primitive” versions of these pencil tins, but I like to think that mine fit into the feminine, elegant, slightly funky studio I am creating.

Turn used cans into beautiful pencil tins for your office.  From Jewels at Home.

Turn used cans into beautiful pencil tins for your office.

This is a very simple and quick project that needs very little explanation. I started by using pliers to flatten any sharp edges along the inside of the can.  To cut the paper neatly, I used the quilting ruler and mat I showed in the fabric growth chart tutorial.

DIY pencil tin tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Flatten the sharp edged on your can. Cut out paper and glue with a glue stick.

I used a glue stick to affix the paper to the tin. For my kids’ tins, I also added a layer of clear contact paper to make the tins more durable.  Finally, I use tacky glue to attach bias ribbon to the top of the tin, for a polished look.  (I tried hot glue, but it cools very fast on the metal and gets lumpy.)

Beautiful pencil tins made from old cans, decorative paper, and bias tape. Tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Beautiful pencil tins made from old cans, decorative paper, and bias tape.

Craft room desk set: DIY pencil tins fit in with ceramics on a vintage tray.  From Jewels at Home.

Craft room desk set: DIY pencil tins fit in with ceramics on a vintage tray.

Craft room desk set: DIY pencil tins fit in with ceramics on a vintage tray.  From Jewels at Home.

DIY pencil tins.

While I was making these tins, I added some for the boys’ homework area.  These have a layer of clear contact paper over the scrapbook paper, since I know they will get more (ab)use.

Turn old cans into pencil tins with paper and bias ribbon.  From Jewels at Home.

Pencil tins for the boys’ homework area.

 

 

What else do I want to decorate with my beautiful Hydrangeas paper?  A pennant banner, some magnets, magazine files, and some storage boxes for the craft studio.  Hope to share those projects soon.  Meanwhile, go raid your recycling bin and make some new accessories for your own office!

“Jewels”

 

Fabric Banding on Bath Towels

Do you have some plain towels calling out for a bit of interest?  Adding some ribbon or a beautiful fabric – or both – to some towels is an easy way to transform them. The finished products make great accents for your home and would be great housewarming gifts! The sewing is all straight lines, so a forgiving and doable project. These plush towels were lovely already, but I felt like dressing them up a bit. I used a band of fabric and some bias tape.

Before you start this project, prewash the towels and fabric, so they won’t pucker later, if they shrink unevenly.

I started by cutting strips of each fabric to the width I wanted and joined pieces end to end to make a long strip.

Make long strips of the fabrics you want for the towels

Make long strips of the fabrics you want for the towels

Then, I joined the strips of different fabric to each other and ironed down a seam allowance on the top and bottom.

Sew together the different fabric strips

Sew together the different fabric strips

Finally, I cut sections a bit wider than each towel and pinned it onto the towels, folding a seam allowance on the ends before sewing the fabric to the towel.

Adding fabric border to towels by Jewels at Home

Pin the fabric in place, turning under the raw edges.

This was really an easy project, and I think it makes a big impact! I used a little bit of the green and white fabric to decorate a basket in the vanity, to tie the room together.

DIY fabric border towels by Jewels at Home

Finished towels with new fabric border in our master bathroom.

DIY fabric border towels by Jewels at Home

New fabric border on master bath towels.

A funny story along the way: ever wonder what the kids think of all these craft projects? Our six year-old saw the fabric pinned to the towels in my sewing room and asked, “But won’t the pins hurt?” It reminds me that all my great ideas might seem a little crazy to others.

Now that I’ve decorated these towels for our master bathroom, I’d love to try some more. I’ve seen some very pretty versions of this idea on tea towels or burp cloths, all of which would make great and special handmade gifts.

And with these towels, our master bathroom is pretty much done, do that room tour will be coming up soon!

“Jewels”

Decorative Pillows to Sew – Idea Book

Inspirations for Pillows

Happy Mother’s Day! (Well, for many years, I didn’t find this day happy at all, because it made me feel my mother’s absence even more, but with three little ones of my own, it is happy again, and I celebrate the many wonderful memories of my own mom, whose creativity and talent are constant inspiration for me. So, if this is a hard day for you, hugs! And I hope it will get better.)

I’m making some throw or accent pillows for our home. Sewing straight lines is a doable project for me, and I like to make pillows using some of the same fabrics that are in other parts of a room (such as the upholstered chairs in our dining room and my craft room), to tie the space together.

With a beautiful fabric, a very simple pillow design will work well. There are also many ways to add interest and details to your pillows, and I’ve been collecting some of those ideas to try:

Embellish with Ribbon:

Ribbon motif pillows

By Caitlin Wilson Textiles. Click the picture for details.

grosgrain ribbon pillow

I like this pattern shown at Better Homes and Gardens. They used fusible web to attach the ribbon. Click the picture for more pillow ideas on their website.

These ribbon details on simple pillows gives a classic and elegant feel. You could also do a simple square.

Use Contrasting Fabric on Back:

reversible throw pillows

I love the look of a different color on the front and back. This picture is from Grosgrain, where Kathleen has some tips on making a quick pillow cover.

Embellish with Buttons:

button pillow

Add a letter or other pattern with buttons. This is a beautiful example by Peggy at Letter Perfect Designs on Etsy. (And I’m not just saying that, because it’s a “J”!) Click the picture to see more beautiful button art!

3-D Felt Embellishments:

butterfly pillow

These three dimensional felt butterflies are so sweet! Click the picture to see the tutorial from Better Homes and Gardens.

Piping/ Welting:

pillow with piping

This pillow is made by Weego Home. Click on the picture to see their stunning collection.

A stunning print like this would be beautiful on its own, but I love the piping detail. Here’s a tutorial on eHow for applying store-bought welting or piping. I’d love to learn how to do that!

Silhouette:

silhouette pillow

This incredible pillow by Weego Home is cut velvet appliqued on linen. I think you could get a similar look with painting on fabric, though obviously, it won’t have the rich feel of this original. Click to see their collection.

Pieced Pillow:

pieced pillow

I like the use of panels made from two fabrics, especially the way it is asymmetrical. This pillow is from Anthropologie, though it is no longer sold.

These are some of my favorite ideas – what are some of yours?

Hope to post my new pillows soon!

P.S. Don’t forget that there’s a May Giveaway. Comment on any post by May 15, and I’ll select a winner to receive a custom wall initial.

“Jewels”