Mask Making

A couple of caveats:

  • This post is only for those that find wearing masks to be useful and isn’t intended to debate the merits or efficacy of masks.
  • These instructions are based on my personal trial and error and the design modifications are intended to work for me and my Hubby. They are based on the original design found here.
  • I take no responsibility for any efficacy or lack thereof of this design.

I had needed to make a couple of masks for Hubby a couple of weeks ago and did some digging around on the internet to find a pattern that I thought would work well. There are so many different ones floating around out there it is hard to weed through them all to find one that works best.

After making a couple of these for him, I decided that I needed to have one or two for myself as well as make a couple more for him so I wasn’t scrambling to get his washed and dried when he needed to run an errand.

One of the things that I liked about this pattern is that the design creates a “pocket” in the front that you can put some type of filter in to give you added protection. I’ve seen a variety of things suggested for this purpose including a folded paper towel or even a coffee filter. If you are interested in using this, I recommend doing your own research as to what it is the best practice to use for that. The same recommendation goes for fabric choices.

I just used scrap fabric that I already had on hand, which this project was ideal for using up some of those scraps. All are basic cottons often used in quilting. If you feel that the fabric you have or want to use is too thin, you can very easily just add another layer of the “Face” piece if needed.

Face Mask Project - Lining Layout
Face Mask Project – Lining Layout

You really only need the 3 pattern pieces if you layout your fabric in two layers, alternating right and wrong sides. You can use the same fabric for the front and inside or different ones. For these, I used different ones, but I’ve done some for Hubby in the same fabric.

Face Mask Project - Outside Layout
Face Mask Project – Outside Layout

Using Hubby’s original finished masks as a base, I had to cut this down a bit because it ended up covering my ears instead of resting on the side of my face in front of my ears. I cut off about a inch and a half from the ends of the original “Face” and “Cheek” pieces and slightly changed the top angle so that it narrowed to about the same width as the original.

I sewed the seams at what I consider “foot width” in that you line up the edge of your fabric with the point of the sewing foot. That works out to be about a 1/4″ seam. At this point, I’m following all the instructions on the original design up to the point where you are attaching the face piece to the mouth and cheek pieces. This is where I made a more drastic modification.

When I made the original ones for Hubby, we discovered has “floppy” ears that just folded over when he tried to get any elastic over them in the back like the original design calls for (and many other options and designs are similar) making it impossible for the mask to stay on. To fix the issue, I made 2 straps of elastic that ran across the back of the head and neck instead of the loops that go over the ears. To get it to fit him, the top piece was 10 1/4 inches and the bottom was 8. Putting together mine, I ended up with about a 1/4 of a inch more for both since the sides of my mask were shorter.

Face Mask Project - Attaching Elastic
Face Mask Project – Attaching Elastic

Unless you are really experienced in sewing, this may be the difficult or confusing place as the right sides of all pieces have to be pinned together in the correct order or your pocket doesn’t work the way it is supposed to. Once it is turned right side out, you want the central mouth piece to be the top layer on the inside (shown below when finished), but you need to pin the elastic in place first. You can either rely on pins, or you can run a seam along the elastic to hold it in place (as seen above).

Face Mask Project - Inside Pocket: Finished
Face Mask Project – Inside Pocket: Finished

I just pinned the outer edges of the face and cheek pieces with the elastic in between first, then gently folded them back so I could put the mouth piece in place, pinning the center seams before going and pinning the overlap (and I JUST realized that the below image is incorrect as this is the one I goofed on. That mouth piece should be pinned underneath the cheek pieces. See, I said it could get confusing!)

Face Mask Project - Pinning Front To Back With Elastic
Face Mask Project – Pinning Front To Back With Elastic

This part was a bit of a pain to get right because those elastic lengths are shorter than the face piece, so it wants to bunch up the fabric when you go to pin the pieces together. I had to be careful to make sure the pieces laid smoothly so I could pin the front seams together and then line up the sides in an overlap to create the pocket. You have to be careful as you sew to ensure that there is no bunching at the point you are sewing. There was a lot of shifting where it was trying to bunch so I could work in a smooth area.

Face Mask Project - Double Seam Elastic
Face Mask Project – Double Seam Elastic

Once I sewed the entire piece together, I went back and added a secondary line on each end to ensure the elastic was double secure since this is where the most stress is going to be put on the mask as it is worn. I then clipped any corners that were too large and would bulk up when turning.

The last thing is turning this right side out, which that lovely pocket makes incredibly easy as you have nothing to close up after you turn it. If you have any corners that didn’t fully turn, you can the eraser end of a pencil (anything narrow and not sharp) to push the corners the rest of the way out. You might need to finesse your seams a bit to get it to lay correctly, or if you prefer, iron it so the seams are crisp.

Face Mask Project - Finished
Face Mask Project – Finished

These aren’t completely perfect as I wasn’t going for any seamstress awards (even had to pull out at least one seam and redo it), but they are functional. As I said earlier, it is a great project to use up some scraps if you are already a sewer. If not, you can reuse old tea towels or articles of old clothing that would end up in the trash because of stains or holes in odd places if the fabric is the right type.

Face Mask Project - Final Result (My Masks))
Face Mask Project – Final Result (My Masks)

*I apologize for the crummy photos. I took them with my phone in less than ideal lighting down in my studio. Hopefully it is enough along with the original design and instructions for you to do your own if you are interested.

Laundry Room Project

We have been in this house for a little over 15 years now. I have spent the entirety of those 15 years irritated as hell at myself that I didn’t demand a better design in the laundry room. It is plenty big, just a little poorly laid out so that there is a ton of wasted space.

Hubby and I discussed having someone come in and do some work, including building a pantry cabinet and adding a couple of other shelves. We even started looking at people to do the job. Then we realized that getting our back door and framing around said door replaced couldn’t be put off another year or we would potentially have it fall out of the house because all the wood around it is rotting out. Have I mentioned that our builder did a shit job (I’ve lost count of the major issues we’ve had in this house)?

I did some math (yes, it actually hurt to do the math part) and some planning and decided I could hold off on a bigger project for a while if I could just get the shelves in because attempting to keep everything on the tiny little counter or the floor just wasn’t working. Those issue get made worse every time laundry is done since both BG and I hang up a huge portion of our tops and other things rather than dry them in the drier.

So I really had two different issues to solve. The first was shelving to get some of the stuff off the counter and floor. The second was figuring out a way to expand the room for hanging clothes up.

Laundry Room Project - Before Clothes Drying area
Laundry Room Project – Before Clothes Drying area

Again, this space is decent, but it isn’t well used at all. I did some research and found an expandable drying rack that you could mount to the wall. Once I got it ordered, I discovered it has the same problem as most wall mount products. It does not take into account that the wall studs you need to mount it to aren’t in the location you need. To fix the issue, I got a large 10 inch wide board that I cut to length, painted and attached to said studs. I was then able to mount the rack to the board without any worry that this is going to get ripped off the wall the second a couple of shirts gets hung on it.

Laundry Room Project - After Clothes Drying area
Laundry Room Project – After Clothes Drying area

The fact that this is expandable means that I can keep it against the wall when I don’t need it or if I have something long that needs to be hung up.

Laundry Room Project - After Clothes Drying area
Laundry Room Project – After Clothes Drying area

Expanded, this gives me probably close to twice the space, if not more, than what I had before. It also means that there aren’t shirts hanging off of every available surface on laundry days, including laundry baskets and over the small step ladder I have in there. That leaves barely an inch of space to get to the washer.

Laundry Room Project - Before Sink Area
Laundry Room Project – Before Sink Area

Ignore the mess, that is part of the problem, as you can see. This is the second part of the project. I wanted a small, shallow shelf directly above the sink for all the smaller things I use most in that area. Detergents, stain removers, a couple of cleaners and a few other small bottle type things. I also wanted a much deeper shelf higher up that would span the entire space so that I could store some bigger things, often the back up items or bulk items I use to refill smaller bottles (like cleaners).

Laundry Room Project - After Sink Area With Shelves
Laundry Room Project – After Sink Area With Shelves

The smaller shelf is only about 8 inches deep and only goes across the space above the sink. It was fun attempting to get it to work with where the studs were, but I managed to pull it off. The higher shelf is a 12 inch deep shelf and needed additional support in the middle because it is much longer. I did use a support that can hold a bar if I decided I still need a bit more space for some shorter hanging things in the future (BG’s dance clothes would be perfect for that space).

Both of these were made with really inexpensive lumber that I just painted with my trim color so it would blend with what I already have in there. I probably need to caulk up a few places (where the screws are and a couple of bigger gaps in board seams), but for the most part this is completely done. I am going to add a no slip liner to the smaller shelf to help protect it. I was also able to get it all done in a day, painting, cutting and mounting all boards. I do still really want a cabinet in there, but this is already a hundred times better than the mess I had before.

As with pretty much every single project I work on, I now feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. It also means that I didn’t get to read because it did take all day. At least the temps dropped a bit so it wasn’t crazy miserable in the garage while I was working.

The next project is going to be that back door, but that is way outside my DIY ability and I have some great guys scheduled to work on that in August.

Repost: Giant Nutcrackers How To

I figured now would be a perfect time to repost this in case anyone is feeling ambitious this season!

Oodles of hours, multiple trips to both the hardware store and the craft store later and my life size giant nutcrackers are done! Continue reading “Repost: Giant Nutcrackers How To”