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3D Face Mask/Covering with nose wire and filter pocket.

Before I start I want to check in on you guys. I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. You don’t need me to tell you that times are difficult in many ways right now, and I hope that sewing is allowing you a few essential moments of peace and calm.

It’s important to say that I am no expert on face masks/coverings. What I am talking about here is a handmade face mask/covering and how I have adapted a great free pattern/tutorial  (linked below) in a way that I feel a little more protected when I wear it. This is by no means a medical grade mask, but a face covering to offer you some protection when you are out and about in low risk areas, whilst still maintaining social distancing rules and washing your hands. I would encourage you to do your own research to decide if this is the type of mask that suits your needs.

Like many of us, I had (half-heartedly) tried a couple of mask patterns over the last few weeks, and not been terribly impressed with the results for many reasons. A couple of weeks ago I saw that Marie aka @stitchodyssey  had posted a picture of a 3d face mask saying how great it was compared to others that she had tried. As tighter rules have come into effect now regarding the wearing of face masks/coverings, this was the perfect opportunity to give the pattern a go.

The free mask ‘pattern’ is from a lady called Romilda Dias ( @romildadps  on Instagram). I say ‘pattern’ – there is not actually pattern pieces that you download or print out, you cut the template yourself – don’t worry though it’s really straightforward. She has a YouTube channel  where she shows a tutorial on how to make it. Although visually easy to follow, it is spoken in Portuguese, and Marie has kindly shared a video on her Instagram TV here  where she takes you through the template cutting and sewing process. (This blog post is NOT a tutorial on how to sew the mask, just how I amended it to my personal taste). It might be worth you heading over to watch the tutorial before you jump into my amendments so that you have a better understanding of what I am talking about.

The finished result of the original mask even without any changes is really good in my opinion. This clever design, gives you separate nose and chin coverage and the fit feels really good right from the get go. The mouth section is comfortably ‘roomy’, making it feel easier to breathe, and not so tight around the mouth like others I have tried.

After making a couple of samples, I felt that I wanted to make two tiny changes. I wanted to add a nose wire to give an even closer fit over the nose, and I also wanted to make the mask lining piece with an opening so that I could add a disposable filter, in addition to the two layers of fabric.

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Such a nice fit around the top, sides and underneath of the mask.

Adding the nose wire was not rocket science! I had picked up some aluminium wire mask strips from eBay. They were reasonably priced and have smooth rounded tips for comfort. Because the aluminium won’t rust I don’t need to remove it each time I wash the mask so I simply measured the centre point of the folded nose piece, the centre point of the aluminium strip and went right ahead and sewed around it. Simple.

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Sorry that the stitching is so difficult to see x

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As mentioned I also wanted to make an opening in the lining to allow me to use a disposable filter. This means drawing up another template with a rectangle measuring 22cm x 12cm ( 1cm deeper than the original 22cm x 11cm). Fold and cut the corners exactly as you did with your original piece.

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To make one mask with a filter opening you will need to use three fabric pieces using the original template and one fabric piece using the larger template (rather than 4 of the original template).

After cutting out your fabric, measure the halfway point down each side, draw a cutting line and cut the piece into two along this line.

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Place right sides together and pin along that straight edge. What you are going to do is sew from each edge in towards the centre using a 0.5cm seam allowance just for a few centimetres and then stop, leaving a gap in the centre unstitched. I hope you can see below I have pinned along the straight edge and placed double pins where I wanted my stitching to stop. I chose to stitch 7cm from each edge, giving me an 8cm unstitched opening in the middle, but you can choose how big you would like your filter opening to be and make it bigger or smaller as necessary.

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Press the seam open, which will reveal the gap in the centre of the seam, and topstitch along both sides of that seam (including along the open edges).

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You should now be left with a piece that is the same size as the other 3 regular pieces that you have cut, and these 4 pieces (along with 2 small rectangles that you have cut for the elastic casings) will now fit together to make your mask.

For the filter fabric I purchased some filter material from Sewing Sanctuary  As said before, I am no expert on this, and would strongly encourage you to do your own research on mask filters. Do share in the comments if you have found other good filter fabrics and where they are from please!

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Not forgetting that there is the flap underneath the chin too. I probably should have raised my head a little higher here, trust me – it’s a nice fit!

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The mask fabric that I have used is a super pretty pink floral cotton poplin from Sew Jessalli  It’s the leftovers from a new dress that I have just finished and will no doubt blog about next week x

The dress that you can get a glimpse of here is the Nina Lee Mayfair Dress  using viscose jersey from The Sewing Cafe.

Dark grey and glitter acrylic scissors necklace available from my shop.

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I used 3mm soft white elastic cord to make the ear straps.

Oh, and the ‘with love from a sewcial distance’ labels are from Modista Sewing. They’re a pretty cute finishing touch right?

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As always take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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The Ashton Top from Helen’s Closet.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best. The Ashton Top  from Helen’s Closet Patterns is a perfect example of that.

It’s a sleeveless boxy A-line top available in a cropped or hip length. It’s also worth noting that this pattern is available in an incredible size range – 0-30, with cup size choices too.

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There is however a lot more to this pattern than meets the eye.

Attention to detail ( as usual from Helen’s Closet patterns) is key, and the usual incredibly thorough sewing instructions, illustrations and tips make the process of sewing this top was a real pleasure.

I love that you are given the choice of how to finish the neckline and arms – bias or facing. I opted for the facing as I feel that this always ‘sits’ better than the bias finish. I also love the ‘burrito’ method of attaching the facing too, this is always great fun and feels like a magic trick when you pull it through after sewing doesn’t it!

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The arm opening is quite low cut,  and I did find that my bra strap showed underneath my arm before adjusting it. I also (unsuccessfully) tried to pattern fit it before cutting out  to check the bodice length and dart position, and thought that I needed to lower the bust darts by 2cm. As you can see, I didn’t need this after all, but never mind I can live with this and will alter the pattern back to it’s original dart position for next time.

In my opinion the neckline is just right. Not too high, not too low.

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Although a small detail, I also LOVE that it has a hem facing. Because this was a bit of a ‘try out’ version, I didn’t use the hem facing this time as I hadn’t decided for sure on how long I would want it to be, but now that I have the length sussed, I will look forward to adding this wonderful little touch on my next Ashton.

Whilst we are talking about length, I shortened the pattern piece by 4cm before cutting out, and in the end I used a 3cm hem. I’m 5’2″.

I also cut a size 10 – my measurements are 36 -30 -40. These measurements actually put me in the size 12 range, but upon checking the finished garment measurement chart I decided to size down by one size.

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My fabric choice is this pretty cotton print that I have had in my cupboard for years. It’s good to finally use something that you have had for a long time. I think it would be fun to try it out in a more drapey fabric too. For these pictures I have paired it with a pair of teracotta linen Safiya Trousers  from the latest book by Tilly Walnes ( Tilly and the Buttons) ‘Make It Simple’.

You know you have a good pattern when you are already planning your next one almost before you have finished the first!

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

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A quick and easy elasticated skirt

I’m keeping it simple this week.

After a few busy weeks, I decided that I wanted to make a really easy, quick project that didn’t require much concentration. A bit of a palate cleanser.

Turns out this was great timing too, as I chose this as the simpler of the two projects that I wanted to make during the recent #sewingweekender and this one was the only one that I finished that weekend, as I was crazy busy!

Who doesn’t love the comfort of an elasticated skirt, right? Especially when you can show off the vibrant print of a pretty fabric.

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Gold mirror acrylic scissors necklace from my shop.

Talking of the Sewing Weekender, this skirt has been in my mind for a year. At last year’s Sewing Weekender in Cambridge, one of the guest speakers was Juliet Uzor. In case you don’t know, she was the winner of the 2019 Great British Sewing Bee, and as you can imagine we were all crazy excited for her presentation.

Her talk was fun, happy and really enjoyable, (she’s absolutely lovely by the way), and all the time I could not stop admiring her skirt. She was wearing a knee length wax print skirt, I think it was pleated though (not gathered like this one), and it was just beautiful.

Fast forward a year and I thought I would use this cheap, but colourful wax print that I had in my stash to make something similar, and guess what my friends, the gorgeous Juliet just so happens to have a youTube video with a cheeky little tutorial on how to make a skirt with exposed elastic! This is the video that has helped me attach the elastic like this and you can check it out here.

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This fantastic rainbow elastic is again something from my stash. I think it might have been an eBay purchase at some point. I have found it quite tricky to find really wide colourful elastic like this, do you have any suggestions of some good wide elastic retailers? I’d really like some wide striped for more skirts like this.

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The fabric, although pretty is very low quality. I was really disappointed with it. There is definitely some polyester in this, but it’s ok for something like this. I guess you get what you pay for .. However the softness of this particular fabric allowed me to make a softly gathered skirt like this and I shall enjoy using a much better quality wax print fabric to make a more structured pleated skirt another time.

Don’t forget to pop in some simple inseam pockets using any pocket template from an existing pattern or drafting your own. You can skip this of course if you are a beginner and want a more simple version.

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I was undecided about what length I wanted, so opted to cut a midi length, and I can always shorten it. I kind of like this length though, so will leave it like this for now.

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Hope that you are all keeping safe and well, and finding time for a little sewing here and there.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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