My First Applique Quilt

Way back in 2017 my guild did an applique BOM… I started it with everyone, but got a little behind. And I admit, I was so NOT excited about this one. I was like, seriously??? But I learned a new skill and I’m glad I played along. Even if it took me three years to finish and another one to blog about it!

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The quilt was designed by our guild friend Jonna, aka @bespokeoutlaw, and it was inspired by her Great Uncle Russel Day. He was an artist, designer, jeweler and professor. His work is really fantastic! Check out this video for more information.

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The first blocks we were tasked with were quarter ‘opals’. And if you follow along with me, I love a quarter circle. My first thought was why would you applique one when you can sew just as easily. Or in my mind, flat out easier! I was trying to do the needle turn applique, but as you can see from the pictures above, I used my fingers for more of the turning than I used the needle! ha! I did get better at it, trust me!

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Each month we made a different shape until we had a whole pile of them. Enough to make a quilt! Imagine that!

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I think my favorite block may have been the bias tape applique blocks! I love these! And if you saw my IG post today, you know I have them on my mind again!

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I liked to use the shapes of the applique pieces to inspire the quilting.

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Jonna gave us a suggested layout, but I didn’t really stick with it. Instead of using sashing I added a wider border. I also added a few stripes in the border. These were not appliques, but traditionally pieced.

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This little orange piece most reminds me of the inspiration art. And it was tricky for a newbie, but with her instructions, I made it through!

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The back isn’t too interesting on this one. It does show the quilting nicely, though!

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And the label… You’ll see I started it in 2017 with the guild. And honestly, I think I finished the blocks in 2017, as well. But I didn’t piece the quilt top until 2020. No excuses… And then I didn’t find the right place to photograph it until last fall… slow mo!

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The quilt holder behind the quilt! And those corners on the back were only added to help hold the quilt. I should have taken them off for the back pictures, but I didn’t…

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And here’s the whole mural! I should go back and get the artist’s name. It’s quite a beautiful work of art to be on the back of a building!

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A huge thanks to Jonna for getting me to try something new and teaching me (and the whole guild and possibly you too) how to do applique. It took the scary out! And I’m currently working on another applique quilt. Need to get back to that!

A Puppy Tray- AKA Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea

Here’s another pretty quick Christmas gift idea that you don’t have to worry about shipping times! A foundation paper pieced tray!

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I like big noses and I can not lie! Apparently, between this project and the last, I seem to have a thing for animals with big noses! ha!

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The project was inspired by a fabric tray project in Love Quilting Magazine (Issue 65) by Susie Bellingham. She had two cute paper piecing patterns to go with it. I love them and want to make them for someone soon! But…. I made this last year for one of the kiddo’s teachers who loves dogs. The kiddo picked the pattern and the fabrics. And the pattern had to be a dog, not a bunny or mouse.

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Have you ever checked out Artisania patterns? They are so cute! I made her little fox years ago on a skirt for my niece. The kiddo loved the dog with the big nose! She also has a cute owl!

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The project is super easy. Basically, you place the top fabric (it can be foudnation paper pieced, traditionally pieced or not pieced at all) right sides together with the back fabric and a piece of batting on top. Sew it together leaving a hole to turn it right side out. Top stitch the edges. Then sew the corners. And you have a tray!

I did add a little extra step. I also quilted a rectangle the size I wanted the tray to be. Then folded up the corners at that line. Does that make sense? It helped the sides of the tray be a little more straight.

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And there you have it! A fabric tray! Perfect for gifting. Or keeping for yourself! 🙂

The Evolution of The Superhero Teacher Gifts!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I have a standard theme to the gifts I give my kids teachers.

I made this fabric YEARS ago! And after these gifts for Christmas, I have run out of fabric. I started this when my kiddo was in pre-school. He’s in 7th grade now. I made the design and had it printed via Spoonflower.

For 6 years I made tote bags, with the superhero label as a pocket. Then in 4th grade the kiddo had a male teacher and I thought he might want something different! And maybe I was just ready to make something different! I made a one hour basket for that teacher. Then I made some more totes. And last year I switched to quilted pouches.

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And to keep things exciting, this year I made Scrappy Make-up Pouches from the Noodlehead tutorial. (Don’t tell his male teachers they are make-up pouches!)

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The backs are just solid pieces of fabric. No quilting this year. They could be, but I didn’t.

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I lined them in fun fabrics and added a label. For both the outside and inside, I tried to use large scraps from my stash. And of course, I had plenty to choose from!

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Now, here’s where I have a problem! You’d think I would have figured this out by now. I never have the right size zipper, but I have a bunch of zippers that I can use. So, I always cut mine. But, I cut them at the end and then I end up with too much bulk at the corners and can’t pull it out and make a nice corner. Something I need to work on! Suggestions?

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Despite my issue with zipper ends, I think they turned out cute!

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I also used to make these as end of year gifts, not Christmas gifts. The last two years I started making them as Christmas gifts. I think I want to make something different for holiday gifts and keep these as summer gifts. I don’t know why! ha! What do you think? Do you think these feel more like holiday gifts or summer gifts? Do you make teacher gifts for the holidays? What is your favorite holiday teacher gift to make?

More Pillowcases!

Like I mentioned in my last post, I love making pillowcases as Christmas presents… And since Christmas is coming up soon, I thought I’d share some I made last year.

I can’t post the pictures of gifts before Christmas then I forget to post them after, so here they are!

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I just love this mix of fabrics! All Cotton and Steel. I even got to throw in some of my most favorite ‘sprinkles’!

I made these using the Burrito Method using The Seasoned Homemaker‘s tutorial. This is the same way I made the Harry Potter pillowcases a while back.

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As I mentioned in that post, the burrito pillowcase tutorials don’t make their pillowcases using directional prints. Yet, once again, I chose a directional print. The burrito method uses one long piece of fabric for the edge of the pillow, one long piece for the trim and another piece for the main pillowcase. To use a directional print, you have to piece two pieces together to make the main fabric piece.

The tutorial I used uses a 27″ by 40″ piece for the main fabric. For directional fabric you need to cut (2) 27″ by 20 3/4″ pieces. Then sew these together using a French seam tutorial. I made mine with a 1/4 inch seam and then a 1/2″ seam. Then I have a 40″ long piece of fabric for the main fabric.

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You can see that I now have penguins with their heads up on both sides of the pillow!

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And they blend great with the kiddo’s sheets! These are a great way to use up large pieces of your stash. I found some fabric last night in my stash that I bought for pillowcases ages ago. This Christmas, it’s being used and removed from my stash!

What’s your favorite pillow case tutorial?

Loons Here and There

This doesn’t happen often! A quilt that I started this year, finished this year, photographed this year and am blogging about this year!

This one I’m calling, Loons Here and There. If you are a fan of Maria Shell, you may recognize it as a play on one of her quilts.

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I took Maria’s class, Improv Triangles: Perfectly Pointless, at Quiltcon From Home in February. I love a good improv triangle quilt and found the class very inspiring! I also have a bad habit of starting quilts at QuiltCon and never finishing them. (But thanks to the WIPs Be Gone Challenge, I’m going to change that soon!) But this class inspired me to get out of bed despite my broken leg and sew for a little while each day! I fell in love with Maria’s Break Up quilt and wanted to give it a go!

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She recommended pulling 8 to 12 fabrics for the fabric pull. I pulled 17, plus I added in brown later. I didn’t think much about the pallet, actually. I pulled a bunch of leftover fabric. Fabric that I had about a fat quarter’s worth of or so. Then got to cutting the squares.

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Once I had the squares, I cut them in stacks into triangles and then sewed them back together. The rule I made was that the sides of the triangles couldn’t be the same color. In keeping with improv, I only used the ruler to eyeball the size of my blocks. I did use it to get a straight cut on the triangles, but not to measure anything. Once I sewed all the pieces back together, I do trim the blocks, but just to give me straight edges, not a particular size. And I repeat this every time I sew blocks together.

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Then I just laid them out and played with contrast to place the blocks.

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I would sew them into smaller blocks and then added a few straight pieces as needed to get all the blocks to fit together. I love the quilting pattern I used. Again, using improv a bit. I laid out the diagonals first using a guide, but then went back in between adding the diamonds ‘freehand’ with the walking foot! I did have a little problem with the quilting and the fabric not staying put. I spray baste and I think it was a combo between the actual brand I was using and also with the the fact I sprayed and then it sat without being quilted. Anyway, once it washes, I think it will be just fine for a potential baby quilt for a friend.

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I did piece this back. I love how the orange block is reflected in the rock formation behind the quilt! You may also recognize this backing fabric from a few other quilts… The Spark and Tic Tac TIgerlily and Scatterlilies. I still have more so you may see it again!

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And my label shot. This also gives a nice view of the quilting pattern.

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And the cutest quilt holder…

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And that’s a wrap for this one! In case you’re wondering where this awesome ‘quilts in the wild’ photoshoot took place, I’ll tell ya! It was at Steamboat Rock State park in Eastern Washington. One of my most favorite places in WA!!! If you haven’t been, you should go!

The Spark- A Mini Quilt

If you follow me on IG, you know I have a to do list this year to get my WIP completed and my sewing area purged. I also have a list of exceptions and one of those exceptions is to participate in the Quilt Improv Studio’s quilt challenges!

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This challenge is Monochrome Dreams!

“Monochrome dreams” is our new improv patchwork game, aimed to let you play with one hue in many shades.

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Originally, I had a plan for a pink quilt. I’m on a bit of a pink kick right now. Not that you’d know if from what I’m sewing, but you would if you saw what I’m buying! 🙂

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Then, I was sorting through scraps I had pulled for an ongoing scrap project I’m working on, I found all these orange scraps that were already pieced…. I couldn’t resist! They are the leftovers from the Improv Flower Pillow I made a while back.

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I didn’t have quite enough to hit the 24″x24″ size requirement, so I also pulled more orange scraps to get me to the right size. I also cut way more squares than I needed for another quilt I just finished and will tell you about soon. So I pulled those orange squares and started cutting into them too, making flying loons.

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I was going to cut out the yellow (or the very, very light orange hehehe) pieces, but in the end I decided to keep them in. They are what give the quilt it’s name. The Spark!

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I usually am not very creative with my quilting thread. This year I participated in the monthly Aurifil 2021 Color Builder program. Mostly to get the awesome wildlife paper piece patterns by Cassandra Beaver. But the ones I just recieved happened to be orange, so I used them!

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Some detail shots….

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The back was almost just one piece of fabric. Which isn’t really my style, but for the smaller ones, I don’t piece as much. This one I cut the back wrong, so I had to add the orange anyway. And you know me, I always like to throw in a picture of the label!

I know there are a bunch of pictures, but I also wanted to share a few behind the scenes…

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My kiddo did the quilt holding. We did 4 photo shoots. Two just didn’t turn out quite right. Then we found these fields! The pup looked happy to stop and smell the fresh air!

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And that’s my Spark for the Monochrome Dreams Challenge! Are you participating? What color would you use?

A Graduation Gift Set for a Drummer

I may have mentioned this, but I’m really bad about giving graduation gifts on time. It takes me a while to figure out just the right thing!

My cousin’s son graduated high school during the pandemic and started college at Troy University playing drums. I’m just a year late on this one!

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I had the bright idea to make him a drum stick bag. My original idea was much more simple than I ended up making! I mentioned it and was introduced to the world of drum stick bags on Amazon. No drawstring bags here… But I was up for the challenge. Pockets and straps and handles, oh my!

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I also took a while to figure out how I wanted to make it special. Then the idea of cork came to mind. I ended up ordering some black and grey cork from Sew Sweetness and it’s just perfect. The school colors are black, grey and burgundy, so I stitched the outline in burgundy thread.

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The biggest detail on the outside is the T. I love how it turned out. But I also added handles and a key fob and a little cork detail to finish off the double zipper.

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The inside has 4 pockets and a long adjustable strap. The strap can hook onto the side of a drum and hang there for easy access to the drum sticks.

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I also made a bucket. For the drum stick bag, I just made up the pattern as I went. But for the bucket, I used the free Faithwell Storage Bin pattern by Sew Sweetness. I’ve used this pattern before with my cross stitch koala and love it. I have never included the handle, though.

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The storage bin actually came out of a mistake I made on the drum stick bag. I originally sewed in the T in the wrong orientation. So then I was was like what do I do with this extra Troy T? I make a bucket! Perfect!

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I followed the directions, but changed it up some with the cork. The directions call to use fusible foam and fuse it to the exterior fabric. I was hesitant to add to the cork, so I flipped it and added the fusible foam to the lining. I was also concerned about the seams in the cork, but they turned out great!

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I also made a key chain with the scraps from the cork pieces. I used my own tutorial for that!

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Then I filled it with fun goodies. Seattle Chocolates, a WA state flag, a Troy pin, some Legos, and a stress ball thingy! I was super excited about how it turned out. and I’m pretty sure the kiddo liked it as well.

Do you have a favorite Graduation Gift you like to make?

Holiday Swaps with the Cotton Candy Pouches

Last December I participated in two swaps. Was was meant to be a handmade item the other wasn’t!

The first swap was with the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild. This one was a secret swap, but our partners gave us colors and ideas of what they would like to get. One of the items on my partners list was a pouch.

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I choose to make the Cotton Candy Pouch from Minikins, Season 1 by Sew Sweetness. It is a really simple pouch with a fun shape. I love the Sew Sweetness patterns because most of them also have a video included. Unfortunately, you can’t buy just this one pattern by itself, you have ot buy the whole Season 1 set. But FORTUNATELY, the whole set is full of great patterns!

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The colors. I don’t think I would have chosen them for myself, not because I don’t like them, just because I usually go to brighter colors. She said she liked navy and cream, grey and touch of green. So I pulled out my navy fabrics. One of them had a green in it, which was perfect. I also knew that the beige freckles fabric from Cotton and Steel had navy freckles. I love this!

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I started by making a ring of flying geese and realized they were way to big for the pouch. So guess what… I’m making myself a bag with the same color scheme! I really love it!

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For the back, I went with a solid panel rather a pieced panel in one of the fabrics I used on the front.

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On the inside, I also used another fabric from the front and added one of my little labels!

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From my secret swap partner, I also got a pouch! Yes, I got mine early and mailed mine late. On time, but later than I received mine so I got this fun shot of the two of them! Mine is made using Marcia Derse fabrics. Very cute!

And then my office had a Christmas Swap. It was also a secret, but no suggestions were given to the giver. My partner is a very creative designer sort, so I debated what to get her. I almost got her a craft kit. Then realized I couldn’t get what I wanted to get her in time for the party, so I decided that she would appreciate something handmade.

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So out came the Cotton Candy Pouch pattern again!

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For this one, I used one of the Mini Series patterns by Giucy Giuce. For this one I used the Courthouse Steps Pattern. She likes to wear earthy tones, so I went orange, yellow and a brownish orange yellow with a mix of creamy background fabrics.

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For the inside I used a golden stripe fabric and added my little label again!

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This pattern is an easy pattern to have as a quick go to pattern! I love how both of these turned out! what is your favorite go to pouch pattern?

Seahorse Pillow- a cross stitch project

I hate that summer is coming to an end and I feel like I haven’t done much… My husband keeps reminding me about the pandemic… But today we just found out that the kiddo got two extra days before school starts!

With that, I have a series of beachy pillows I want to share to make me feel like I’m at the beach instead of ‘Staying Home and Staying Safe!’

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I’m really in love with how this cross stitch pillow turned out! My niece is in love with seahorses. You might even remember the seahorse stuffie I made her from her very own design…  Well, when I got the Summer 2017 issue of Crossstitcher Magazine and there was a seahorse alphabet in there, I knew I had to make it for her!

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I have to say I loved working on this on my trip to the beach last year, but I was sad I wasn’t able to put it lall together before I left the beach. Ha. but sometimes swimming in the Gulf is more important that sewing… sometimes… Ha!

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Typically when I pick cross stitch projects, I’m not a fan of the outlining.  I almost left this one without the outlines, but I’m so glad I switched gears and actually followed the directions! I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been as cool. I really love this alphabet.

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Although, I’m just posting this, it is an older project. One I made before my obsession with invisible zippers.

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And how about that seahorse and octopus fabric??? A perfect match. I’ve been hoarding this fabric and it was perfect for this project!

We Made Masks

Honestly, I didn’t want to, but we did.

Here’s my quick soap box… I don’t feel like in a country like ours there should be a shortage of any health care PPE. Not in this day and age. Hospitals should not have to worry about getting PPE to protect our healthcare workers. We live in a land of plenty. A land of mass wealth, but we can’t supply our own people with protective gear to us safe from disease. Most of us in the US are very lucky and blessed to be in the situation we are on a typical day in the United States of America. But today we aren’t. States are not getting the supplies they need as a UNITED country. We are being led by a group of people that don’t believe in science and don’t see the need for PPE or clean air, etc. This is why I didn’t want to make masks. It makes me angry.

But here’s the flip side to why I didn’t wallow in my anger and protest the making of masks.

And yes, I’m stubborn and have been known to protest things!  Some funny things, some very personal and political things. Here’s a funny story. Back in the day there was a local drug store in New Orleans that was bought out by another store that didn’t sell Coca Cola products, only Pepsi products. I never went to that store again while I lived in New Orleans. Ha!

Ok, back to why I did make the masks.

Two reasons.

The first is that I’m lucky enough to still have a job, to be home and safe with my kiddo, husband and dog, and I have a stash of fabric and elastic. And the biggest thing is I have the skill and machines to make masks. Not everyone has these things. And I know that and I can’t take that for granted during these times.

The second reason comes from my job. I spend a lot of time in hospitals as an architect. I design rooms around codes that deal with the safety of workers and patients. Where does the PPE go, where do they put on the PPE, where are the hand wash sinks in relation to all the movements of the healthcare workers. And where are the trash cans for all the PPE to go. I see all the one time use, non recyclable products that we use in this country for PPE to protect ourselves. And it’s really depressing to me to see all these one time use products. Not that my masks are going to take the place of the disposable PPE in the hospitals, but my hope is that maybe this mass movement of sew-ers and quilters making masks, just maybe, there could be a shift in thinking from disposable to reusable. It’s hope that kept me moving as I made 47 masks last weekend.

OK, that’s my soap box.

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And these are my masks. I had a small list of friends and family that I wanted to make them for, but as I was cutting, I kept cutting. I didn’t keep count and had no idea how many I was actually making! There are probably a million tutorials out there. Between working 50 hours a week and trying to homeschool the kiddo I didn’t have the bandwidth to do a lot of research. I’ve always liked Dana’s tutorials from Made Everyday, so I just went with her tutorial that you can find here.

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A couple of things I do like about her tutorial is that that fit over the N95 masks if anyone can ever get those again and it has a pocket to put a filter in.

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I added a step from her tutorial. On the bottom of the front and back of each masks I did sew a 1/4″ hem so that when they get washed they won’t fray.

There has been a lot of discussion debating ties or elastic. I went with elastic. If I tried to tie a bow behind my head every time I wanted to put this on, I would never wear one. I’d tie my hair in knots and curse and complain every time! And the thought of constantly tying my sons mask to his head did not interest me in the least. So elastic it was for our family! And therefore, our family and friends, ha!

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There four different sizes in the tutorial. I made the kids and adults.

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And we ended up with 47 masks. Most all of them have found homes. I feel like I may have to make another small batch before I’m done with masks.

Last night at our Seattle Modern Quilt Guild one of our members did a very through presentation of the pros and cons and in and outs of making masks. You can find here presentation here. There’s a ton of information collected to help you make the best decision on which masks are right for you. Be sure to check it out!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!