Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Cut OBW/Hexified Panel Quilt Panels from the Same Bolt
To make a Hexified Panel Quilt you need seven (7) panels or for a basic One Block Wonder six (6) repeats for hexies or eight (8) for octagons. Having faced this issue myself with a student in a classes and also a project of my own, I've learned it is critical, if at all possible, to have all of the panels that will be cut into strips and triangle sets be from the same bolt. For Hexified Panel Quilts, having the seventh uncut panel to frame come from a different bolt is probably acceptable, but preferably not the six panels to be cut. Some differences may be subtle like variances in color saturation, while others are much more obvious with actual differences in panel or block sizes.
I first came across this problem in 2016 when a quilter in one of my classes had purchased panels over the internet. She got three from one vendor and four from another to make up her seven panels for a Hexified Panel Quilt. What we discovered together was that the panels from the two vendors were printed differently. The width of fabric on one set was over 1" longer than the other, throwing off the alignment of the two sets of panels. The 24" panel width along the straight of grain was pretty close on both sets. We decided together to have her cut the strips across the straight of grain panel width and readjust her pins aligning layers after each cut to keep the WOF print close to the same. It was a tedious process with a fair amount of waste, but together we got all of her strips and triangle sets cut and she did eventually complete the project.
After seeing these gorgeous Elizabeth's Studio Hummingbirds & Flowers block panels at the 2019 Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City, I ordered two bolts to cut into kits for my classes and workshops. A few weeks after Market, I received a call from the warehouse manager saying they had several partial bolts and asked if that would be okay. Not giving it a lot of thought and not remembering my experience in the 2016 class, I said I'd take them all. I soon received three bolts--one 7 yard bolt with ~10 repeats, one 11 yard bolt with ~16 repeats, and one full 15 yard bolt with ~22 repeats. I hoped there would be enough repeats to make multiple kits for future workshops.
I pulled the two partial bolts down from the stash closet and began cutting the panels apart into four kits each--two blocks half width of fabric by one block wide. For the sample I was going to use the odd number of blocks from each bolt, making sure I didn't give anyone else the possibly difficult blocks to match up. I soon discovered that while they appeared the same, they were printed very differently. After cutting the blocks apart and starting to line up one set of six with pins, I noticed they weren't matching up at all. As a test, I folded one set of blocks in half and laid it over the same set of blocks from the other bolt and you can see the clear difference.
The light blue border surrounding the blocks was a different width between the blocks. Even the blocks were not the same size. Looking closer, the selvedge on one bolt had the light blue background going right to the edge of the fabric, whereas the other bolt had a white selvedge with the blue starting half inch from the edge. Still, the information printed on the selvedges was the same. I separated the blocks back into separate piles by bolt and had to rethink my plan. I then took down the third bolt to check it against the other two.
There are so many ways to adapt and tweak the One Block Wonder technique and its variations. I've used repeats across the width of fabric in order to get six repeats when I only had yardage enough for three or four of the six. I've seen others use mirror image blocks, lining up right and wrong sides of fabric to match up the print, to create very unique hexies when all six layers are then laid out with all right sides up. Regardless, in my opinion, if you have two bolts that are so different as the two I received, there may be no way to accommodate this much variance. With a full size panel it can possibly be done with care as my student and I learned back in 2016; however, with the smaller blocks especially, the variance between the two bolts I received was too great to bridge.
More snippets from the sewing room soon,
Monday, July 27, 2020
Monday, June 8, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
This tutorial has been updated with a third version as of April 6, 2020. Please scroll down to find the serged version with t-shirt ties!
Yet another update that modifies version 3 slightly for ear loops instead of ties. Scroll down to learn more! May 27, 2020
New information I found this week was reported in a news release from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center about a new study on the effectiveness of fabrics being used to make cotton masks and how much they filter. The best fabrics include tightly woven batiks with a layer of flannel. I've been using a fun cotton layer, batik inner lining, and flannel lining for those without a pocket. For those with a pocket for an additional filter (provided by the recipient facility), I'm using the fun cotton, two layers of batik (one cut width of fabric and the other length of grain), and a muslin pocket layer towards the face. To learn more about the study which said the best homemade masks provided as much as 79% filtration, check out the news release at: Testing shows type of cloth used in homemade masks makes a difference.
|I'm ready if I need a mask when going out and about.|
We are sewing with a purpose as we are learning to navigate the COVID-19 virus crisis. So far we are now under a "stay at home" order in our county. We have already been staying in as much as possible with minimal trips out for necessities only--occasional trips to the post office to check our mail and to the grocery store or pharmacy. In the meantime, to keep from going stir crazy or being overwhelmed from the constant news overload, we are back in the sewing room.
|Les wearing his OVER an N95 from his construction days.|
I was asked by my daughter if we could make face masks. She works in a continuing care retirement community with seniors in all levels of care from independent to assisted to convalescent in the same community. The director of clinical services had mentioned needing masks, I'm guessing during a staff meeting, which led to a discussion of my quilting/sewing skills, and thus the request was issued. As they both said, anything is better than nothing and these can help extend the life of the N95s that are so hard to come by right now by adding a cover over it and replacing as needed. We understand, and hope you do, too, that these are NOT CDC approved face masks; however, as the director of clinical services said, they are better than nothing and can go a long way to help their staff keep themselves and their patients at least safer, or to extend the life of their N95s until more become available.
I looked at a number of patterns and videos, and decided to tweak a version to suit our needs. I had read some people were adding an extra layer as a filter; however, I worried about the breathe-ability of those added layers and suggested materials. Rather than guess what a clinician might use for a filter, I made a pocket where such a filter could be added as needed. I also saw some using elastic to be hooked behind the ears; however, picking a "one-size-fits-all" length for the elastic seemed problematic. Also, in the process of being washed over and over, and going through a sterilization process, I worried that the elastic would deteriorate much faster, so I chose to add ties. Being made of cotton fabrics, these are fully washable and can be sterilized.
Be sure to scroll down for Version 2, an alternate finish with a different way to make the ties.
COVID-19 Homemade Face Mask tutorial--Version 1
This is for a 9"x6" finished face mask with pleats and ties, and a hidden pocket to add a filter.
To begin, I took a package of double fold bias tape and stitched the length of it with a zigzag stretch stitch. Because the bias tape is so narrow, I cut 1.5" wide strips of water soluble stabilizer that could run under the tape along the feed-dogs of the machine while feeding the bias tape through the front of a braid foot, which is designed to keep a braid/bias tape/ribbon centered as it is stitched onto something. The stabilizer is very light weight, so tended to pull up as I stitched, but once trimmed off and then washed to dissolve the remainder, it didn't seem to make a difference in the stitching. By using the stretch zigzag stitch, the bias tape retains it's ability to stretch without breaking the stitches that will be important when tying them on. You could easily substitute ribbons or homemade bias tape. Get creative! Dig through your stash and find something that works for you and that will be user friendly for the recipients.
- Cut 1 10x7" piece of good quality/tightly woven cotton. My choice is batiks or quilting cottons.
- Cut 1 10x7" piece of lining. I'm using remnants of muslin, cotton sateen, and other leftovers in my stash. Fold one long edge of the lining piece ~3/8" twice and stitch to make a finished edge/rolled hem.
- Cut 1 10x3" piece of lining and fold in half, press.
Cut 4 ties at 15.5" long and pin in the corners of the mask front just below the seams, sticking the end out ~1/4-1/2" beyond the edges of the face mask. These short tails will be double stitched for extra security in the next step.
Stitch down both edges of the face mask, back-stitching over the ties at each corner.
COVID-19 Homemade Face Mask tutorial--Version 2
This is for a 9"x6" finished face mask with pleats and ties, and a hidden pocket to add a filter.
This version is similar to the mask above, only the ties are created differently.
Stitch lining pieces to long edges of face mask front as described above. Fold lining pieces at seams, right sides together to the face mask front, overlapping the short piece over the longer piece, and baste ~1/4" along short sides.
Cut a 36" long piece of 3/4" or 1/2" double-fold bias tape (prepackaged or homemade) and mark center. Unfold and place a single layer of bias tape centered on wrong side of face mask along edge with pleats, and stitch in place, just shy of the fold line.
[Updated April 6, 2020]
COVID-19 Homemade Face Mask tutorial--Version 3
This is for a 9"x7" finished face mask with pleats and ties, and an optional inner pocket to add a filter. For this latest version, I'm stacking my layers, which in this case are fun cotton/tightly woven batik/flannel lining and then serging around them. For those who have sergers, this is a fast way to finish the layers for a quick finish if you're making lots of masks to donate.
I've run out of bias tape and making homemade bias is, in my opinion, a time consuming pain. So, a friend was using strips of t-shirts which was a perfect solution! I have several stacks of t-shirts waiting to be cut up into blocks for quilts and I typically throw away the extra. I now have the logos cut out and ready to stabilize and have used the body of the t-shirts cut into 1.25" strips.
This version is fast to make and the t-shirt ties work great! Don't cut them too narrow or they will break when stretched. I found the 1.25" width worked great and allowed enough width to apply as a binding.
For a great tutorial on making t-shirt yarn, check out https://www.craftpassion.com/recycle-tutorial-making-of-t-shirt-yarn/
To use up short pieces of t-shirt strips, I simply folded one end in, wrong side out, as if making double-fold bias tape, laid it on top of the mask corner, and stitched diagonally, reversing 3-4 times, to secure the tie in place. Again, tie a knot at the end of each tie and pull gently the strip to create the rolled t-shirt yarn.
[Updated May 27, 2020]
COVID-19 Homemade Face Mask tutorial--Version 3.1
We are still serging our three layers together--fun cotton front / tightly woven, high threat count sheet or preshrunk flannel inner / tightly woven batik lining. The adult masks are made 9x7" and have 3 pleats. The child size we've done is 7.5x5 as requested by the local school district for their fall mask supply or 7x6 that we made for our grandkids. Both work, so pick the one you feel will best fit your child/grandchild.
I hope this tutorial has been helpful. I know there are many, many quilters and crafters out there making face masks for our healthcare professionals. Don't limit yourself to donating to hospitals. Check with nursing homes, physical therapy clinics, senior housing facilities that may have clinical staff, and so many other options where there may be a need.
Thank you to all who are helping with the COVID-19 Face Mask efforts!
More snippets from the sewing room soon...