Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Mask Update: Lose The Contact Cement; We Can Stitch Craft Foam!

Note: This post will only make sense if you've seen my last mask-making tutorial. So check that out if you missed it!

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I'm still a mask-making machine over here, though I only think to take a picture when I'm sending fabric choices out for people to pick their favorites:
  

I work on masks most nights to relax, while I listen to Critical Role. Not to sell -  so sorry to those who've asked! - but to give away. Right now I'm supplying the teachers I know, family, close friends, and everyone we work for during the week. Teachers get the largest sets: 2 frames and 5-6 covers each, so that's been keeping me busy.

Once I'm caught up I'll be making custom sets for any of you Squeegineer winners who want one, so be sure your e-mail entries are in for this month's give-away. Then YOU could get pics like this to choose your favorites:

 

Here's my latest batch of prints, can't wait to dive in to these beauties:


I'm beginning to understand why people end up with huge fabric hoards. Even with our JoAnn's mostly sold out, there are SO MANY PRETTIES. And I want them alllll.

More importantly - and the reason for this update - thanks to your suggestions our foam frame design keeps getting better and better. 



OH YEAH. Check this out:


Mask 3.0 has a stitched center seam AND nose wire, so no more contact cement or messy hot glue, and no more foam strips inside to leave marks on your cheeks!

We filmed a quick walk-through to show you how to do this with your sewing machine:



I told John to make the preview picture look like a screaming infomercial... and I'd say he nailed it.  (He used the Care Bears font, y'all. SLOW CLAPS ALL 'ROUND.)

And here's yet another upgrade: If you prefer ear loops over head straps, then Brooke W.'s got you covered! She's completely reworked our original template so that her fabric covers have ear loops attached, and then her covers snap on to the foam frame:


Whaaaaaat. AMAZING. Go see her original post with lots more pictures to see how this works. (Brooke is the same genius behind the rainbow skirt I wore to Dapper Day last year, remember that?)

Let me say thank you again to Traci, Brooke, Jennifer Y., (who sent me pics of her stitched nose wire), and everyone else who's made suggestions on how to improve these masks. I asked you all to take my idea and make it better, and WOW did you. I love it when a plan comes together - and I'm so chuffed to see y'all making these your own:





Please keep tagging me in your pics, they make me happy. :)

One last important update: please check your craft foam for color-fastness. I've heard from two people now who had their foam bleed colorful dye onto their skin when they started to sweat! Ack! I've never had this issue with the "Little Makers" brand I get from JoAnn's, so I'm hoping it's a manufacturer issue.

I do know the craft foam I've bought in packs from both Amazon and Walmart were noticeably floppier (and smellier, tbh), so each time I trashed them and went back to the individual sheets and $10 giant rolls at JoAnn's, which seem sturdier. I highly recommend the rolls if you're making a lot of masks; I get at least 30 adult-size frames from one roll.

Whichever foam you buy, test it for color bleed, and wash before wearing to be safe. (I scrub mine with hand soap in the sink.)

And of course, if you come up with any MORE ideas to make these masks better, tellll meeeee. (Although John says y'all are probably sick of hearing me talk about masks, so I need to stop now.  :p)

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P.S. If you're having a hard time finding the right size eyelets, elastic, etc, then head over to my Craft Supplies list on Amazon:



I've saved all the products here that I'm using to make my own masks, except the foam & fabric. These eyelets in particular are my favorites, much better than the first ones we tried, and work great for both the frame and the fabric covers.

Happy crafting!

33 comments:

  1. What are you talking about, talk less?! We love to read everything you write, and this is exactly the sort of stuff we look to you for - caring, human, crafty, and clever.

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  2. I never get sick of you talking about crafting things.

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  3. Yay! I was seriously just thinking earlier today to ask for details about sewing it after you mentioned it in your Story, so this was perfect timing!

    By the way, the metal teeth on the sewing machine under the foot that move the fabric (and foam in this case) are called "feed dogs", though I have absolutely no idea why. :P

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    1. I wonder if it has something to do with"dogs" being a slang term for feet. They didn't want to call them "feed feet"?

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    2. It was originally called "Feed cogs" but got slang-ed into "Feed dogs"!

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  4. You rule, ma'am and so do your seeing fen.

    Here's an upgrade to try: ditch the pretty and use HEPA cloth. Removable HEPA linings + your fitted design might just provide real protection.

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  5. FLOWER DOUGHNUTS.
    I mean, yes, you have quite the interesting variety of fabrics! It's super fun to see what everyone is using to make masks. I like the, uh, botanical food one in the first picture, and the rainbow ombre in the second...

    --Yet Another Jen

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  6. I’ve made nine frames and probably around four dozen covers at this point, but I’m excited about sewing the next frames I make. I’ve been using craft wire rather than paper clips and I played with the fabric cover to have no raw edges, just a small line of topstitching down one side. Thank you for sharing this idea in the first place — it’s by far the most comfortable mask I’ve tried!

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  7. YOU
    ARE MAKING
    SPACE MASKS
    DO YOU SEE MY MASK? OH WAIT, YOU MISSED IT
    MY MASK IS A TOUR OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
    SPACE MASK

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  8. Are you no longer gluing the flaps on the sides for the eyelets? And if still gluing that, does it matter what kind of glue? (hot glue is not something I use often, and would rather not dig out an extra tool/wait for it to heat/cool down if its only for that step now)

    Thanks so much for this tutorial, I can't wait to dig in!

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    1. I am still gluing those flaps down with hot glue, yes, just to keep the pressure off the eyelets. Any other glue would take time to dry, so I've been too impatient to experiment! :D

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    2. Jen, is there a structural/functional reason for putting the flaps on the inside (face side)...or is it just for the more streamlined look on the outside? It seems like it would be more comfortable to have the flaps on the side away from your face.

      Still trying to think of an alternative for the eyelets, since I've had zero luck doing them successfully in the past. I've killed many an eyelet in my day. :p

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    3. Yes, hypen8, the extra flap makes the sides sturdier & gives the eyelets the necessary thickness to grip on to. So definitely functional!

      The eyelets *are* a little finicky to get the pressure right, but once you find that sweet spot they go fast. Another alternative would be Velcro, or you could try magnetic snaps!

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  9. Those "feet" under the pressure foot are called FEED DOGS - refers to an old gear and they chunk your fabric under the pressure foot. If one sews the textured side down, slide a piece of tissue paper between the foam and feed dogs. Helps things to slide. Great on chiffon to stop the fabric from shifting.

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  10. Whoot whoot! Has anyone tried handstitching the craft foam? I am enjoying hand stitching this summer (but I DO have a sewing machine that I could pull out if needed).

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    1. I've hand-stitched this seam as a decorative finish on my original steampunk masks, so I'm sure it would work here functionally, too. Have at it!

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    2. Sooooo, I tried it both ways. I love handstitching, but I think the machine stitch is a bit nicer looking here. It gives more of a rounded shape. I just finished placing 100 grommets for this round. (Some of them are going to a family member who has an illness that impairs their fine motor function, so they are having a lot of trouble with ear loops and ties, so this model might just be their ticket for a wearable mask that they won't always have to ask for help with!)

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  11. You can purchase fabric that has been recycled from NYC's fashion industry: https://fabscrap.org/online-store

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  12. I love this design! Is there a fellow Epbot fan that would be willing to build me two of them? I cannot do it myself, and would be willing to pay!

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  13. Hello! I love these- Please consider supporting local quilting shops if you can. They are local small businesses and quilting cotton is more tightly woven, so makes masks a little better. ❤

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  14. That's awesome! I love seeing how this design has grown and developed over the course of the quarantine.

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  15. I am sewing fabric masks for my grandkids, 7 in all, and they are each getting about 10. The outer space design looks just like the ones i made for my grandson (bought my fabric at JoAnne's also) i'm also doing whales, moose, butterflies and dinosaurs. It's fun and keeps me busy. Keep up the good work and all the comments!

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  16. For the colour bleeding- would heat sealing the foam help? I always use an iron on my non-mask projects (over foil or parchment) to seal the foam before painting so it doesn't absorb all the paint . If you're texturing your foam (which I think I remember you saying at some point), that might account for the lack of colour bleed.

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  17. You used my picture.... *faints* (pardon me while I totally fan girl out.) These things are so amazing. I'm making them for me and all of my teacher friends. So much better than the silicone lipstick shields.

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  18. Hi! I'm hopeful to get some help. I love these and made 5, BUT (somebody always has a big but, don't they?) my husband and I wear glasses and cannot get these to stop fogging. The foam part fits well, so I think that it's because the fabric cover is just a tiny bit looser and the breath comes up between the mask and cover. Has anyone else had this problem and solved it? I want these to work for us. They look so cool and I love having the mask off my nose and mouth!

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    1. Hi, Beth! John wears glasses, too, and his solution is to move his glasses forward so they sit ON to the mask itself. I do this with my sunglasses, too, and it helps a lot; I only get a little fog when I first step outside in the humidity.

      I've also seen people recommend anti-fog drops like you use on Scuba gear, which might be worth a shot if you can't move your glasses forward.

      Please let me know if either of those help!

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  19. Hey, Jen! Late to the party, as usual, but I'm working on a batch of frames and masks for my husband and me, and I may have accidentally made a discovery. Have you done any reversible covers? I was making one for my husband out of some Avengers fabric, and wanted to give him the choice of whether he wanted to be Spiderman and Captain America, or Iron Man and Thor, depending on the day. I watched the video, then it took a while before I actually started work on the masks, so my memory wasn't perfect. Instead of leaving the bottom seam open, I left one of the ends open to turn the mask right side out, then topstitched the open end together. Then, I zigzagged the bottom "curve" together, just like you do the frames, only using the feed dogs. It came out great, and he can turn it which ever way he wants. I hope my explanation was understandable.

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  20. I'm having a bit of trouble printing the template to the right size. The little square ends up at 3/4" instead of 1". Hints?

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    1. Check your printer settings: sometimes they add a border, so look for a "borderless printing" option, and check that. I've also been told re-orienting the page from portrait to landscape can do the trick!

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