Face Mask Pattern

Face Mask Pattern

Never before in my lifetime or my parents, have we seen a global pandemic. While I appreciate being protected by staying inside, I know healthcare workers and first responders are the frontlines. I’m assuming since most of our country’s supply of protective wear such as gloves, masks, and sterilization wipes are mostly sourced from China, we have another infection control issue at hand. 

When I checked Pinterest for a mask pattern, I grabbed one I thought was suitable, and while I made 25 in my first batch, I wasn’t pleased with the fit of the mask. From having worked in our local operating room for two years wearing surgical masks daily, a well fit one to me means it includes most of my nose and mouth while still letting me breathe easily. These homemade masks are meant to protect ourselves from droplet precautions such as if someone coughs or sneezes near us. They are not meant to provide viral protection, but a pocket can be made so that additional barriers can be placed within the mask if needed. My mask design is easy to sew, fits well to the face, is comfortable and offers a design that prevents gaps around the nose and jawline, while still allowing you to breathe well.

Though there seems to be much misinformation on the internet, I’ve seen many masks made out of flannel, cotton (pillowcase), and jersey knit (T-shirt) materials. Corded elastic or ⅛” wide elastic can be used for the ear ties. Filtration can be increased by adding various layers within, such as vacuum cleaner bag, tea towel, but they also decrease breathability as well. Here’s a great article on what materials presented best for the DIY mask: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/


Elsa Ice Stencil Tutorial

Elsa Ice Stencil Tutorial

I’m pleased to bring you today an Elsa ICE DRESS tutorial from Marci, of Made by Marci! She was one of my AMAZING Elsa pattern testers! I was so impressed by her seamstress skills and train stenciling, that I asked her to share with everyone just how she did it! 
 Marci guide’s you step by step  how to add perfect, glittered snowflakes to your organza dress train! She used her Silhouette Cameo machine to cut out the snowflake, but if you do not have one, you can easily use your x-acto knife to cut out the snowflake. 
Let me introduce you to her!!!…. 
Marci is a mother of two beautiful girls, ages 2 and 4. She works hard at her day job, but enjoys sewing for her girls and doing machine embroidery on the side. She opened her Etsy shop, Made by Marci, in 2011 and is now an authorized seller of Joy2Sew Patterns.
And now she’s working on an Anna Coronation dress of her own design…It’s stunning!!!
Now that you’ve met her, on to the stenciling….
I first cut a snowflake design (I used Joy’s Elsa snowflake) on Contact paper using my Silhouette Cameo. I removed the inner parts of the snowflake, leaving the negative of it on the contact paper.
I then gathered my supplies: Aluminum foil, dimensional glitter fabric paint, extra fine glitter, some Contact paper to transfer the snowflake stencil and toothpicks (not pictured).
 I started with a large snowflake in the middle of the cape. I folded the cape in half 
and put pins in to mark my center.
 I then peeled the back off of some scrap Contact paper and put it over top of the snowflake to transfer all of the detail. If you look closely, you can see the outline of the 
snowflake underneath.
 I then VERY CAREFULLY pulled the backing of the Contact paper off of the snowflake, making sure all small cut out pieces stuck to the Contact paper and not the backing.
I then flipped it over and lined it up with my pins and pushed it down onto my cape fabric.
 Now for the (not so) fun part. It is helpful to have a point tool such as the one pictured. The Contact paper of the snowflake sticks very well to the transfer Contact paper but not so well to organza. VERY CAREFULLY pull back the transfer Contact paper, using the point tool to make sure all pieces pull off and to help pull down while you pull it back.
WARNING: This part is a HUGE pain in the behind!
 When done, you will be left with this:
 On some foil, squirt a bunch of the dimensional glitter paint. I felt like the glitter paint alone didn’t have enough glitter so I added some extra fine glitter and mixed it with a toothpick. You can also sprinkle extra glitter on at the end, but I did it this way to avoid 
having it fall off all over my house.
 Make sure you have foil under the area you are going to paint with the glitter. It will go through the organza and WILL STICK. I used foil so that it would be easier to peel off. With the toothpick, evenly spread the glitter paint over the snowflake. You want it to be a thin layer, but thick enough that there is enough coverage of the glitter.
 When you are done, you will have this pretty little thing:

 At this point you can go back and fill in any areas that look to need more. If you are happy with the coverage, then let it sit to dry. You can always add more later if you need to. I let mine dry overnight. It was still a little tacky in the morning, but was dry enough to remove the stencil. VERY CAREFULLY pull the stencil off. If you have the glitter paint a bit thick in some areas it will want to pull off of the organza too, so make sure to pull slowly and have an x-acto knife handy in case you need to cut anywhere. Also pull the foil off of the back.
And VOILA! You have a beautiful glitter snowflake!
Thank you for sharing your tutorial with us, Marci!
Please stop by and visit her in her shop, Made by Marci!
And download the Elsa Ice Dress pattern HERE! 

DIY Princess Crown

DIY Princess Crown


In the Fall of 2019, I was pleasured to get to assist the lead costumer at my local theatre with a few costume items for their featured Christmas play, How Hans Christian Anderson Defeated The Snow Princess. I was asked to combine a prom dress, wedding dress and silver vest into an ice princess look, and then to create her crown.


For the crown, I walked around several Christmas decor sections at my local craft and grocery store. Sometimes I don’t know what items to use until I am inspired by what I see is available. I came across this silver glitter snowflake placemat and two sets of icicle ornaments at Meijers, knowing these were the perfect items. I was also given a container of plastic diamond gemstones and some E6000 glue to work with from the theatre. 

I keep inventory of headbands of different widths and styles at home, as they provide a great costume base for any headdress. Over a wide headband, I wrapped 3” wide silver ribbon and used hot glue to secure it on. I then cut the snowflake placemat in half and wrapped it at the top of the headband. I then hot glued each icicle ornament to the front, making sure it stood out about ¾” from the snowflake. I usually work in odd numbers, as they look more pleasing to the eye. In this case, I added 7 icicles to the crown front with both hot glue and the E6000 glue.  I added additional gemstones to the snowflake placemat for extra bling. 

Usually to finish off a crown, I will sew or glue on hair combs to the side, but in this case, the crown stayed on beautifully without any extra structure. I was quite pleased with the result, and so was the costumer and director! This crown is certainly one any princess would be pleased to wear!

Vest Pattern

Vest Pattern

In the spring of 2019, I was lead costumer for a local high school. They are putting on the production of Once On This Island. Though the majority of the cast is wearing Island type, Haitian clothing, there is a fancy ballroom scene near the end which requires gowns for the females and vests and bow tied for the guys. I have scoured thrift stores and local community theatres for the right sizes and looks, and sometimes I still come up short. Several students need costumes in larger sizes, which have been remarkably difficult to find. When I can’t find the right item, either be color or size, I know to just sew it from scratch. 

Knowing how to copy clothing styles and create your own pattern definitely comes in handy for these types of occasions. Not only do you not have to rely on having the right pattern in the specific size, but you also save money by just creating a pattern from scratch. Here’s how I created a simple, custom vest for a cast member, completing his look to match the rest of the cast.

I take chest, waist, and hip measurements up front and document them in a notebook for reference.I did manage to thrift a white Oxford shirt that fit him, so I used that as my fit reference. The burgundy vest that I borrowed became my reference point for style and design. I lay out a series of computer paper over one half of the shirt sides, and tape them together. I’ve also used Pellon tracing cloth when I have it on hand, which is easier. I notice the cut of the vest and draw with a pencil on my paper where I want that lower “V” to fall. Then I draw how wide I want the shoulder to be, and mark how far below the arm scythe that I want the side seam to fall. I leave a little extra room at the center front so that the vest can overlap by an inch and close with buttons. I also draw it ½” larger on all sides, so that I can account for a seam allowance.

Once I have my proposed design traced onto one half of the shirt, I cut it out. I check proportions and make sure I like the overall design. I use that half template as my pattern to cut out two vest fronts out of a bottomweight material. Normally, and if I wanted this vest to look even more professional, I would also create facings on the inside of the vest. As the quicker version, I serged all the edges and turned them to the inside, and topstitched to hold them down. Most of the time, no stitching is shown on the outside of a vest, so creating a facing would be more appropriate. 

After I had my front vest cut out, I flipped the white Oxford shirt to the backside, and traced half of the back. Since this piece will be cut on the centerfold, I make sure my pattern line runs directly down the center. Then I overlay my front vest pattern and mark where the shoulders and side seams will be joining into the back piece. After I complete my back piece, I cut one out of satin, on the fold.

I attached the vest fronts to the vest back at the shoulders, right sides together, then serged the arm scythe’s and al, the way around the vest edge. I ironed the serged seam towards the inside of the vest by ½”, and topstitched all the way around. I then made four fabric covered buttons with Dritz button cover kit, created buttonholes (I love how my Brother 1850 does them in one step! I never mess it up!), and that completed the vest! 

Check out my other musical costume creations in my gallery.

T-Shirt Quilt Project

T-Shirt Quilt Project


In the past I’ve seen some projects as mountains I was scared to attack. I didn’t even want to take baby steps towards a final result. I thought it would be easier to just leave the stack in a corner somewhere, like my other unfinished projects that grow dust. The t-shirt quilt was always a mountain for me. After a few quilts under my belt, and some bad business choices where I pretty much volunteered my time to create some, I learned valuable lessons that not only refined my process, but enabled me to create a better quality product in the least amount of time.


Here are some questions that I now ask my customers up front:

1.My price estimate is $250-$350 after you provide all the tshirts up front. Are you comfortable with that price? 

2.Would you like just the tshirt fronts or any of the tshirt backs included in the overall design?

3.Are you providing enough tshirts to create the quilt for your desired size?

   Twin: 25 tshirts at 15×15” squares

   Full: 25 tshirts at 15×15” squares

   Queen:30 tshirts at 15×15” squares

   King:35 tshirts at 15×15” squares

4.Do you want just the tshirts sewn together, or do you prefer a solid color spacing them all out?

5.What fabric do you want for backing material? A solid or a print?

6.What size overall were you hoping for? Twin? Queen? King?

7.What would your deadline be? I require 8-12weeks from receiving the tshirts to get started, and will need half the money up front for supplies. 

8.Does the person the quilt is intended for have any allergies? We can get interior batting that is either a natural cotton or a polyester blend. 


I. The first step is collecting materials:

You will need the customer to give you agreed upon number of tshirts, and their arrangement preference if they have one. 

Internal batting.

Kona cotton for the sections between the t-shirt panels, 3-4 yards. I used black.

108” backing material in a solid color, 3 yards. I used black.

Edging material. I used an additional 2 yards of the black Kona cotton for the binding. 

3-4 skeins of purl cotton for the hand quilting and a wide eyed tapestry needle. 

Large safety pins to tack layers together. 

8 yards lightweight interfacing. I use Pellon iron on stabilizer.

II. I cut up the sides of each T-shirt, and around the collar and sleeves, separating the fronts and backs. I put in a pile T-shirt sides that should be included in the top design.
III. I measure all the designs from the tshirts I have and see which square size all of the designs will fit into. I typically end up using a 15”x15” square. 

IV. I cut out a square template to use out of that square size from paper. If you have a rotary cutter and clear grids, you can just use that. 

V.I then cut the same number of squares I’m placing on the top quilt, out of the thin, iron on interfacing, the same 15×15” squares. 

VI.Taking one interfacing square, I lay it on top of a t-shirt front and line up the design underneath. I can see through the interfacing to the design, which allows me to line it up straight. I then cut the T-shirt front out to match the size of the interfacing. 

VII.I iron each interfacing piece to the back of the t-shirt fronts I’ve cut out. If you have both cotton and polyester t-shirts in the mix, please remember to adjust your iron settings to each material to avoid any burning. 

VIII.Once you have your pile of square tops that are backed with interfacing, you need to square them up with the rotary cutter and mat, because they probably stretched out a bit when interfaced. Make them all perfect, 15×15” squares.

IX.You could either sew these T-shirt squares directly together, one row at a time, OR, you can add rows of a solid color between them all. To do this, out of cotton material, cut rectangles, 4” wide by 15” tall. Cut as many rectangles as you have squares. 

X.Lay out quilt arrangement on table or floor. Assemble one row at a time, horizontally. Sew one T-shirt to one rectangle, then repeat. Then repeat, sewing each row together. 

XI. You need to now cut lengths of cotton to divide each row up. I cut continuous lengths of 4” strips from the cotton. I placed that 4” solid piece right sides together at the lower edge of the first assembled row, and stitched it on. Then I placed the 2nd assembled row below that divider strip. I repeated that until all the rows were assembled.
XII. I added additional 4” strips to the outer sides of the quilt as well, followed by strips at the top and bottom, enclosing all the t-shirts in the grid. 
XIII.I then made a sandwich, placing the quilt top face down, followed by whatever batting you purchased for the center, then the quilt backing. I place large safety pins across the entire quilt to hold all the layers together. I try to maintain flatness all the way across, occasionally flipping it over to make sure it’s not pulling from the front side. 
XIV. Using purl cotton and a tapestry needle, I use a super long piece of thread to hand stitch (a running stitch) between the rows on the solid color. I typically sew two rows between each section. I do not try to be perfect. It’s my hand stitching that gives it a personal touch. Alternatively, you could take your quilt at this point to a long arm and have it quilted professionally, OR even stitching wide rows over the entire thing with a basic machine. 

XV.I then cut additional strips of 3” width of cotton to do a edge binding with. I sew these strips together to create a length that will reach all the way around the quilt edge. I start by placing the binding strip on the top side of the quilt (you can start it anywhere, just not on a corner) at the edge, folding over the starting point by ½”, and sewing down one side at a time. When you get to a corner, you will need to take it out of your machine, create a 45degree angle with the fabric strip and then continue sewing down the next side. This will create a nice, mitred corner. 

XVI.Once you’ve made it all the way around, you will turn the binding strip towards the back of the quilt, and tuck under the edge and secure with pins, exactly like bias tape is used. If you’re talented, you could stitch in the ditch from the front of the binding, or if you’re not that confident like me, you can just hand stitch the binding down on the backside, being sure to mitre those corners.

That’s it! Your quilt should be complete!