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Mask Making Made Faster, Easier, and More Fun

With the CDC’s recent recommendation that the general population wear face coverings in public, many of you are already making masks by the dozen! Mask patterns and tutorials are readily available all over the internet, and you can also find instructions from the CDC here. No matter what pattern you’re using, here are a few tips for you:

Making ties with the bias binder

If you’re using a pattern that calls for ties, these can be made super-fast with the BERNINA Bias Binder Attachment #88! While normally it is recommended to use bias strips in the binder, for ties that don’t have to be attached to a quilt, you can use straight-of-grain strips. Just be sure you cut them accurately to size and press them well. Starch helps too! For more ideas on using the binder, check out this post.

Assembly-line cutting When Sewing Masks

If you’re using a pattern to cut your mask, stack your fabrics right sides together when you cut them. This way the pieces are already lined up and ready to assemble. Use a sharp rotary cutter blade and cut multiple layers at a time.

String it along

Sewing a lot of masks? Rather than cutting at the end of each seam, lift the presser foot with your Free Hand System and slide the next fabric under the foot and keep stitching. Use your Needle Down function so that the machine stops with the needle down when you stop sewing. This way you can slide your next piece of fabric right up next to the needle and begin stitching.

Don’t forget to Secure

If you are normally a quilt piecer, you may have gotten in the habit of not securing your seams; but for these masks, which will be washed and worn frequently, securing your stitch is a must! Fortunately, it’s super easy to do – and there are options! Simply use the backstitch button on your machine, or if your machine has it, use the securing function. With one press, your machine will take several stitches in place to lock your stitch.

Use your Serger

An overlocker actually stitches faster than your sewing machine, so doing your assembly on the overlocker can really speed things up!

Use the right presser foot

Use your patchwork foot to assemble your mask – a 1/4″ seam allowance is perfect for most patterns. Another favorite foot is the Edgestitch Foot #10/10C/10DD – it makes finishing on masks look professional every time.

If you’re using wire in the nose of your mask, use Pintuck Foot with 5 Grooves #31 to tack it in place before turning it. Designed for pintucks, this foot has a groove that a 22 gauge electrical hookup wire fits in perfectly. Be sure to choose solid core hookup wire as opposed to stranded, as stranded wire is soft and won’t hold the bend. Turn in the ends of the wire so it doesn’t poke through the mask. Secure the wire with the Button Sew-on Stitch in your machine.

When adding the edgestitching of your mask around a wire, use Zipper Foot #4 to keep from stitching into the wire. Or, you can try Double Cord Foot #59C. This foot is designed for double cording, but works nicely to keep your wire in place while you stitch. Simply line up the edge of your fabric at the edge of the right tunnel and stitch, keeping the wire in the tunnel to the right of the needle.

Make Your Mask Unique

Now’s the time to use up those novelty prints in your stash, and letting everyone pick their own fabric makes them more likely to wear it.

How to Monogram Your Mask

Why not embroider a monogram on your mask? If you’re using a pattern, embroider the fabric first, and then lay the pattern over it and cut it out. Tracing your pattern onto vellum or lightweight stabilizer will make it easy to see where your embroidery will be positioned.

Note that embroidering fabric creates holes in the fabric, so you’ll want to have the embroidered layer as an extra layer on the outside of two additional layers of fabric to provide full protection.

Your finished mask will not only be stylish – you’ll easily know which one is yours! Read tips on monogramming here.

What are your mask-making tips?

Difficulty level: Beginner

Time to Complete: Evening

Seasons: all seasons

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