Tackling These Trying Times

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

There are so many shifts we are making in our lives. Let's highlight the goodness.

Hello my friends! I hope you are doing well with the adjustments this pandemic is throwing

us into. I'm continuing to package and ship our Cool Stitches Sewing Boxes on schedule and hoping it adds some joy to your lives. In fact, two shipped this month! Bags Totes and Organizers, and the Love To Sew. As always, sign up by the TENTH of the month to receive your next project which will ship around the 20th (based on supplies - so far, so good). 

In light of the complexities of the COVID-19 response we are all addressing, we are seeing uncertainty across our industries and can’t really foresee how it will affect us. We will keep you informed if there are any issues that will interrupt our ability to provide you with quality sewing boxes each month. In the meantime, we hope these provide some sewing enjoyment. Let's see about this month's.

This month's Bags Totes and Organizers features The Uptown Debbie Brown Thread Bag and Pin Cushion by Plum Easy Patterns - a quintessential sewing room accessory. I love this design because the pin cushion is hefty, it’s an attractive design, and the thread catcher is removable.

This project is a breeze to assemble providing some respite from your hard work in February! You’ll find Debbie Miller, the designer, provides well thought out instructions and clever construction – especially the pin cushion. Be sure to read through before starting and make sure you note how to treat the accent strip compared to the whole bag when assembling.

For our sample projects we used craft sand in the pin cushion. I apologize that I didn’t include it in your box due to weight constraints. Everything else is in there, including a 3” doll needle, large hooks and eyes, and buttons! We added in a handy Clip ‘n Glide Bodkin by Clover as a free gift this month too.

This month was the inaugural Love To Sew box too! This is such a great project. It's a Jalie pattern that includes sizes ranging from children's through adults' so you can make it for anyone! The fabrics selected are meant to span the seasons as an extra layer in cool months, but light enough for spring and summer when you need them.

Each of our boxes included your free Scrap Buster project of a cute little snack or gift bag reminding us spring is just around the corner, and hopefully bringing brighter things. I love the little chicky design.

Face Masks

With all the discussions on the desperate need for facemasks and the controversy on whether they are helpful or harmful due to their low efficacy, I decided to err on the side of helpful and did some research to see which available materials work best for non-medical use, and how to construct them for usefulness and quick production. It is now recommended we wear them when going out for essential tasks. I think this is a good idea. I posted this on FB Sunday, March 22nd and share it here for you in case it's something you're interested in.

After posting this, I've discovered this great instruction for sewing face masks for those with minimal sewing skills and no machine . I will ship sewing kits to anyone who wants to make these for personal use until my supplies run out. The kit will include needle, thread, and fabric cut to size for two masks. The cost will be for shipping alone. I'm estimating it should be no more than $5 to ship anywhere in the US.

Email debbi.gray@coolstitches.com to request a face mask sewing kit .

There are optimal materials to get you to 50 - 60% effectiveness against particulates while considering breath-ability as well. This site has a good summary: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/

Pleated Face Masks using a Sewing Machine: I chose to use 2 layers of the most tightly woven (high thread count) cotton fabric I have which ended up being a king size bed sheet. When using this type of fabric, you can clip at the measurement and rip the fabric in a straight line making quick work of making your pieces.

I added in a medium weight, non-woven, sew-in interfacing layer for additional filtration. I experimented with some shop vac hepa filters to see if using them would work. They didn't hold up to heat and we'll see about washing next. Temporary use would be okay. Next, I modified a design for the rectangular, pleated version to make them a quick sew without the seam binding most versions incorporate. Here are the directions for mine. I'll add in photos from the next batch I make. Materials: (1) 9" x 14" main fabric; (1) 7" x 9" interfacing; (2) 6" narrow elastic. Instructions: Sew with 1/4" seams. 1. Fold main fabric in halve lengthwise to form a 7" x 9" rectangle. Press to provide a top edge guide with the fold. 2. Place 1 end of elastic at the fold with the cut edges of the elastic and fabric aligned and the elastic laying on the fabric. Baste in place. 3. Loop the same piece of elastic down to the bottom edge without twisting and place the elastic along the 1/4" bottom seam line with the cut end and the cut fabric edges even. Baste in place. Repeat on the other side. You should now have a loop of elastic running from the top to bottom of each 7" side of a rectangle and laying on the fabric. It will pull the fabric up a bit because there is room to put in pleats later. 4. Fold the fabric in half along the crease aligning at the corners and enclosing the elastic loops. Place the rectangle of interfacing on top and align all edges. Pin in place if needed. 5. Sew 1/4" seams on the sides back-stitching over the elastic ends you basted for added strength. It works best to start at one corner, hold in the middle of the seam and stop with your needle down. Next, reach inside and maneuver the elastic towards you to allow the fabric to lay flat for the remaining seam sewing. 6. Now stitch along the bottom seam from the corners and leaving a 2" opening in the middle for turning. 7. Turn right side out. You will have a 7" x 9" rectangle of three layers with elastic loops sticking out from the sides. Fold and stitch the opening closed. 8. Fold in thirds lengthwise and press to mark your pleat lines on the 7" sides. Pinch up 1/2" for each of two pleats, fold up and pin in place. Top stitch around all for sides. You're finished. I found this video which is the closest to my version. I use one folded piece and interfacing to start, sew with 1/4" seams, and pleat twice due to the interfacing. The rest of the construction is similar. https://youtu.be/TL9D6ZFtZHM Let me know if you have any questions or need some help. We can video chat you through the project. :)

I hope you have the opportunity to take advantage of your slowed schedules to smell the flowers, stretch yourselves, and nourish your relationships! Wishing you all the best. Debbi

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