Tip & Trick: Beginner Sewing Tips and Face Mask Tutorial

Maybe you haven’t sat down at the sewing machine for years. Or your sewing for the first time! This tutorial will first walk you through basic tips and tricks for sewing. Then you can use these tips and tricks to make a face mask. Follow along in the video for detailed instructions.

Looking for basic instructions or the pleated face mask?

Tips and Tricks for Beginner Sewing

Preparing and Cutting your Fabric

Before starting any sewing project you will want to wash it as per the instructions based on the code given. If your unsure of the wash instructions, cut a sample piece and wash it in warm water. If you’re very unsure the safest option is to hand wash and hang to dry.

For this project we are using 100% cotton so you can wash it in a normal warm cycle and a normal tumble dry. It is normal to have some shrinkage with cotton.

Using the pattern provided cut out your pieces from the fabric. You can use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut these pieces out. Place your fabric right sides together and note any directional patterns on the fabric. For example if you have words on your fabric you want to make sure you can read them. Place the pattern on the fabric and pin into place. You can trace around the pattern with chalk, an air soluble pen or any other tailor marking tool, remove the pattern and cut along the lines you drew. If you’re using a rotary cutter use a ruler along the lines to help guide the cutter.

Sewing a Straight Line

When you place your pattern pieces together you want to pin vertically to prevent bumps. The head of your pin should be on the right side so you can pull it out easier.

Line the edge of your fabric up with a seam line on your machine, if your machine does not have lines or they hard to see you can put a piece of masking tape down. Put your foot down and turn your wheel until the needle is in the fabric. Stitch 3 stitches forward and then 2 stitches back to secure your fabric, this is called Back Stitching

Keep your fabric against the seam line as you sew, sew as slowly as you need to to make sure your fabric doesn’t move. Always make sure your needle is down when you stop stitching, this will prevent the fabric from shifting.

When you take your first stitches, hold your thread tails behind your machine to guide the fabric through. As you keep sewing you can keep one hand on the end of the project coming out of the machine, to lightly pull it through. Keep one hand at the end of the project going through the machine. This hand will guide the fabric through. As you sew remove your pins roughly ¼” before the foot. Do not sew over the pins as they could break and damage your machine, they could also cause the fabric to shift.

When you reach the end go 3 stitches forward and 2 stitches back to Back Stitch

Sewing a Curved Line

Place your pieces right sides together and pin vertically, use as many pins as needed however there must be a start, middle and end pin. This will prevent your curve from moving. Continue stitching the same way you would a straight line.

When you reach the end go 3 stitches forward and 2 back to Back Stitch

Now you must clip or notch your curve to release the tension

  • Clip your curve if it is concave – Looks like a smile

To do this you will cut straight into the seam right up to the stitch line. Do not cut the stitches.

  • Notch your curve if it is convex – looks like a hill

To do this you will cut into the seam at an angle, right up to the stitch line, then come in at the opposite angle to create a triangle cut out. Do not cut the stitches.

When pressing curves it is easiest to use a sewing ham. Place your curve on the ham and press directly onto the ham.

Sewing Over Bulk

When sewing over bulk you can lengthen your stitch to 3.5 – 4 to make it go over the bulk.

Start by hand cranking the wheel to put the needle into the fabric, this will prevent the needle from snapping due to the pressure.

Back stitching will help to secure the seam.

Go slowly when sewing over bulk, and pull the fabric through very gently.

Topstitching

A Topstitch is at least ¼” from your seam.

When topstitching you can use a slightly longer length of thread

A contrasting thread can give a nice decorative look

Do not backstitch when topstitching as it is decorative and not structural, instead pull the top thread to the wrong side using a hand sewing needle and tie the tails together on the wrong side.

Edgestitching

An Edge stitch is as close to the seam you can comfortably get, roughly 1/8”.

Edge stitching is normally done with a standard stitch length.

Use a similar thread to your fabric, Edge stitching is more functional than decorative.

Back stitch at the start and end of your seam.

Binding

On your ironing board:

  • Fold each side in to meet in the middle and press 1”
  • Take a pin and pin from one side of your binding to the other, do not catch the binding in the pins.
  • Pull your binding slightly through the pin and press
  • Take a 2nd pin and move to the pressed end of your binding and pin from one side of your binding to the other, do not catch the binding in the pins.
  • Now you can continue to pull your binding through the 2 pins pressing as you go
  • Once you have pressed the full binding release the pins and set aside
  • Take 1 end of the binding and fold the side together and press 1”
  • Take a pin and pin from one side of your binding to the other, do not catch the binding in the pins.
  • Pull your binding slightly through the pin and press
  • Take a 2nd pin and move to the pressed end of your binding and pin from one side of your binding to the other, do not catch the binding in the pins.
  • Now you can continue to pull your binding through the 2 pins pressing as you go

Materials

  • 0.3m of 100% cotton fabric for outer layer
  • 0.3m of 100% cotton fabric for inner layer (this should be a contrasting fabric)
  • thread
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • ruler

Instructions

Creating the Mask

  1. Wash all fabric prior to use. Using the pattern provided cut out 4 pieces of cotton. Using a ruler trace and cut out 4 strips measuring 18″ x 1 3/4″. Trim 1/2″ off the sides of the inner layer piece.

2. Place your fabric pieces right sides together. Pin along the middle curve. Stitch with 3/8″ seam allowance. Repeat with your contract pieces

3. Once your seam is sewn we are going to clip our curves to reduce bulk. Because this is a convex curve we are going to clip a triangle. Be careful to only clip to your seam line and not through it. Repeat with your contrast pieces.

4. Place your seam on a ironing ham so that it lays nice and flat around the curve. Press the seam with steam. Repeat on the contrast pieces.

5. Your seam should have no puckers or wrinkles.

6. On the edges of your piece press the sides in 1/4″ and the top and bottom in 1/4″. You don’t need to press the whole top and bottom, only about 1″ in. Repeat on the contrast piece.

For the straps you can create a spaghetti strap or a binding strap.

Straps Option 1

  1. Place 1 of your strips right sides together, matching the long ends. Pin in place and stitch with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

2. Use a spaghetti loop turner or a safety pin to turn the strap right side out. Press so the strap is flat.

Straps Option 2

  1. To create a binding strap follow the tips above for creating a binding strap. Fold the strap in half wrong sides together to create a middle crease. Fold each long end in to meet this middle crease and press.

2. Fold the strap in half and press. This is a way to hide your raw edges.

3. Edgestitch the strap.

Attaching the Straps to the Mask

  1. Place your straps onto the outer layer mask piece. Match the edges of the strap with the raw edge.

2. Fold the side over 1/4″ and pin. You are creating a rolled hem with the strap sandwiched between it.

3. Topstitch the folded edge down. Sewing over the straps and securing them into the fold of the mask. Repeat on the other side.

Join the Outer and Inner Mask Pieces

  1. Place your outer and inner mask pieces right sides together. Match the center seams and pin. Remember the inner layer will be slightly shorter than the outer layer.

2. Stitch the top and bottom edges with 3/8″ seam allowance.

3. Clip the curves on the top of the mask to reduce the bulk.

4. Turn right side out and press.

Video

https://youtu.be/pcjCH7niZCY

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