Good morning! Welcome back, all you Good Karma sewists! Today, I have invited Kerry Goulder to chat all about handmade face masks and to tell us about her creative jam. I have followed her for a long time and am amazed by all her creations. Let’s take some time to get to know the face behind Kid Giddy. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and let’s dig in.

For more about the #GoodKarmaSewAThon click here and learn how you could win a prize by donating masks to those in need.

Kerry, thank you so much for coming on to my blog. I do want to talk about face mask making, but first let’s get inspired and look at some pretty things. Tell me about how you started your making journey?? 

I started sewing when I was little. My mom taught me how to sew, and both her and her mom would sell handmade wares at craft fairs. I didn’t really do much sewing as I grew up and it wasn’t until college when I made a huge light bulb pillow as part of a course project. I made a few things here and there, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I invented the Tuck ‘n’ Go, and then later in 2010 that I really started designing my own patterns, all under the Kid Giddy label.

I love that. My mom taught me how to sew, too. I have always wanted to sell at craft fairs but I am totally afraid that no one would buy my stuff. What a wonderful home to be raised in. 

Tuck 'n' go

I love your website. Wow!! You have been blogging and creating in depth content since 2009. That is amazing! When did you start quilting? Was it around the same time you started the blog?

Thank you. No, I started out blogging more about crafts and soft toys that I made and was selling on Etsy. After my book was released, I also began quilting when I started doing mini quilt swaps in 2014 and then learning how to design my own foundation paper piecing patterns.

Sew Plush Planner Organize
Modular Star

What is your favorite (go to) project to make?

Whatever I’m working on. I can’t juggle to save my life, but I often have many projects I’m working on at the same time. There are some I’ve just started, but also some that are ongoing and years later, I’m still working on them. I just sew or stitch whatever I’m in the mood to work on these days, especially ones with deadlines.

For those who don’t know what is Sizzix?

Sizzix is a die cut company I was licensing my designs to. I still have dies available for sale in my Etsy shop. The die does all the cutting for you, which gives you more time to sew and play.

You created a book!  Oh my gosh, congratulations!! The projects in it are fabulous!! What do you love about working in 3D?

Working in 3D is fun but so hard, especially when it comes to writing up the instructions. The best part is being able to give the toy a name and create the story. Every pattern in my book comes with a name and a story. It really helps to encourage imagination and conversation when some kids don’t want to talk much.

Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love

The name of the book is Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love. What a wonderful idea. I am sure that it helps build a stronger bond between the child and toy.

I am smitten with your dog paper pieced patterns. The poodle is so cute, and I am sure my husband would love your French Bulldog pattern. Hmmm.. That’s a great gift idea. I think I might make him a pillow for our anniversary. Shhhh, don’t tell him. I love paper piecing. It’s a great way to get exact points. Do you have any tips for us on paper piecing?

French Bulldog paper pieced pattern

There are so many little tips for successful paper piecing. I have a series of posts to help with learning all my tricks starting from the basics. It starts with the Land of Magic Crown and goes through all the patterns in the Land of Magic Quilt.

Land of Magic Quilt PDF Paper Piecing

I actually used your Ugly Christmas Sweater pattern last year. It was the pattern used in a mug rug swap and I just love the one that I received. I also have been a participant in one of your swaps. I know it takes a lot of work to produce blog posts, patterns, books, swaps etc. What do you have coming down the pipeline? Any secrets I can share??

So far, no secrets can be shared; but I will say that my Ugly Sweater Block is celebrating its 5th year this December. So I just might be planning a little something.

Awweee!!! That sounds like it’s going to be fun. I will be looking out for that “little something”.

Handmade Face Masks

Okay let’s get down to the reason we got together today. I see so much chatter out there on handmade face masks, patterns, tutorials, materials, whether they are needed, how protective they really are . . . I believe that by talking about their issues (good and bad) and why they are useful, we can get all the information out there. When I started looking into creating the Good Karma Sew-A-Thon, I got so confused. Really trying to get a scientific reason on how one handmade mask could be better than another. I wanted to bounce ideas off of someone and talk about the worries lurking in the corner of my mind.

Kerry, I saw a picture of a handmade face mask you made right away. Click here for her tutorial. Man, you were on it!! I think I was maybe thinking about buying toilet paper and going to the grocery store to buy bleach, and bam, you had already made your first face mask and posted it on your Instagram feed. You have a tutorial on three different types, right? What is your favorite version? And what are the differences between them?

A few weeks before I posted my tutorial, I was already working on the pattern for a dental student friend that was already being rationed to one mask per day. So I knew it was going to be an issue and was just a matter of time before the supply chain was strained. I figured a mask cover could be beneficial to make those PPE masks last longer. I made a few different versions because I knew not everyone would have elastic and not everyone would have a ruffler foot. Sometimes, options can help people remember that it’s not just one way that works best. My mask is based on an actual medical PPE mask. So I know the sizing is standard. But the other options allow people to make masks the easiest way for them possible.

What type of feedback have you received on what design is preferred? 

The ties are most requested, as is a nose bridge adjustment.

Handmade Face Masks Tutorial

Thanks, that’s interesting. A nurse in my neighborhood prefers the elastic around the ears because it doesn’t move as much. It just goes to show that there are many different needs out there and maybe there isn’t the perfect answer to the question that everyone is asking, “what is the perfect mask I can make?”. It seems to me like it’s ok if you don’t have elastic or do have elastic. Most likely they will be sorted through and the ones that prefer the ties will take the ties and the ones that prefer elastic will take elastic. So, they will both be used.  

Some nurses are dealing with raw skin behind the ears, so some are now wearing and requesting headbands with buttons on the sides so they can attach the elastic to the buttons and let their ears heal.

Oh man that sounds painful. My head is a weird shape and headbands don’t stay put. This situation is just crazy!!

What about filters? Should we worry about trying to finagle some type of filter . . . like a coffee filter? And did I hear something about a vacuum filter??

I really hope people will stop with the filters, and I say that in the nicest way possible. If they leave the space open at the bottom after turning right side out, medical professionals can put in a medical mask or surgical paper that is used when putting surgical tools through the autoclave to sanitize. But they can also simply wear the fabric mask over a medical PPE or N-95 mask. Let them make that choice . . .safely. As for other types of filters, there is no scientific evidence that those other filters will work and keep them safe from not only Covid-19 or from other bacteria. Vacuum bags are not made under sterile conditions as medical masks would be. We don’t know the bacteria or fibers that could be in vacuum or other filters. That could be extremely unsafe for medical personnel to breathe, especially when this virus is attacking the lungs, they need the safest options. Sanitary pads are also not a good idea! Please, leave out the filters.

So an added space for a filter is fine if that is what the maker really wants to do, but let the person wearing the mask decide on what type of filter to put inside the mask. That is a really good idea because in theory someone could develop a special respiratory grade filter that can be inserted into these masks, making them more effective. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge to all of you entrepreneurs out there.  

Oliso mini iron making Handmade Face Masks

Now, I get so worried about disinfecting them. I would think maybe a layer of Lysol disinfecting spray and then in a hot wash cycle. Do you have any ideas on this?

Hot water and soap, and high heat to dry. That’s how they will wash them. Most places and persons are smart enough to wash them on their own prior to use. They don’t know who or where they are coming from; if they are not washed in the hospital, they would be smart to wash them on their own so they can use a detergent that is safest for them.

As my mind went into full analyzing mode, I thought we should have a printable card everyone can include in their package of handmade face masks. Which brings me to . . .

How should we package them?

I wouldn’t package them. You can deliver them in bulk in a bag to a place that has specifically requested them.

Or even mail them. I love the list that Masks for Heroes has put together. 

What fabric do you suggest?? I know The Turban Project uses flannel because it is soft. I feel like it would make a great germ barrier because it is thicker, almost like a lining. What do you think?? What materials do you like?

I’m not an expert on materials. I held two pieces of various fabrics up to my own mouth/nose and breathed. I knew which ones felt too warm and which ones seemed to make me feel like I couldn’t breathe easily. In the end, I used quilter’s cotton fabric on one side (the outer facing side) and a gauze type material on the inside. The gauze I used is not an open weave like cheese cloth or sterile bandage gauze, it’s the same that’s used for baby carrying slings and will soften while in use. It’s very important to use a different material (boring white) on the inside so the wearer knows and remembers which side touched their face and which side could be contaminated. Many people are sewing masks with matching sides and they end up not being able to use them multiple times if they take it off even once.

Here is a link to some studies done on material. 

Where can people use them?

Anyone that wants to use one can use one when and wherever they want. They just have to know the risks associated with wearing them, knowing they are not medically filtered masks. Medical professionals still prefer a medical mask over anything homemade, but these can be worn as extra protection. We can also wear them to go grocery shopping or even around our families for added protection if someone is suspected or has a cold. Again, without a medically tested filter, there are no guarantees for protection.

I have heard that hospitals can distribute them to patients. I think that’s a great idea.

In my opinion, if a homemade mask can be a barrier to catch tiny droplets from my mouth, that’s less tiny droplets in the air. If we all wore a mask (even a homemade mask), that means there are less tiny droplets in the air to swap back and forth. This doesn’t remove all tiny droplets but every little bit helps.

I know some think that handmade masks are not wanted. Masks for Heroes is a great resource. They have provided a tool that can be used and shared. Organizations that need masks can fill out a form on their website that will add their request to a map. The map shows red bubbles. If you click on a bubble, it will tell you what type of mask they are looking for and where you can mail them, too. There are so many requests. I hope we can fulfill that need.

Do you have anything else you want to add?

Thanks so much for helping to bring awareness to the needs right now. I think it’s so important that we all “lift where we stand”. If we each do our part to help, whether it’s sewing masks or not, or grocery shopping for a friend that shouldn’t be, or donating blood, or helping in other ways, we can get through this. No one should feel pressured to make a mask and contribute only in that way. There are still so many other great ways we can help to support those on the front lines and those affected by this pandemic. Wishing you all happiness and good health in these trying times.

Thank you very much for coming onto my blog. It was fun chatting with you! I am totally making the French Bulldog pattern; I even have some Blue Carolina fabric in my stash from The Tattooed Quilter. Kerry, I can’t wait to see what you do next. You can keep up with Kerry and see what she is currently making by following her on Instagram and she has a creative packed website called kidgiddy.com


More Handmade Face Mask Tutorials

Happy DIY Home created a blog post featuring 5 different ways to make face masks. Masks include tips on using a tea towels and t-shirts. Click here to find out more. https://happydiyhome.com/diy-face-mask/