Gas station without pumps

2020 April 5

COVID-19 mask #2

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 15:04
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Yesterday, I sewed myself a second mask, like the one in COVID-19 mask—again using the pattern from Tiana’s Closet. This time I used a more cheerful fabric and made the ties out of the same fabric as the body of the mask. I also used one of my 3D-printed nose clips to close the gap that would otherwise fog my glasses.

The thin tie at the bottom works well, but thick tie at the top is too wide and does not fit comfortably over my ear.

If I decide to make another mask, I think I’ll change the pattern a bit to sweep up bit on the cheeks, so that the top tie can go over the ears better.

2020 March 31

COVID-19 mask

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:40
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On Sunday, I sewed myself a mask for when I need to go out to the store.  I used a pattern from Tiana’s Closet, which seemed to me almost the same as many others on the web.  I modified it in one major way—replacing the elastic with ties that go behind the head (using some 30-year-old bias tape that my wife had).

The results look a bit sinister:

I think I’ll make the next one out of a more cheerful fabric.

Flattening and reinforcing the curved seam was a little harder than I expected (it has been a long time since I sewed anything curved), but not too bad.

There was one problem with the mask design—the part that covers the nose does not fit tightly to the nose, leaving a gap between the nose and the cheek. This means that exhaled breath goes up through the gap and fogs my glasses.

Here is a closeup of the gap under my eye.

I’m not sure how to redesign the mask to avoid that gap. Commercial N95 masks (of which I have a handful from last year’s fire season) use a strip of soft metal to pinch the mask tight around the nose. I tried using some soft 12-gauge copper wire to make a nose clip, but I was not able to make one that helped.

Does anyone have a pattern that works well for big European noses? Or suggestions for ways to avoid or close the gap?

2016 November 12

Big patch mending

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 12:44
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Today’s post is a followup on my two most recent posts: Becoming a Maker: resources for a hobbyist engineer in which I talked a bit about becoming a maker and Overvaluing innovation in which I talked a little about the importance of maintenance. What I’m showing today is an example of the Maker repair ethos—fixing things rather than throwing them away (even when the labor cost of the repair is higher than replacement cost).

I had a flannel duvet cover that we’ve not been using, because it had gotten some bad holes in it:

The largest hole here is big enough to get a foot stuck in. The holes are probably the result of a combination of lots of washing of the flannel and sharp toenails.

The largest hole here is big enough to get a foot stuck in. The holes are probably the result of a combination of lots of washing of the flannel and sharp toenails.

The first thing to do was to sew the holes shut, so that they don’t get any bigger.

Because the holes are near the bottom of the duvet, a long way from any edge to the material, I sewed them shut by hand. The results did not have to be pretty, as I was going to cover them.

Because the holes are near the bottom of the duvet, a long way from any edge to the material, I sewed them shut by hand. The results did not have to be pretty, as I was going to cover them.

The next step was to make a patch.

I cut the patch out of the back of an old flannel shirt that had a worn-out collar. The material of the shirt was still good—only the collar had failed. (Collar failure is a common problem with flannel shirts—I wish they wouldn't put plastic collar stiffeners in flannel shirts.)

I cut the patch out of the back of an old flannel shirt that had a worn-out collar. The material of the shirt was still good—only the collar had failed. (Collar failure is a common problem with flannel shirts—I wish they wouldn’t put plastic collar stiffeners in flannel shirts.)

I hemmed one edge of the patch to the duvet cover with a backstitch, using a large cutting mat as a “darning egg” to keep the fabric smooth and flat.

I used a slightly lighter thread for the sewing than for the material, because it was the closest match we had, and because erring on the side of being too light generally is less visible.

After hemming one edge, I used whip stitch or blanket stitch to hold down the other three sides of the patch.

Whip stitch is the simplest way to attach two pieces of fabric when you only have access to one side.

Whip stitch is the simplest way to attach two pieces of fabric when you only have access to one side.

The blanket stitch is a somewhat decorative treatment for a patch edge, but I worry that it may snag too easily.

The blanket stitch is a somewhat decorative treatment for a patch edge, but I worry that it may snag too easily.

The patch was big, so it took me a while to do all the hand-sewing. I think that this is the biggest patch I’ve ever hand sewn.

Here is the final patch, with a tape measure to give an idea of the scale.

Here is the final patch, with a tape measure to give an idea of the scale.

I believe that this patch should give us another year or so of use out of this flannel duvet cover. If it fails again, I don’t plan to patch it again, as the fabric at that point will be so worn out that it won’t be worth the effort of salvaging.

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