How to make your own headband for PPE or homemade masks.

As several of my friends work in the care sector, I am aware that it is very uncomfortable wearing a face mask for long periods of time, so I decided to make some comfortable, buttoned, headbands to improve their days/nights. I wanted to use products which were easily available to me, in fabrics which suited their wearers. This design works well with fabrics from our stash of cottons. While they are quick and easy to make, I have had great feedback from everyone I’ve gifted them to.

You will need:

  • 1 piece of fabric – 5”- 6” x 14” (13cm-15cm x 36cm)
  • 1 piece of fabric – 2¾” x 11” (7cm x 28cm)
  • 1 elastic 1” x 7” (2.5cm x 18cm)
  • 2 large buttons

and…. we stock everything you need: https://www.quiltdirect.co.uk/acatalog/Face-Masks.html


Fold each piece of fabric face to face, length ways and create a tube by sewing a ¼” seam on the long edge.
Lay tube flat and press. Turn both tubes the right sides out way and press.

Feed elastic through smaller tube and stitch securely at each end.
Lay tubes face to face, wrap ends of larger tube around smaller tube and stitch securely into place. Repeat at other end.
Turn in correct way and attach buttons close to the fabrics joins.
Ta Da!
This design is ‘sew’ simple, a 10 year old could make it!

There is a shortage of face masks for key workers and medics at the moment, so how do we, the public, protect ourselves without contributing to the shortage?
Easy – make your own!

There are numerous patterns available online but there’s no point in making a mask unless it’s effective.

Let’s just qualify that by saying that nothing you can make on your sewing machine at home will be as effective as an N95 respirator which filters out 95% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. It is, however, possible to make a fabric mask that can be up to 60-80% effective.

Scientists have been researching the effectiveness of everyday materials and have tested all sorts of things from HEPA furnace filters, vacuum cleaner bags, coffee filters, fabrics, scarves and bandanas.

Now here’s the good news for quilters.

Tests performed at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., showed good results for homemade masks using quilting fabric. Dr. Segal, of Wake Forest Baptist Health, who led the study, noted that quilters tend to use high-quality, high thread count cotton. The best homemade masks in his study were as good as surgical masks or slightly better, testing in the range of 70 to 79 percent filtration. Homemade masks that used flimsier fabric tested as low as 1 percent filtration, Dr Segal said.

One of the best-performing designs was a mask constructed of two layers of high-quality, heavyweight “quilter’s cotton.

If you want to be sure you’re using the best fabric available to you, try this simple test:

“Hold it up to a bright light,” said Dr. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health who recently studied homemade masks. “If light passes really easily through the fibers and you can almost see the fibers, it’s not a good fabric. If it’s a denser weave of thicker material and light doesn’t pass through it as much, that’s the material you want to use.”

Try the Art Gallery range of fabrics

One of the best fabric ranges we have available for face masks is the Art Gallery range. This superior quality fabric has a high thread count and fine weave. 100% premium cotton that is as soft and smooth you can get. An explosion of colour and designto make some eye-catching masks. AGF Fabrics are OEKO-TEX certified which means they only use safe inks for your skin and the planet.

This is the AGF Colourmaster Collection

Please bear in mind that home-made masks are not intended to replace or compete with high-grade medical masks.

Any face mask is better than no face mask! There is little doubt that wearing a mask can help to reduce the spread of coronavirus by blocking outgoing germs from coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

If you’re new to sewing and you need a machine, have a look at the Bernette range. Reasonably priced, reliable, long-lasting and easy to use.

Bernina have created a series of tutorials to help you get the most from your Bernina Q20 longarm quilting machine.

Take a Tour of the Bernina Q20 User Interface

Discover in this video how to use all of the on- screen features of the Bernina Q20 Longarm Quilting machine. This tutorial shows you the power saving Eco Mode, the quick tutorial interface with on-screen help animations, calculator and the stitch counter.

Have a look at Preparing to Stitch

This video will show you how to prepare your machine for the first stitches. You can watch step by step how to attach the upper and optional horizontal spool holders, how to insert the needle and attach the presser foot, how to thread the machine, wind and thread the bobbin.

Bernina have provided a host of other videos to guide you through using your Bernina Q20, but the best way to make friends with your longarm quilting machine is to give us a call and arrange to pop down to Devon for a hnds-on tutorial with Katherine.

Give us a call if you’d like to know more about the Bernina Q20 or the Bernina Q24. We’re here to help.

Bernina have created a series of tutorials to help you get the most from your Bernina Q24 longarm quilting machine.

Start with a step-by-step guide to setting up the Bernina Q24 frame

See how to assemble the frames, how to attach the centre and dead bar, as well as carriage tracks, rail supports and quilt top rail, the backing and take up rails. See the machine placed and secured on the carriage tracks and watch final steps to finish the frame assembly making it ready for use.

Learn how to load the backing fabric

Details of how to load the backing fabric and the quilt top onto the frame leaders.Tighten the backing fabric using the side clamps, followed by step by step instructions to install and smooth the batting and baste all the layers using the BSR3 basting function.

Bernina have provided a host of other videos to guide you through using your Bernina Q24, but the best way to make friends with your longarm quilting machine is to give us a call and arrange to pop down to Devon for a hands-on tutorial with Katherine.

Give us a call if you’d like to know more about theBernina Q24 or the Bernina Q20. We’re here to help.

You want a longarm quilting machine, and you want the best, so we know you want a Bernina! But which one?

Here’s all you need to know about the difference between the Bernina Q20 and the Bernina Q24 longarm quilting machines.

Bernina Q20 or Q24

Both machines offer:

Hook systemM Class Rotary Hook
Colour touchscreen4.3” (109 mm)
Illumination of full arm length50 LEDs
Thread tensionElectronically/digitally adjustable
Presser foot liftElectronic
Upper thread break sensorx
BERNINA Stitch Regulator functionalityDual Stitch Regulators
Connection (basic)USB host / slave
Connection (additional purpose)HDMI
Sewing speed maximum2,200 spm
Stitch length minimum 1.05 mm (24 Stitches per inch)
Stitch length maximum 25.4 mm (1 Stitch per inch)
User profiles5
Bobbin Thread Indicatorx
On-board bobbin winder x
Compatible with domestic machine needlesx
Compatible with BERNINA free-motion feet x

Read more about the Bernina Q20 Longarm Quilting Machine or the Bernina Q24 Longarm Quilting Machine or give us a call to have a chat about these fabulous longarm quilting machines.

The Bernina Q24 Longarm Quilting machine is Bernina’s first longarm quilting machine and features a full 24″ 61cm of quilting space from the needle to the back of the machine. The unique threading path, thread stand, handwheel and machine controls are all located at the front of the machine right where you need them.

Bernina Q24 Long Arm Quilting Machine

The BERNINA Q24 Longarm Quilting Machine is available in three frame sizes:

  • Large – 13’ (4.00m). Accommodates quilts up to 120″ (3.05m)
  • Classic – 12’ (3.60m). Accommodates quilts up to 108″ (2.75m)
  • Small – 9’ (2.75m). Accommodates quilts up to 70″ (1.80m)
Bernina Q24 Long Arm Frame sizes

The large and classic models both feature Q-Matic, BERNINA’s state-of-the-art system for automated quilting

The BERNINA Frame is strong and smart

  • Adjustable foot pads for perfect levelling
  • Continuous X and Y-axis track system with no joints
  • Angled tracks and wheel axles for accurate and smooth movement of the sewhead to allow even quilting
  • Friction-free 16-wheel system
  • Leg system for maximum stability
  • Multi-step ratchet system for perfect fabric tension
  • Integrated latch system for maximum fabric holding power, yet easy release
  • Pivot pick-up of magnetically-secured top rail, which allows fabric separation to smooth batting
  • Dead bar for perfect fabric height no matter the length of your quilt
  • Large diameter rails eliminate rail flex when tensioning the quilt
  • Heavy duty canvas leaders with positioning markings for years of quilt loading ease
  • Spacious pantograph tabletop to easily align your rolled patterns
  • 4 bungee clamps to align every quilt to perfection
  • Convenient tool trays for your longarm quilting tools

Other BERNINA Q24 features include:

  • BERNINA Longarm Stitch Regulation
    Master hand-guided quilting quickly with the assistance of the integrated BERNINA Stitch Regulator. The BERNINA Longarm Stitch Regulator is simple to activate and simple to customize using the machine’s touch screen. Set the stitch length as preferred for a variety of quilting styles. The BERNINA Longarm Stitch Regulator keeps the stitch length consistent even at variable stitching speeds. Choose between three stitch regulation modes, including a basting mode or a fully manual mode.
  • Unique user interface
    BERNINA brings the best of the domestic machine world to the longarm world with a simple to navigate, colour touch screen. Totally customizable, it includes useful functionalities like a stitch counter and built-in tutorial.
  • Unique threading path and integrated bobbin winder
    The forward position of the thread stand is easy to reach and the threading path simple to follow. The integrated bobbin winder is just one of the small details that make this machine unique.
  • Unique ergonomics
    The unique and fully articulating handles can be moved to just the right position for all of your quilting needs. Whether stitching edge-to-edge, custom motifs or ruler work the handles can be adjusted for visibility and comfort. Program each of the buttons on each handle to keep frequently used functions at your fingertips. Edge-to-edge/pantograph style quilt designs can be easily guided with the optional rear handle system and screen.
  • Unique tension control
    The BERNINA Q24 Longarm models offer the industry’s only presser foot tension release for threading ease. The exclusive tension system features numeric tension settings making it very easy to use a variety of thread types with success.
  • Speed
    With 2,200 stitches per minute for hand-guided quilting, you will complete more quilts more quickly than ever.
  • LED lighting
    LED lighting along the length of the machine and above the needle illuminates the quilt for enhanced visibility.
Bernina Q24 Long Arm Quilting Machine
View the Bernina Q24 longarm quilting machine range on our website and give us a call to arrange a vist to test drive one of these marvellous machines or find out more about the Q20 sit-down range

We live in strange times and the current pandemic has created an unprecedented need for personal face masks. There is a global shortage of these masks and our “Make Do and Mend” attitude has seen a plethora of home-made face masks around and about. Some of these have been ingenious, incredibly creative and in some cases downright funny!

However we all know that Covid-19 is not a joke and we need to take it seriously. That’s why we’re pleased to share this lovely and practical face mask pattern, designed and made by Paula Doyle of Green Mountain Quilting.

Coronavirus Face Mask Pattern

Download the pattern here

Paula received advice from a lymphatic nurse and a doctor at Royal Surrey, before coming up with this design.

This face mask is totally washable and has side loops built in for ties or replacement bands. There is also the option to insert a dry wipe into the internal pocket for extra protection,
Paula recommends a batik fabrics to make the mask if possible, because batiks are lightweight and have a finer hand than other fabrics, while at the same time being tightly woven.

Don’t have a sewing machine?

We can help. The Bernette range from Bernina is the perfect entry level sewing machine for newbies. Bernina quality and prices from £199.

B33 is a basic model particularly suited for beginners with little experience.
B35 has a total of 23 stitches and 7 presser freet (soles).
B37 is a computerised model with an extensive range of helpful functions and impressive stitch quality.
B38 is the top model in the series offering everything creative sewists need.

Looking for something a little more sophisticated?

The Bernina 3 Series is a line of easy-to-use sewing machines, specifically designed for beginners and intermediate sewers who want a machine with top design standards and cutting-edge technology. Small enough to fit into any sewing nook or cranny, yet powerful enough to stitch through your toughest materials and ideas. Simple, user friendly machines built to last a lifetime.

About the Corona Personal Facemask:

Wearing a face mask may not prevent you from acquiring coronavirus in a high-risk situations.

Fabric face masks are worn to protect other people from the person wearing the mask. Wearing a fabric mask in public where social distancing might be compromised, such as supermarkets and pharmacies might slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. 

Rachel receiving a thank you card from a satisfied customer

So Rachel, tell us how you came to be working for Quilt Direct?

Well, you can blame Charlie for that! Charlie and I met at primary school years ago and have always been around one another with the ponies growing up and later when we had our children. (We both have two boys of similar ages). Then we have gone through the infant/primary/secondary school together, meeting up in the playground. Charlie asked me if I wanted a job lots of times and once the children were more independent I thought I would do one day a week… I now do four!!

Tell us about your family and hobbies.

Well, I am quite busy with the boys and their activities. I also have my horse who is called Roo, she is a 17.2hh Irish Sports Horse and I usually do showjumping competitions. I also have Esta who is an 18 month old baby sports horse who I will train and ride in the future.

What is your role at Quilt Direct?

I mainly look after the website. This involves listing all the new products that we have and adding and amending the content. I also design and edit all the sliders that you see on the website. I also help out with the warehouse when needed, picking, packing and posting.

Arry, Rachel’s Labrador with one of Katherine’s embroidered poppies.

What was the worse job you ever had?

Working in a milking parlour! I had to collect milk samples for testing and it was very smelly and mucky.

What is on your bucket list?

That one is easy! To have a horse for everyday of the week! There would be Monday… Tuesday…….

Tell us about your sewing experience.

Absolutely none when I joined Quilt Direct. You may know that Katherine does teach us as a group and sometimes individually. Katherine is teaching me how to use the Bernina Long Arm Q24 which I really enjoy and I like using the templates too.

Thank you for sharing with us Rachel.


An Interview

So, Louise, tell us about how you came to Quilt Direct?

I was a friend of Katherine’s and I used to run my own business some years ago, so Katherine and I had a lot in common . When my last job ended, Katherine asked me to join her at Quilt Direct.

Can you tell us about your background?

I have mainly worked in the travel and hospitality industry. I had my own travel company for many years where I specialised in horse riding holidays. I have ridden all over the world and have had many exciting adventures on my own and with groups of clients. I lived in Spain for two years and then moved to Portugal where I lived on my Quinta (farm) for seven years.

What about your family?

I have four children. Cameron is 32 and works in hospitality. Emily is 30 and she is a nurse at Derriford hospital. Joe is 14 and he lives with his dad in Portugal and the baby is Jorge who is 12 and he lives with me. I also have a granddaughter, Heidi who is 2!! I have a cat with mental health issues and a dog – I will tell you more about him in another blog.

What keeps you out of trouble in your spare time?

Well, I am quite busy with Quilt Direct weekdays. I help Ali with her garden at the weekend. I like to spend as much time as I can with Jorge – usually catching up with maths homework! But we do like to go to the beach and the cinema. I have some good friends in Tavistock and I like to meet up for a coffee and a natter. I also make cakes!!! Mainly for Quilt Direct for when we have our ladies on our courses in the Bernina Studio.

So, what is your role at Quilt Direct?

My job is twofold, Marketing and Studio. I look after all the social media, so it is me that writes the blogs, does Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also look after other advertising and organise the shows that Quilt Direct attends. The other part is that I organise all the Bernina Studio classes, Guest Tutors, Lectures and Demo’s. I am currently working on week long Bernina Retreat. This is very exciting and I have potentially six ladies coming from the north of England to spend a week in our studio being taught by Katherine.

What was the worst job you ever had?

Collecting the winning bingo tickets in a bingo hall and calling out the numbers to the bingo caller. It was terrible but someone had to do it I suppose. I did not last long!

Do you have anything on your bucket list?

Oh lordy YES!! I have not been able to travel for a long while. If I could, I dearly wish to take Jorge to Costa Rica as it is amazing. We both want to do the Amalfi Coast and even though I’ve been to India three times, I would love to take him there too. However, those trips aside, if I could, I want to ride across the Andes from Chile to Argentina, that is a four week trek!! Eek!!

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Interesting…… be invisible? But I think that would cause me a lot of headaches and get me into trouble.

How are your sewing skills?

Ah, sadly somewhat lacking. I have tried to learn to sew many times in my life but did not really achieve anything. I am a complete beginner. Katherine does teach us all on a monthly basis. My ambition sadly does not match my ability, but I persevere! In fact I absolutely adore the quilts and the whole world that it has opened up for me.

Thanks for chatting with us Louise. Look out for our next staff member interview.

Three of us ladies here, (Charlie, Rachel & Louise) all have boy children.  The three eldest are all in the same year at College, whilst the younger two are close together at primary school.  With the half term holidays looming all three ladies pulled together to take it in turns for a childcare day.  Louise took them to the otter sanctuary and the beach.  Rachel took them to the movies and Charlie took them swimming. (I think Charlie got the short straw!).  It is also a tradition at Quilt Direct for Katherine to include the children for an afternoon in the Studio during holidays.  She had in mind a creative Halloween project. This was to make double sided motifs and hang them together to create a window garland for trick or treat night.

This is what we did:-

Katherine, Louis and Charlie had a lot of fun deciding which fabrics to use and there were  few “squeals of delight” when they hit upon another fabric find.  We had stars for the witch’s hats, spotty metallic for the spiders, silver metallic for the ghosts and various other contrasting fabrics for the circles.

We needed first to prepare the applique components and we did this by cutting “Steam and Seam 2 sheets” to match the size of the fabric.  We then pressed this to create a tacky side to the fabric and then put on warm and natural cotton batting.  Making a sandwich of two pieces of fabric with the batting in the middle.  We then steamed the whole piece together for 16 seconds.  Katherine stressed that it was important to steam the sandwich not iron it, at this stage,  as the steam is actually what sets the piece.

The boys then used a ruler and measured each die that we were going to use and calculated how many shapes they could fit into the sandwiches that had been prepared. Katherine explained the mathematical way to calculate this.  They used the Accuquilt GO Halloween Medley. They cut the motifs using the Accuquilt GO Big Fabric Cutter.

Much fun was then had by all assembling the garlands.  We found that stringing them together didn’t work too well at first and concluded that we needed a spacer.  Charlie was all for popcorn, but it was decided that pasta quills would work better as a spacer.  So off to the shops to get some pasta and some sweets.   Using a large needle and fishing line, Louise then strung them all together. 

We all think that they look amazing and so much fun.

Click on the link below to see all our Accuquilt products.



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