How Could a Seamstress Not?

The Spring of 2020 might look something like this in your home.

For me it was without hesitation and with a feeling of how-could-I-not, I wanted to help where I could in our world’s crisis. What? People are sewing masks? I can do that! I chose the one man assembly line approach for production thinking I would be more efficient. At this point, many face masks have been completed . . . and delivered. Finding the pattern (there are many out there) that pleased me, locating sewing supplies around the house, obtaining twist ties from the neighbors, this has been an all-consuming project for the past few weeks. My goal was to help out the helpers. Today, I delivered a quantity of 25 to a local nursing home and a batch of 50 were packaged for the local EMTs. Neighbors, friends, and family members have been gifted.

Here you can see the stockpile as it grows into completion. Once the prototype was made substituting elastic for ties, full production began.

Products need content information. That’s when I called upon my dear BF. Together we wrote the message whereupon he designed and printed the perfect thank yous to stuff into each one.

I heard that tightly woven 100% cotton was most breathable. That cemented the fabric choice. Of course, the masks needed to be washable. Filter pockets were added to the back lining to make them as versatile as possible.

Twist ties were sewn to the top and sandwiched in between the layers of fabric. The wire helps with fit. The reason why these ties ‘work’ is they take away the strain from long lengths of time behind the ear, they are adjustable, and the fabric is cut on the bias providing a bit of give or stretch, much more comfortable than otherwise.

The entire topic of hand made masks is debatable, I realize. Not medically approved, not yet officially mandated in public, wear with a filter . . . or not . . . these are just some of the conversations being had. And I might add, down deep I am hoping these FOs (finished objects) never get worn because that would mean we, as a Nation, have enough medical supplies to do away with make shift masks OR the the data and our methodologies reveals a virus in control. The effort of thinking I could help goes way beyond that of whether these masks will be used or not, however.

Here is a recipient wearing a sunny yellow. Sure does match her personality!

And, while I was writing this post, I received this text. “My sister and brother-in-law in Rochester – I’m going to send 2 to Rochester, 2 to the judge and two to Mary Ann if you can make six and if you feel like making more I have plenty of people . . . ”

12 thoughts

  1. Aren’t you good! I made a few for us to use when we go out in public, but haven’t made more. Yet there is a demand for them… I am in charge of social media at work, and every time I post a photo of a masked staff person delivering a meal or giving a ride, the inquiries start – where do they get the masks?

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        1. Sarah, Taking this week off from sewing. I now belong to the buffaloresilience group on fb. Materials for mask making comes pre-cut, volunteers drop off and pick up after the masks are sewn. Been doing this since the virus hit. So many people coming together to help. The silver lining . . .

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You are good! Buffalo has had some rough times since I was last here, and since you wrote this. I suspect Buffalo resilience has had to work hard the past few weeks. I hope that you are well and keeping busy!

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  2. Well done! Now I’m on the hunt for knit patterns for masks, because I can’t sew. Of course, I can only knit so many, so it will be first for my family and friends. Any form of mask is better than nothing, so you’re doing your part for sure. Many people in my country are doing this too because France has not enough masks.

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    1. so difficult to comprehend how this virus has impacted every single person in our world. I hope you are staying safe. I didn’t even consider knitting masks as I didn’t think I could produce any quantity if I had. On the other hand, if for your family, that might be a way to go.

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