I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I dug my heals into the ground, when a friend suggested to me that since I owned a sewing machine, I should be making face masks. This was around March 17th, and I had all kinds of projects in mind that I was excited to be able to have the time to work on, and this was an interruption. She told me that there were instructions online telling how to make them, so I went ahead, begrudgingly, to the internet, and found all kinds of challenges to everyone to “make a million masks”, etc. Joann’s Fabrics, had a pattern that looked good, but in my research, it seemed like the mask should have a layer of non-fusable interfacing.

I made a list of things I wanted to buy, and took off for Joann’s. The parking lot was almost empty, but the doors were open. A guy, perhaps a security guard, walked through the door, and said, “We’re closed Ma’am!”

“Oh. I was just interested in getting supplies to make masks”, I said.

“Oh! Wait, then. Well, pull up in your car and roll down your passenger window, and I’ll throw in a couple of kits!”

I did, and he did, saying that any masks I make, I could give to friends, or I could drop them off and they would be donated to hospital workers. Before I left the parking lot, I checked the two bags, and found one is for kids masks and one for adults. There were enough pieces of fabric cut for 5 masks each, along with thread and some tiny elastic! No interfacing though. I ended up ordering that online, along with some pipe cleaners to make it so that you can pinch the mask on to the bridge of your nose, giving me another excuse for putting off my project, while I waited for the delivery for a couple of days. Elastic was hard to find anywhere, but a seamstress friend gave me some of hers.

My husband has been using the kitchen table as his office, while he studies the stock market, so I figured out if I pushed his table way over to the wall, I could fit in my mom’s old keepsake card table as my work station. Rummaging through some fabric that I had bought before to possibly make a patchwork pillow, I found some pieces that I could sacrifice so I could make more masks. I ended up making 16, giving some to friends, a couple for my kids and their spouses in Brooklyn, some were sold to friends who insisted on paying me, (after all, my first ones took me 3 hours each), one was sent to a nurse in New York City, and 2 apiece for us, so we would be able to wash one, and have another to wear.

Some thoughts about masks:

  1. Women probably aren’t going to wear much lipstick for a while, because it would just rub off inside the mask. Besides, no one can see your lips anyway. Chapstick works just fine.
  2. People can’t see your mouth, and most of your face, so it’s frustrating when you realize that others can’t see you smile, or the face you’ve made. We’ll all have to make our eyes more expressive. I’m working on that, and if I put on any make-up, I just focus on my eyes.
  3. Some folks don’t believe in wearing masks. Most people do, and have you notice the leers that the non-mask wearers are given if they cough or sneeze in public?
  4. The germs that the mask protects you from are on the outside of it, so it’s important to try to not touch the outside, and to wash it by hand, in the sink with dish soap, and then hang dry, especially after a trip to the grocery store. We bring a wipe in with us to wipe off the handle of the grocery cart too, just to be safe.

One other thought…. If you’re in a supermarket that has one-way aisles, that is, there are arrows on the floor instructing everyone to walk in one direction to make it easier to keep socially distant, is it all right, if you see some jam or something right near the end of the aisle, to back in? I think so. I’ve done it. I confessed to the checker out of guilt though.

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