Saturday, April 18, 2020

Create What You Love

Seven weeks ago I bought this magnetized pin holder when we were just starting our rental month in an adorable house in north Naples, FL.  At that time it seemed like it was an encouraging message to create the things you love.  More than a month later I think it means create the life and world that you love and that's something deeper, more thoughtful and more hopeful.

Eloquent people are writing about quarantine, politics, the anger, fear, sadness, empathy, caring, even the hidden gifts of isolation.  Me, I’m not so full of wisdom at a time like this.  Instead I'm going to share what's happening in my little corner of the world because a few non-sewing friends have asked about masks and many friends are sharing how they are managing social isolation and more ideas are always better.

The masks I've made and donated through local Domesticity Studio Domesticity Studio Baltimore Maryland per local hospital requests have followed a pattern put out by Red Poppy Red Poppy Mask tutorial (version C for hospitals) which I used because the hospital approved it.  But I made some slight variations for the ones I am now making in mini-assembly line.
Hospital donation pile

I struggled for a little while (my powers of concentration are definitely suffering) because I wanted a more streamlined system for making these en masse.  Here's my procedure...yours may differ, of course.

I batch cut out a dozen masks at a time and I use the men's version unless it is for a very small woman or child. For these giveaway masks I don't use elastic...hard to find and hard to wear all day.  Instead I cut 1 inch strips of knit fabric (sewers have knit fabric, non-sewers just cut up an old t-shirt...finally a use for all that wasteful fast fashion) pull the fabric to form a rounded cord.
Fabrics for this batch are cotton shirtings from last summer's enormous haul at Fabric Mart A S___load of Shirting  and cotton batik also from Fabric Mart, both tightly woven premium fabrics. And I have yards of knit fabric in my resource center at any given moment.  

I serge that center seam and the sides although they can be sewn just as easily.  Serging is just quicker and then Mr. Lucky is helpful since he cuts apart the chain stitched pieces.

Then it's back to the sewing machine to assemble.  Turn under the lining side seams for a finished edge. 

Sew the front and lining right sides together along the top ridge and bottom chin area. Trim the seams to be uneven for easy topstitching after turning.
Top of mask seam sewn, trimmed and top intersection trimmed.
Turn mask right side out.  Edgestitch the top seam and the bottom seam to hold the seams in place.  Sew a channel 3/8 along the top of the mask, about three inches on either side of the center seam.  This channel will hold a removable wire so you can seal the top of the mask closely along the bridge of your nose.
Front of mask with edgestitching along top and bottom and 3/8 " channel for wire
Now turn the side seams in by 1/2 inch and stitch down to form a channel for the ties.
You'll notice on the pattern picture above I added a 1/2 more width to the original pattern piece.  Must be my plump squirrel cheeks but I wanted everyone to have more face coverage all the way towards their ears.)
Mask with side seams stitched into 1/2 channel...and optional knit fabric to go in the pocket
Insert knit ties or elastic with a helpful safety pin.

I used two strands of thing floral wire...and only my PAPER scissors to cut the wire

Now learn how to use a face mask properly or you've defeated the purpose.  How to put on and remove a face mask

For sewing friends, this process is almost second nature and many of you are churning out one version of several that are requested.  I'm looking at a few other variations that I'll be making and using in the coming months.  Yes, I think masks will be the new fashion statement for quite awhile and I'm ok with that for your safety, my safety and the safety of all the people working to keep us healthy and fed and clean.  I'll post about those as I start to make more for our household and for friends but here are some links that I think are useful.  
Trend Patterns sew along and pattern
Neoprene mask...but please don't turn it inside out
Custom size masks at Free Sewing

I have worn my mask a few times when I've gone out for my almost daily three or four mile walk and was fairly happy with the result.  The nose wire let it fit my face closely enough that the mask moved when I breathed deeply which I have heard is a sign of a decent seal...note that I'm not a medical person nor do I play one on TV, just want to protect you and me in public places.
The mask did move with breathing and didn't fog my glasses on my walks

But I'm not able to sew these all day long.  It makes me too afraid and especially too angry.  So I did reach a point where I was ready to sew some things for myself.  These two projects were cut out and part of my Florida sewing plans.  Since we packed up early and left town weeks before our rental ran out, I had them ready to pick up and complete in Baltimore.  

Since April has been quite chilly, I appreciated having this Hatchi animal print fabric to make another Pamela's Pattern Draped Front Cardigan. Draped Front Cardigan  

I've had luck in the last year underlining several knits and did it again with this cardigan, underlining the front and back pieces with a thin maybe swimwear lining fabric from Fabric Mart.  I basted them together inside the seam allowances after cutting out both fabrics.  After stitching them as one, just serged to finish but that wasn't even necessary since knits don't ravel.

Hatchi knits are nice but since they are thin they can be a bit "sticky" and having to tug down on a top or cardigan all day is annoying.  The knit underlining just gave it wonderful body and drape and it skims over jeans and leggings.  

Pamela and I were on the same wavelength last year because she just wrote an article about that technique in the #206 December, 2019-January 2020 issue....doesn't that feel like a decade ago already. 

And then it was time to tackle something for the coming warm weather, another Burda 6809, this time in a silky all cotton Tori Richard fabric from Fabric Mart.  

Uneven mitered side hems

Vintage lace seam trim which I found while looking for elastic to use and donate to other mask makers

Why is this girl laughing in the midst of a global pandemic?  While Mr. Lucky was taking this shot and I was holding the mask I made for myself with this coordinated lining, he told me he thought it might have been the bikini bottom I would be wearing this summer.....big needed laughs from all of us, right?

And if you can stand more mask making humor, check this out...

Here's hoping that you are creating what you love.  No, I don't like creating masks but I do like creating what I see in my neighborhood, community, state and world...hope, helpfulness, persistence, compassion, determination, generosity.  Next time let's share how we are distracting ourselves when we can.  

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