Hi everyone, I am spending time learning to sew and making facemasks for the hospitals. They asked for volunteers to make these due to shortage. I spent several days trying to hand-sew masks. It was so time consuming. So I bought a $99 sewing machine from Walmart and have been learning to use it by making facemasks. I still can't reload a bobbin so I bought preloaded bobbins. I haven't sewed since I was in home economics class in 8th grade. I plan to donate these 11 facemasks tomorrow at a local hospital. They have a drive-through lane for donations.
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@mayofeb2020 Nice to know I am not the only one taking my car out to stretch its wheels. With the weather warming I am now getting back to my morning walks. One of my neighbors wanted to make a face mask so I printed off the pattern from CDC with the instructions and an explanation of how to properly wear one. She proudly presented me with one and said she did it her way. I thanked her kindly and had not the heart to tell her it was useless.
Hi everyone, I hope everyone is OK and coping with shelter in place. I have been coping by working on new facemask designs. One is DIY surgical mask with shopping bag material and cotton. The other is all cotton but has yarn instead of hard to find elastic for earloops. Personally I think it's helpful to direct one's mental energy into something that takes focus. To me focusing on facemasks makes the stress of worry, boredom, grief easier to deal with. I see up a little workshop on my 4 season porch. It's my happy place.
@ihatediabetes Me too! We have needed so many masks for our friends and neighbors in our RV park. Last 2 weeks we made and gave away almost 50, then ran out of masks and supplies. Friday a fabric store in town was able to resupply me with a phone order and curbside pickup, but no elastic or binding to be had. My arthritic hands were screaming from producing over 1 1/2 yd of bias per mask, so in desperation I had a brainstorm last night and it worked.
Still making the pleated facemasks of heavy quilting cotton with ties not earloops because they feel better and are easier to remove safely. Tried the shaped one, but a lot more work, and since these are for occasional use, they are the easiest and most universal.
The new ties are made from a recycled heavyweight t-shirt! Simple, effective and comfortable to wear. Here's how:
Cut off the lower hem, then cut the t-shirt into 1" wide strips going around the shirt – this is the stretchy dimension. Cut 11 to 12 in pieces of the strips (one XL t makes about 4 ties strips per circle of fabric. Stretch the ties and they will curl in on themselves, tie a knot in one end , fold the other end in half and insert into the side seams of the mask where you would put elastic or bias tape. The t shirt fabric doesn't ravel, so no hemming or seaming needed on the ties.
Today 4 of us made 15 masks in just over an 1 1/2 hours, about 25 minutes per mask. The old way, it would have taken 2 of us at least that long just to make the ties before we started on the masks.
I always love it when a seemingly crazy idea actually works out.
Next task – improving prototype scrub caps for our daughter's ER nurses. Pretty happy so far, just need to streamline the process for multiple worker. Community connections matter! A friend of a friend has a donated box of elastic coming later this week. The masks will be ready to insert the elastic when received & mail out.
All this really helps the hours pass. We are working at 3 tables and an ironing board spaces ur on my covered patio.
Stay calm, stay safe & stay busy.
Latest face mask report from South Texas – When last I wrote, our small group had made 50 masks, and were running low on supplies. Last week, 3 chance connections sent us back into production. Since then, we had made and given away another 30 or more to people who live in our community because mask wearing in public is mandatory here, and sent some to friends and relatives around the country.
The latest story:
First, the local quilt Mom & Pop shop was allowed to operate as long as nobody else entered the store, so I was able to place a phone order for curbside pickup of an assortment of fabric.
Second, a "friend of a friend" posted that she knew someone willing to donate quantities of lingerie elastic for mask making and we quickly said "Yes, please!" That led to a large box of elastic being brought to my patio to be wound into hanks, sorted and delivered to 4 groups of sewers. We entertained several workers for a couple of hours – with neighbors watching from afar – as we untangled, cut, wound and batched…
Third, the school district where my summer home is located reported in a community involvement meeting that they had no masks for the workers providing care to the children of essential workers, kids coming to them every day after being exposed to medical, first responder, and retail worker parents at home.
So we went back into the mask-making business Friday and Saturday, with "Sue's Sweat Shop" (my brother's name for it) in full-fledged operation on my patio. At the end of the day, we had (again) depleted our fabric supply – we're down to hand-sized scraps. We have now made over 150 masks, and will be sending 50 of them out tomorrow to the first school that responded. They will be accompanied by wearing, removal and washing instructions.
It feels wonderful to be able to do something productive in this stressful time. We know homemade masks aren't perfect, but we worked hard on a design that it quick to make, easy to fit to a variety of faces, sturdy, and relatively comfortable to wear. We have refined the design to include a nose wire, open top for inserting a filter, and around-the head elastic (all-day wearers almost all find the ear loops too uncomfortable for full-time wear.)
Has anyone else found willing takers for masks? Where are you finding supplies?
Our factory is closing now as we prepare to return to our distant homes. It has been such a great experience that we will undoubtedly be looking for a new service project for next winter. And I have no doubt that I will be a "factory of one" producing more masks from my abundant supply of fabric when I get home.
Sue in MN
Safe travels back home @sueinmn.
@sueinmn You and your fellow sewers are doing a great service. Your backs and arms must be aching. I am still making masks but not at the rate as earlier. I took a bagful to my dermatologist when i had my MOHS procedure done. I have more fabric than will ever be used in my lifetime, so no issue there. I also have elastic, bias tape, yarn, soft cotton rope. Just need more energy.
Bless their hearts, some ladies volunteered and stepped up in our little town, to make masks, but then found out they really didn't know what they were doing. So some of the rest of us had to re-do or take their unfinished pieces and complete the task.
We are finding more and more people rebelling about wearing masks/gloves, and staying home ;((
@sueinmn, I so appreciate what you and others are doing to make and supply those very needed and much in demand masks. Thank you!
Thank you for what you're doing to help healthcare workers. I'm a beginner sewer also and can relate to "nightmare " projects that I took on. I'll try your pattern, thanks.
I have a question to anyone making masks. What are you using for a metal nosepiece, if you're using one? Thanks.
@lesflowers I am not using a nosepiece in the masks I make.
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