COVID-19 Creativity – Protective Mask Making

Here below is Kathleen’s creative work and current experiences of life in lockdown. Another ‘window’ shared via email, this time in North America.

Greetings from the sewing corner at my house in Veneta. I have been experimenting with sewing cloth masks that are both effective (meaning that disposable filters can be inserted) and comfortable to wear. It has proven to be no easy task but you know me… I love a challenge.

So far I have made 7 masks (averaging 2 per day). My sister wants 4, the Cheshire food for Lane County group needs at least 4 for our next distribution day, and I need one. Once I have these done I may be able to get back to my original plan to make masks for the homeless shelter/mission in Eugene.

My dog and I have been good about getting out for a walk around the reservoir every day — rain or shine, and it has been mostly raining up here lately. I think we both prefer going out in the rain when we usually have the entire place to ourselves. I often take a short break from walking and sit on the “merit bench” looking out over the reservoir and the mountains beyond.

My newspaper and NPR.org reading are being reinforced these days by all of the positive stories about how people are expressing compassion and wisdom to others despite their own circumstances. One I read this morning that brought tears to my eyes was about a group of volunteers who prepare meals to distribute to homebound seniors. That was good to know about but what made it truly magical was that a local nursery/florist — overloaded with flowers and flowering plants it had no way to sell — donated hundreds of them to the group. The group then was able to deliver the flowers to everyone who was receiving meals from them. Isn’t that lovely?

I continue to hope that there may be some positive lasting change that comes out of this pandemic. If there was ever irrefutable evidence that we are all in this together, this is it!
All is well.
Love,
Kathleen

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2 thoughts on “COVID-19 Creativity – Protective Mask Making”

    1. Hi Karen. I have used 2 different patterns. One is more complicated and allows for inserting additional filters. I can only make 2 or 3 of those a day. The other pattern is much simpler and can be “mass produced.” Those are the masks in the photo. The directions are simple:
      You’ll need:
      –2 pieces of fabric 9.5 inches by 6.5 inches (preferably in different colors so that a person can keep one as front, one as back).
      — four 15-18inch long ties (can be made of fabric, or other washable material)
      Directions:
      1. Lay front and back fabric pieces, right sides together.
      2. Between them, pin in one of the ties at each corner (make sure tie ends are gathered in the center of the two fabric pieces and out of the way of future stitching).
      3. Pin around the edges, leaving an opening of 2-3 inches along one side.
      4. Stitch a 1/2 ” seam around the edges except for the 2-3″ opening you’ll need for turning everything right side out after stitching.
      5. Turn right side out and iron.
      6. Make 3 pleats (front and back together), pin and press. (Pleats of about 1/2 inch reduce the top to bottom width to approx 3.25 to 4 inches).
      7. Stitch the pleats down in place.
      8. Top stitch around all around 1/4″ from edge.
      9. Top stitch again.

      That’s it. It would be simple enough to leave an opening at the bottom of the mask so people could insert additional filtering materials. However, for most people and most circumstances these simple masks are quite adequate.

      I hope this helps!
      Bows,
      Kathleen

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