I sewed two face masks using bandanas for the fabric and two different patterns I found on the internet. I used to do a lot of sewing, including making many of my clothes, but in recent years I have only used my sewing machine for mending.
Fabric stores used to have large selections of beautiful wool and other good quality cloth for making garments. Today most of the fabric for sale is polar fleece, and cotton for quilting. The clothing industry has changed so that buying clothes is relatively cheap, which is related to “fast fashion”, a topic for another blog post. One reason I do not sew much any more is that it is hard to see that tiny hole in the needle.
My mom was an excellent seamstress and I started learning from her at a young age. When my junior high home economics class was hemming dish towels and making aprons, I had already made simple garments at home.
When I was about 11 or 12 years old, my mom and grandma bought some of the inventory from a sewing store that went out of business. After that we had entire display cases of thread and drawers full of zippers and seam binding in the basement. Any time I needed thread for a project, I went downstairs to pick out the right color. I still have some of the thread and zippers leftover from those days.
For my high school graduation present my parents gave me an Elna Lotus compact size sewing machine. The Elna Lotus machine did not have any fancy attachments or stitches, but it was well built and reliable, and has served my purposes to this day. I even used it to make my own wedding dress.
Back to the face mask project, I realized it may be necessary to have one when out and about in the coming months. I think part of the purpose for the mask is to reduce fear in other people you might have to interact with at a store. I found a couple of bandanas and some cotton fabric in my stash that would be suitable. There was plenty of elastic and thread in the house.
I researched ideas and patterns for masks online. There are many variations with a center seam or side pleats for shaping, with or without a pocket for inserting a filter, and different methods for attaching the elastic or ties. For the first one, I settled on a pattern that had a bit of shape to it and was designed for health care workers with a slot for a filter. I made a simplified version without the slot, using only one of the pattern pieces provided. Here is the link for the pattern: https://northmemorial.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/north-memorial-health-homemade-healthcare-masks.pdf
I decided to try a different pattern for the second face mask, using another bandana for the fabric. This one was basically a rectangle with pleats to give it some shape, and with the elastic sewed into the corners instead of threaded through a casing.
Sewing the elastic on makes the face mask more or less one size fits all, so for the next one I will try ties on the side instead. I hope face masks won’t be needed for much longer. I think we are all ready for our lives to go back to something like normal.