My Endeavors in Mask Making During CoVID19
So I’m in a dream. I wake up one day, 4 students at my college are exposed to CoVID, I email my professor asking if he can tell me they aren’t cancelling classes today before I drive all the way there. He confirms. I go to class. 2 minutes after I get out of class, the school sends out an alert that they’re closing.
My senior year of college feels more and more like my senior year of high school. All of my classes are online. I haven’t left my house in days (really, weeks), I don’t know what day it is, I haven’t worn real clothes in a month.
My days are spent studying and sewing fabric face masks because nobody is allowed to go out in public without one. My summer classes just got moved to online. Gucci and Prada are making designer face masks.
How does the dream end? I don’t know, because apparently this is real life. College is cancelled, everyone is sent home and learns very hard material on Zoom calls and with very little guidance from professors (my one professor didn’t own a computer before CoVID), the state is on lockdown, and there’s no end in sight.
Yeah, you know how it goes. You’re living it too. So why am I writing this? Why is my experience special? It’s not. However, there’s one piece about this whole dream or unfortunate reality that stuck out to me. Prada and Gucci are making designer face masks.
If you’re surprised that’s what I found to be the most ridiculous, you have a lot to learn. But, this seemingly irrelevant, silly piece of information is what peaked my interest enough to get me making fabric masks myself. And boy, it’s been an adventure.
The making of a fabric mask
So after a solid week of people slowly nudging me toward making some masks, I decided to give it a try. It’s not like I was busy. I didn’t have anything important to do. It’s not like there’s an abundance of masks available. So I headed over to Facebook and found a great tutorial and got to work.
This super great, easy tutorial made me cry. Twice. I don’t want to blame the maker, it was a great tutorial. But I could not understand it if my life depended on it. I was hesitant to make masks because my experience making supplies to send to the wildlife rescues in Australia was so stressful – I needed it to be exactly as directed or it would be terrible. What if they couldn’t use it? What if I was Elon musk sending CPAP machines thinking they’re ventilators? What if my project made to help an animal in need hurt them!?
And then I remembered that we’re in a pandemic. I don’t think they’re going to measure every part of my masks and send them back if it’s not identical to the instructions. They’re not going to fire me. They’ll take what they can get and I just need to calm down.
So after my 4ish hours of stress and panic and tears, I threw the instructions out the window and got to work. Here I am, 10 days later with 30 masks made!
If you were hoping this article would tell you how to make them, sorry to disappoint. However, I really like using Tik Tok for anything but it’s intended purpose and I made a video of how I make the masks myself. It’s in this very fast, messy format because it doesn’t have to be perfect! You cut some fabric (8x14in), sew it together, flip it, pleat it, sew it, attach some ties, sew something to make the ends look pretty and there you go.
Very fast developments
I really really didn’t want to sell masks. I wanted to make a bunch and donate them to the hospital or anyone I knew that needed them. I strongly felt that if I sold them, I would be profiting off of the pandemic. Of course, I can’t leave my house, so I can’t be profiting off of it that much, but it didn’t feel right to me. But I had a lot of peoole coming to me asking to buy some and insisting they pay, which I appreciated. I wasn’t sure what the best approach was here.
Before I decided to sell the masks, I shared my Venmo on twitter and asked for people to send a spare dollar or two they had lying around in their account to help me get more supplies. I only had enough fabric for 40 masks total, and I had made 25/40 as of last night. This morning I woke up to a kind stranger sending me enough money to get an overwhelming amount of supplies.
So after a lot of overthinking, I decided I would sell the masks, BUT I would donate a mask for every mask purchased. This way I’m able to make enough money to continue getting supplies and still doing what I originally wanted, donating supplies.
I felt as good as possible about my decision. I have received a lot of support and I’m happy that I have the resources to do something useful during such a difficult time. I am now over the moon with even more good news. I spoke with Timebomb Tattoos in Frederick this evening and they have an abundance of blue shop towels they won’t be using that are recommended for face masks. They agreed to give me 4 rolls, which is enough for 50 masks that are safer and more effective than the fabric mask coverings. Thanks to Timebomb and their resources, I can now donate a mask made with better, safer materials to the hospital for every mask I sell.
I’m sharing the link to my masks below on Etsy. If you work in the healthcare field and prefer one of the more heavy duty masks, reach out to me! And if you need a mask and can’t afford one or find one, send me a message. The beauty of donating one for every one sold is that I can share these extras with whoever needs them.
Stay safe, stay healthy and try not to lose your mind.
A bump in the road
This morning (4/4) I woke up to see that my entire order from Joann Fabric was cancelled. I ordered $50 worth of fabric yesterday and it was so cute. I was so excited. The email said that an item had been cancelled, but really it was the entire order. I’ve emailed Joann’s to ask if they can tell me if they are not shipping fabric right now or what’s going on, but this means that I will have at least another 2-3 days without fabric.