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Mask making

by Janet Carson April 10, 2020 at 2:26 p.m.

My mother could sew like McCall and Butterick! This is one more talent I did not inherit. I can remember a horrible time in the 8th grade when I had to take home ec and sew a skirt. It took me a whole semester to finish one skirt. Others were knocking out outfits every week, but not me. I had bought enough fabric (mustard yellow in color) to make a skirt and a vest, but I was lucky the skirt got done. Zippers were the main undoing for me. We had to take the outfit home the day before we were supposed to wear it back to school, and my mother had to remake it because it was about two sizes too big, and of course the vest never even got cut out. That was pretty near to the end of sewing for me.

If I had anything that needed sewing, my Mother did it for me. She is the one who made all the doll clothes for my daughter, and matching holiday clothes for my kids, and sewed on all the Girl Scout and Boy Scout badges. When Mom started getting sick back in the early 2000's I asked for a SIMPLE, cheap Singer sewing machine so I could at least fix a split seam or hem something. Clay doesn't do simple and cheap, so I got a Bernina. It came with lessons, but they were taught unbelievably during the daytime. I guess they rightly assumed that a woman who worked outside the home, did not sew. I never took the lessons and I never sewed anything. About 10 years ago my friend suggested we take a basic sewing class. One very patient teacher

had three of us meet at the library in the evening with our sewing machines and we each made something. I made Katie a pair of pajama pants. Surprisingly enough, they turned out great--the pattern went two different ways on each leg,

(who knew you had to reverse the fabric when you were cutting it out) but I told her I planned it that way--and she was just sleeping in them. Luckily for me, there were no zippers involved.

Flash forward to April 2020. We have all been told to wear masks when we go out in public, and there are not many available. I have watched all the tutorials on making them from a bandana with no sewing, but I do OWN a sewing machine, and I have pieces of fabric, so I decided to sew. I got out the machine and luckily it was still threaded from when I made those pajama pants. I started sewing straight seams.

It was going smoothly until somehow the needle got unthreaded. I had to watch a you tube tutorial on how to rethread it (since I can't find the manual). I got that going and when I tried sewing over a rubberband, it jammed the bobbin. Another several you tube tutorials and I got the bobbin reloaded and working again. I ended up making six masks, all with a variety of ear pieces.

My favorite one is made from the free eye masks they give you when you fly.

I cut the elastic on one end, made a rectangular case to cover it and reattached the elastic (easier than rubberbands) and voila--a very serviceable face mask, and quite stylish.

This has been such a success, I am considering sewing my whole wardrobe from here on out--as long as everything has a straight seam and there are no zippers!


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