Man, what a 202o, right?
I don't know if I have much to say, other than with all things considered, I'm in a comfortable place. I've got food, my dog has food, I have internet and electricity, I live in California, and my plants are good.
Low bar, but pretty high for so many our there. Thinking about them keeps me up sometimes, and with all the ways people are trying to help, trying not to lose their homes, and not get sick, we still trudge on.
When this all started, I was inundated like I'm sure most people who sew were, "Are you making masks?" At first, I looked online for a couple of days for places or even businesses where I could donate my time. I wasn't going to make masks out of my own material because it was pointless.
I was looking, emailing, even calling to see if I could get medical materials sent to me, make them, then send them back. I felt that was one of the only ways with the limited power I have, to actually help. Because side from the theater of wearing it to make yourself or others feel good, the homemade stuff didn't really do anything.
But then things got worse, and here in California, you are required to wear a face covering or you can be refused service.
I've only been out once since that order came down last week, and I wore one of my scarves trippled over. But with all the constant talk of masks, I reached out to one of my friends who works in the medical field and asked his opinions on the entire matter.
He told me that yes, home masks don't do much, but it's better than nothing, and if you are going to make them, use three layers of a tightly woven cotton, and a nose bridge to secure a tight seal around the face.
Okay, now I had something to go on.
I was grateful for the insight, but sad too. It makes me think of all the medical personnel who wear garbage bags! Ugh, the whole thing feels like a dropped ice cream cone in sand.
So I decided to look at these masks and see if I can make it the best mask I can with what I have.
I downloaded some random pattern online which was way too large for my face. I cut it down and altered it and was ready to go.
The good thing is, since I primarily work in natural fabrics, I had a lot of remnants cotton to use.
I used a cotton novelty print for the outside, a cotton sateen for the inside, and a cotton jersey (T shirt) for the third layer. Now, I left a pocket between the jersey and the sateen so if someone wanted, they would put in some sort of filter.
The problem is, trying to breathe through all that stuff is a challenge, especially with the nose guard.
I wanted a wire that would be pliable, but bendable multiple times. I remembered I had some gardening wire that was encased in plastic, giving it softness and ease to bend.
From there I had some elastic and did a small gather at the jaw, making that seal extra-sealing.
Shoe strings for the ties for around the back of the head, and there you go.
One friend told me this was basically the Hong Kong mask, that had a blockage rate of around 60-70%. Oh, I guess my pocket for a filter was on to something.
I mailed my friend some, and gave other friends the rest.
For a problem solving exercise, this was satisfying. If I could work in the proper materials, and if it were needed, I'd totally make more.
That's it right now on my end. I've been sewing and trying to find some work. Drawing and reading and yes, more pattern making.
I hope people are doing well and taking deep breaths.