Who am I? How did I get started making masks? What became my goal for my masks?
Who I am...
My husband and I have been married since 2003. I worked till I had kids, then decided to become a Homemaker. I’m now a mom of three very energetic boys, of which are Homeschooled. I am an Adventurer Club Director in the LRC. My husband is a Pathfinder Club Director. We have kids over at our house quite frequently. We enjoy family, friends, church fellowship, Club Ministries, and Camping. My husband owns and runs his business from home. So...we are together...a lot! LOL!
I had learned how to hand and machine sew from my mom in my tweens and also from Home Ec. class in High School. I have also hand sewn many Club patches onto Pathfinder and Adventurer sashes, along with hemming many club pants. I’ve also made my own diaper bag, and have done a few other sewing things in the past but not a lot. I have been wanting to learn how to quilt for a few years and started to gather material to make a couple nautical quilts for the masterbed and another couple for a guest bed. So, I saw that the Ferdinand Public Library, was putting on a quilting class one day a week for four weeks with Becky Fuller as our instructor. I jumped on it immediately. My husband working from home and my kids being homeschooled, allowed me to take the quilting class in Sept. 2019. Becky taught us how to make a quilt by machine sewing from start to finish. It was AWESOME!!! I fell in love with quilting, and have become a fabric addict. I have finished five quilts so far, am working on two baby blankets currently, and have about 10 or more other quilt projects lined up (even have most of the fabric for) to do after the baby quilts are done.
So, when this whole COVID-19 thing started to go down, I was noticing the “shortage” of masks and the pull from sewers/quilters making masks for hospitals and such. Near the end of March 2020, I decided to make masks for my community friends and family for free from the scrap material left over from the first four quilts I did. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I am from a family of nurses...dad, aunts, uncle, cousins, grandmothers, and great parents ALL NURSES! So I clearly get the gist of the importance of masks, washing hand hygiene, virus spreading, etc. I was even going to take Nursing in College before life took me another direction. I really enjoyed making the masks for my friends/family and putting patterns together, that’s the most fun part (grin). Some of my friends and family gave me donations for the masks to help out with getting more material for making more. And that’s what I did, I got more material, started a Facebook Group Page to expand it to more of the local community and other friends/family. People started asking me how much I was charging for them. So I figured up a price. It’s now expanded to a website, because there is still a great need for masks. Did I mention I’m a Fabric Addict and that finding the perfect pattern to match another brings joy to my life?! It’s so FUN!
I scoured YouTube for How To videos on making masks, probably watched over thirty videos with many different ways and styles to create a mask. I wanted an easy pattern to cut and sew. I wanted a mask to have a filter pocket and a bendable nose piece for a better secure fit. I wanted them to be machine washable and dry-able...I’m a busy mom, I don’t have time to handwash these. I found a few patterns I liked and meshed them together to create what I wanted. That’s how I came up with my pleated style fashion mask, it covers most of your nose and down to around your chin with very little gaps, the nose piece, when fitted right, makes a nice seal for glasses wearing people. The biggest problem was getting elastic, it was mostly bought up. I fortunately found, probably the last, 200 yard roll of 3/8” swimwear elastic. It’s really nice elastic, by Dritz, latex free, natural cotton. But with it being 3/8” and not 1/4” or 1/8” like the people that scarfed up all of those sizes before me, made the elastic more durable, but not as giving and stretchy. So, I had to make each mask customized to their face size so that it wouldn’t pull on the ears too badly. Most I got right, some I didn’t, but they are so kind and didn’t have the heart to tell me they didn’t fit. But now, elastic is being restocked, and I have some very nice and stretchy 1/4” elastic. I have also found a way to make the elastic adjustable. Some people, especially nurses, prefer straps or ties instead of elastic. So I now have that option as well, made from soft twill ribbon tape. I will be experimenting with cotton spandex and t-shirt material for straps as well soon.
My mom has asthma and kinda gets claustrophobic when wearing any mask, and gets nervous especially when going to doctors appointments, which causes her to feel she can’t get enough air with a mask on. So I went back to YouTube for a different style, and tried Cricut, Olson, and Jesse Killian Style masks. But they all weren’t very comfortable and the seam down the middle would make my nose hurt only from trying them on, some had lots of gappy areas, and all were very high near the eyes. So I meshed all three of them together and have made twelve different modifications to the designs, and have finally come up with a very comfortable, gap free, lower around the eyes, full coverage, extremely breathable mask that can be used with elastic or straps, that also doesn’t fog up glasses. It has a bendable nose piece and the option for a washable non-woven filter material to be sewn in (now hard to find, out of stock everywhere). I call them the Sabra Shell Mask. The Sabra Shell style uses twice the fabric than the pleated style, is harder to cut, but easier to sew. And they are so very comfortable and breathable, after I gave it to my mom to try on, she wore it for around thirty minutes or more without feeling like she couldn’t breathe. She only took it off, because I wanted some pictures of her with all the other masks I made for her. Others are requesting the Sabra Shell Masks now because they are so much more comfortable. When wearing one, it hardly needs readjustment and can be worn for hours without discomfort.
My goal now, is to keep up and provide masks for all seasons and occasions such as -
- Back to School
- Healthcare Workers, i.e. nurses, doctors, EMT, etc.