Production in the sewing room last week shifted from quilts to masks after receiving a call for them from a local quilt shop. Links to video tutorials on mask construction, tie construction (since no elastic currently exists in the city) and a .pdf of tips, hints, dos and don’ts were included with the email, so I went to work.
Five minutes into the video, I was already starting to question the construction. Further into the video, I grew frustrated at the lack of specific information about pleat formation and the vagueness about adding a filter. After attempting one mask and redoing a lot of stitching, I abandoned the recommended video and watched others (among the gazillion out there) until I found the perfect one:
It took about 2 hours to complete one mask, partly due to the requirement for pleats,
but also because of the need to make ties, which consumed most of the construction time. Had I had the right type and width of elastic, construction would have gone faster, but you work with you have.
Below is the cutting map used for making masks from a fat quarter
and for using a standard quarter yard cut of fabric:
My ties were cut 2″ wide instead of 2½” because the latter measurement just felt and looked too bulky. This also expanded fabric choices to include standard quarter-yard cuts.
As is my nature, I modified a couple of the construction steps because I thought it would result in a better mask. The first was to top stitch around the filter opening to keep the seam allowance on the inside from rolling in on itself or turning inside out after washing:
The second modification was to use the zipper foot to create a smaller casing (the instructions called for a ½” casing) for the nose wire so it wouldn’t slip around so much on the wearer:
The instructions called for a 4″ stitching line ½” from the top edge. The mask was 6″ wide, leaving a 1″ wide opening on either side of the casing for the nose wire to shift around and possibly work its way out during washing. I stitched the line as directed, increasing the stitch length so it would be easy to pull out later. After inserting the nose wire and nudging it close to the top folded edge of the mask, a second, permanent stitching line was created across the entire width of the mask using the zipper foot.
John had these chenille stems in his workshop which were the perfect length for this project.
In the end, I finished a dozen masks, donating 10 of them to the quilt shop and giving away two: one to my hair stylist and another to a friend of hers with underlying medical issues who is still reporting for work.
All said and done, my stash is down 3 yards, so yay for that! More importantly, I hope the masks are comfortable and work well for the people who use them. Thanks for checking in!