Sewing Masks For The Mansion

Some of the masks I made for the Aides at The Mansion

I called the small quilting shop in Salem, the town north of us.   “Hello? ” a woman’s voice tentatively answered.  I asked if I had reached the quilt shop, that I was looking for 1/4 elastic.  She sounded frustrated, “This is the quilt shop,” she said, “but I’m not allowed to be open.”

“Of course, I’m sorry,” I said, “what was I thinking?”

I was in my studio when Jon told me that one of the aides at The Mansion asked if I could make some masks.  They had run out and had been wearing the same ones and washing them.

Jon, of course, had already been online and ordered masks, but they wouldn’t come for another couple of weeks.

I had gotten emails from a couple of people with links to articles about how people are sewing masks the way women used to sew bandages during WWII.  But I couldn’t find any information on where to send the masks.

So making masks was on my mind, and now I knew where they were needed.

I pulled up a few videos on YouTube and saw how to make them.  The only problem was that I didn’t have the 1/4″ elastic for the loops that go around the ears, which the Aide at The Mansion had specifically asked for.

After calling the quilt shop, I thought of my friend and neighbor Kim.  Kim used to sew my potholders for me. She’s been sewing all her life and has a room stocked with all kinds of fabric and notions.

I didn’t even get a chance to ask her for the elastic when she told me she was sewing masks for the assisted living facility her father lives at.    She was making masks that tied on, but she found some 1/4″ elastic in a sewing box that had belonged to her Aunt.

She was happy to give it to me.

So I spent the rest of the day sewing masks.  I chose a fabric that I  knew had not been used before. I washed and dried it, and Jon brought five masks to the Mansion by the afternoon.  Then I made nine more that I’ll bring to The Mansion tomorrow.

Thanks to Kim and her Aunt I still have more elastic left so I can make more if the aides at The Mansion or anyone else needs them.

It felt good to be so useful.

13 thoughts on “Sewing Masks For The Mansion

  1. Maria, your masks are pretty (of course!) but unfortunately aren’t effective against the Coronavirus. A special fabric is necessary to be effective at screening out the virus particles. Even surgical masks aren’t the best but would probably do for the Mansion.

    ***N95 respirator masks protect from airborne particles and from liquid contamination. These are for health workers not for the general public. ***

    This is important because homemade masks will fail to protect our front line health workers. Isn’t it frightening that there’s a shortage of personal protective equipment for those that are most vulnerable and most necessary to the public’s health? We are totally not prepared for this.

    1. My intention was not about making them pretty Hazel.And I know these will not protect against the coronavirus. The aides at The Mansion are wearing paper masks not masks. They are reusing the same masks and needed something quickly to replace them so asked if I could make some which is what I did.

  2. Dear Maria, Thank you for doing this!! I’d wondered if homemade fabric masks might be valuable in some way, in some situations. They certainly can keep us from spreading common cold viruses which could weaken the immune system for something worse. Our food pantry, open by appointment, had considered doing this, also.

    1. There’s a lot of article and YouTube videos about making cotton cloth masks Annie. I too wondered who was using them. I never saw in all the information an address to send them to. I wasn’t going to make them if they were useless. But I hear more and more people asking for them.

  3. Fantastic Maria! It certainly does make you feel a little better when you can help out in any way possible during this stressful time! 🙂
    Thank you for your wonderful imagination, talent, and industriousness!

  4. Of course not but everything you make is pretty. 😉

    I just wanted you to know. I didn’t mean to criticize, just to inform.

    We all want to feel useful right now in this helpless time. And at least they’re washable and so reusable. And pretty.

    1. Thanks Hazel. And I did know that. There is so much information out there now about masks and which ones work for what. I’ve had two other people ask for a mask. One a food delivery person the other an Occupational Therapist. There’s much need out there now and as you say it feels good to be helpful.

  5. It does feel good to be useful during these trying times. I’m sewing masks for my son and some of his crew. They deliver medical supplies and are in need. When I asked about sending him washable cotton masks he said that it would be great because right now re using paper masks isn’t ideal but something is better than nothing. We are xperiencing an elastic shortage here too, I was told that the large elastic ponytail ties can be used or fabric ties. Our local veterinarians are asking for fabric masks too so the ones they would normally order can go to the hospitol workers. It warms my heart to see and hear about all the good going on during this time. I know the Mansion aides will love the masks you’ve made, they are awesome!

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