We’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and writing this blog post seems rather strange. I hope you and your families are keeping well and entertained. Like most, I’ve found it difficult to motivate myself and concentrate during this uncertain and surreal time. I wanted to do something practical and useful so I decided to make some face masks. There is debate on whether face masks can help contain the spread of coronavirus and there currently isn’t much evidence on how effectively face masks work, however many countries have mandated wearing masks in public places. Homemade face masks aren't a substitute for the medical grade N95 masks but they can be helpful to wear when social distancing is hard to maintain, such as in the supermarket. Face masks also act as a good deterrent to touching your face, which I do all the time.
I started sewing a couple of years ago after attending an introduction to sewing workshop with a friend. Although I enjoy sewing, the part of the process I enjoy the most is choosing the fabric. I love different fabrics, textiles and colours, so much so that i‘ve bought fabric during holidays to Germany, Japan and Ghana. I have a lot of fabric.The fabrics themselves inspire me to create rather than following set sewing patterns. I have made skirts, toiletry bags, pyjama bottoms and skirts but I haven't sewed anything (other than mending my husband's trousers) in a while.
I stumbled upon a YouTube video on how to make homemade face masks. With the exception of lots of elastic, I had the materials to make face masks. I used an oversized flannel shirt that I bought from Muji in Japan, but had never worn, as the middle/filter layer of the mask. For the mask cover a tightly woven fabric such as cotton is best. I used printed cotton from Ghana for my mask and a plain blue fabric for my husbands mask. As I didn’t have any thin elastic I improvised by using elastic from some notebooks I have. After measuring, cutting and machine sewing the masks were complete and worked out pretty well. I’ve been wearing my mask on the odd occasion that I go to the supermarket and I feel less anxious when I’m wearing it. Making the masks has been a great way to focus my attention. Machine sewing forces concentration, unless you want to puncture your finger, so it stops my mind from wandering. It’s my form of mindfulness. I also felt a sense of accomplishment from creating the masks.
There are lots of online tutorials on making no-sew and hand sewn masks if you fancy turning your hand to mask making. Please note that social distancing and frequent hand washing are the most effective ways of preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Unsurprisingly, I have run out of notebook elastic and I’m waiting for some elastic to be delivered however if you know of any UK charities accepting homemade face masks please send me an email.
Stay safe and take care.