The 2020 Face Mask Project
In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had become very real. By mid-March, Mayor Quinton Lucas put a mask order in place for Kansas City (I was so relieved!), and I decided to make face masks and donate them to my community. I hadn’t sewn very much in recent years, but my industrial Singer was ready and waiting, and I was willing. I first used my modest stash of cotton fabric, then put out a request on Facebook to any friends or neighbors who might want to contribute their extra fabric and thread to the cause. I believe every one of us feels a pull to be a part of something greater than ourselves, and this proved to be true. I received fabric, thread, and monetary donations that I used to buy elastic from a supplier in Texas.
By the time I finished in mid-August, I had made and donated 3,568 masks to friends, family, neighbors, non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, and community groups. I gave them to anyone who asked.
Fun fact: During this time, I joined a couple of face mask groups on Facebook in order to see what other people were doing. In one of the conversations, someone asked what machines people were using. I took a photo and commented that I thought my machine might be older than anyone else’s—maybe from the 1930’s or ’40. Someone responded that I could find out its actual age by Googling a website that showed the dates of manufacture for all Singer machines. I was absolutely flattened to match my serial number to a date of November 29, 1910! That’s my birthday...40 years before I was born.
I have plans to make a quilt from the scraps of fabric that weren’t quite big enough for a mask. We’ll see how that works out...I’ve never made a quilt, but it sounds like fun.
There were some scraps that weren’t big enough even for using in a quilt. I stuffed them into a zippered pillowcase and made a cover for it out of a tablecloth that had been headed for the thrift shop (I wasn’t crazy about the design or colors). I was intending for it to be a dog bed to give to a shelter. However, it turned out so well (and so dense!) that I decided to use it as a reading pillow. I guess the design's not so bad, and the colors match the Benny above the bed, too.
Below are photos of my studio-turned-sewing room, a few of the process of mask making, and a whole bunch of face masks. Of course, there are a few cats in there, too. How could there not be?