If you’d like to know more about how some people are sewing to save in Denver, Colorado, I have just the person: Linda A.
I met Linda because she left a comment on my blog letting me know I had a typo that was crucial to the details of my tutorial. And for anyone who writes for an online audience (regardless of the size of that person’s readership) when someone take the time to comment, it means something. It’s even more meaningful when they kindly let you know your tutorial needs an update.
So we struck up a ‘conversation’ and during our exchanges, I’ve learned about how she is doing what she can to contribute to her immediate family, friends, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meet A Mask Maker: Linda A
We talk a lot about the online groups and websites doing their part, which is great, but I also like to hear about individuals who are finding their own ways to contribute.
So this is the first feature of people who are supporting their communities with handmade items – whether they belong to a specific sewing group or not.
Linda, who prefers not to share a photo of herself, calls the Denver-area home. She started her mask-making efforts by sewing face masks that tie as a way to help provide protection for her immediate family and friends. She quickly found it was a great way to make the time fly. It was also a fun way to use some of her beautiful collection of batik fabrics that were a great gender-neutral option.
A Process For Making Masks & Giving Them Away
Many people wonder how long it takes when you first start out, and this is Linda’s experience:
It took about 8 hours of cutting and sewing for the first 14 masks. I make my own tapes cutting strips 2″ by 36″ across the straight grain of the fabric then folding them on the ironing board. I’m getting pretty fast at folding/ironing double fold tape, as I’m a quilter and this is the method I use for my quilt binding.
One of the things I loved most about her approach is how she ‘delivers’ masks to people while also teaching them how to wear them. This is what she told me,
When I give away the masks, I hang them in a grocery bag on the outside handle of my glass storm door. When the person comes to pick them up, I’m wearing my mask so that I can stay inside and still show them how to tie it on without breaking the social distance barrier.
I ALWAYS stress that the masks have not been washed and they must wash them BEFORE using them.
After sewing her first batch, she also made a small tweak that she feels improved the original design by adding a small dart in the center of the bottom, on the back side, so that it fits snug under the chin. The dart is so small that it can’t be felt when the mask is in place.
Per Linda’s guidance, here is how to add a dart:
- After you baste in the pleats, fold the mask down the center, bringing the sides together with the main fabric to the inside. (Be sure to open out the bottom pleat so you don’t catch it as you sew.)
- Measure 1/2 inch from the center fold along the bottom and make a pencil mark.
- Measure 1 1/4 inches up from the bottom along the center fold and make another pencil mark.
- Draw a diagonal line between these 2 marks and stitch along it, back-stitching at both beginning and end.
Sewing To Save In Denver With 80 Masks Made (So Far)
Not only has Linda been sewing masks, but she has also been making kits for neighbors to use to make their own. While batiks have been her “go to” fabric for everyday folks, she completed more than 30 masks for a local hospital from a sterile material they provided.
She has also donated over 30 masks to the drivers at the Denver RTD and hopes to donate even more .
At last count, I believe Linda has made over 80 masks!
And, as we are all learning, those 80 masks protect more than just 80 people. By wearing a mask and preventing the spread of the Coronavirus we are protecting more than just ourselves, we are also protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Every mask matters!
Share The Goods
Do you know of an individual or a group who is sewing to save and should be featured on Create To Donate? Please contact me with more information so we can continue to share stories of support and compassion during this difficult time.