Early in March I started making protective masks. It happened accidentally. I went with a friend to visit an assisted living home for her husband. it was at the beginning of things in Michigan. You couldn’t visit people in the hospital and medical workers were having a hard time getting protective gear.

We went to the place and they gave us shoe covers but couldn’t give us masks because they couldn’t get them. I was sad for them and also worried for the residents of the facility. I had seen a tutorial to make the surgical style (pleated) and the shaped masks. I quickly found the tutorial and showed the photos. I asked them if they would like me to make some for them. They were so grateful and asked for 20 masks. I figured it out and dropped them off 2 days later thinking that would be the end of my mask making. I had used my cotton fabric and nonwoven sew in interfacing for an extra filter layer along with the bias tape in my stash.

When I brought the masks to them they said they had told their other facility and would like 40 more please. Home I went to make 40 more masks. 2 days later I went back to drop them off and they asked for another 40…

I mentioned on instagram that I was making them and requests started rolling in. When I got past the 500 mask mark I started asking for $5.00 per mask and then when I got past the 600 mark I raised my price again to $10 each which feels very comfortable for me considering materials and time involved. Around that same time I wanted to make something fun and pretty and I got out my sequin fabrics and layered them over the other layers. You all know how much I love the sparkles.

At this point I have passed the 750 mask point and I feel like an expert. I have had lots of great reviews about how comfortable they are and how easy they are to wear. I’m glad about that because I think we are going to be wearing them for a little longer when we go out in public.

I’ve thought a lot about the big Influenza epidemic of 1918 because my great grandmother died in that epidemic and left my grandfather motherless when he was 5 years old. I’ve read books about it and looked at photos. The people in that pandemic wore masks for quite a while too. I’m happy to wear a mask so that I can protect others just in case. I’m also happy I can use my sewing skill to provide masks for others who also want them. And if I can add a little sparkle at the same time then that’s not a bad thing.

Check out my shop if you need a mask of your own. If you want to try making a mask of your own check out the highlights on my Instagram page for a step by step lesson. My instagram name is @bethsmithtextiles.

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