As many of you know, I live in New Zealand, which is one of the countries doing pretty well pandemic-wise. But we are nonetheless encouraged to have masks on hand (actually, on face) when at close quarters with strangers at Level 2 or above, just as we are encouraged to have emergency supplies stashed about the place in case a big earthquake takes out all our infrastructure.
Now, there are, it turns out, some people who get huffy when asked to wear a mask. I am not one of them. I am always happy to don a mask and slip anonymously through the streets of the city. (Or at least, what would be anonymously if there was anyone else round here who dressed like me.) I mean, come on! This is your chance to let your inner superhero out for an airing at last, without people casting doubt on your adulthood. Masks are awesome.
But the rather elderly masks the Caped Gooseberry and I have been using so far (acquired in the distant past for protecting lungs while sanding or somesuch) are disposable, not tremendously well-fitted, and frankly not at all flattering. Sewing machine to the rescue!
The first mask I’ve made is for the Caped Gooseberry, one designed (not by moi) with a separately sewn nose-piece to allow for the continued wearing of glasses without condensation-induced blindness.
The WHO’s currently available research leads them to recommend three layers, one non-absorbent (e.g. polyester or polyblend), one “non-woven” (interlining) and one absorbent (lining). Unfortunately my sewing brain recognized non-woven as meaning knitted, so this first mask has a lining of cotton flannel (soft and absorbent – check!) with an outer of finely-woven cotton (not quite as per spec) and an interlining of soft knitted fabric. (But it’s still enough to make blowing out a flame very hard, even at very short distances.)
Or, reading from inside out, repurposed winter pajama top, repurposed undershirt, and repurposed summer pajama trousers. For added reuse points, I snaffled the drawstring off the trousers and made them into ties, and the wire which the Caped Gooseberry contributed for facial fit is upcycled as well. Even the bias binding which covers it is a remnant of ancestral stash. And the elastic (hard to come by in these mask-conscious days) was a gift from a friend.
But now I know that when the WHO says “non-woven” they mean something like interfacing, which is neither woven nor knitted, just, I dunno, extruded from a machine or somesuch. Fortunately, in the depths of my fabric stash I have managed to find a remnant of interfacing which wasn’t heavily laden with glue, thus aiding continued respiration.
Next up: an interfacing’d mask for moi, lined with a nice plain cotton and outered with a sort of autumnal floral. Which is a very slippery fabric, so here’s hoping I can make it work without deciding that it would be simpler to Never Leave The House Again.