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I purchased a sewing machine when my daughter was two. I had this idea I was going to sew her one of those adorable dresses you see in whimsical toddler photos. I had the pieces cut and pinned to the fabric after I found the perfect pattern and material combination.
I don’t know the circumstances behind this, but the pinned fabric remained folded up in a lined wicker basket untouched until I recently raided my fabric bins to make face masks. My daughter is 9 now. Hand-to-face, total walk of shame. Although, in my defense (doesn’t help the dress situation, just the sewing machine purchase) I have used my machine to hem pants, make a poodle skirt, and mild sewing repairs.
I asked my daughter if she wanted to help make face masks and she was super excited to learn to sew. We washed the fabric to sterilize it and found an easy PATTERN. I had her pick out the fabric she wanted for her mask. It was the made with love, only never made, but still loved childhood dress material. We were ready to start sewing. The first mask we made was too small, even for her. We’ll tweak it for her American Me doll. The second we made was too big. Although, this one fit my husband. He took it to work the next day. Girly material and all – he’s proud of his little girl.
We took a break from sewing. We had it on the slowest setting, so we didn’t sew little fingers, and let’s just say it took us awhile. My daughter needed to release energy. I was on the phone with my mom, and we were talking about the masks we were making. My mom was making some as well to donate. She sent me the pattern she was using. I added my Cricut machine to the mix since there was a file format I could use to cut the pattern out. My daughter and I were ready to redeem ourselves.
She picked out a different material this time for her mask. We had a few trials, but we didn’t give up. It was a success. We chose to cut down a dusk mask we had to place inside as the filter. This was a good thing for us, because at the time I didn’t have the right size elastic, so we were able use the existing elastic. My daughter LOVES her mask. It isn’t too big for her little face like the dust mask was. Similar to the porridge in Goldilocks and The Three Bears, our mask was made too small, too big, and then just right! 😊
We made one for my Mother-In-Law because she loves red and I had a beautiful red fabric. In attempt to make the sewing easier for my daughter we revised the process and it worked! That is until we were ready to put the filter in. We had closed the center and couldn’t slide the filter through. I suppose we could cut a filter for each side and add our own elastic, but I made a new one for her. Done for the night.
I took a break from sewing. I’m not going to lie. I kept my cool with my daughter near, but I was getting a bit frustrated. I should be able to sew these patterns effortlessly. The project is estimated to be about 25 minutes and you can imagine it was slightly (aright, exceedingly) longer than that. I hadn’t sewed a real project in so long, it was worse than learning to ride a bike again! I wanted to make more masks to donate, but I was really upset with my sewing skills. That is, until I was talking with a coworker who is high risk. He has been using a bandana, although I am sure it was the “stick ‘em up” fold and not folded the way the Surgeon General recommends HERE. I told him I’d make him one.
I pulled the fabric out again and started my quest all over. I made one and sewed the front liner on backwards. I was so frustrated. I didn’t feel like taking out the stitching, although I may after I calm down a bit. Take two. I successfully made another one. I watched this VIDEO and it really helped me. Although I took a lot longer than she did. When my husband came home, I couldn’t resist having him try it on. I liked this pattern better than the one he was using. It looked so good on him, I told him to use it instead. I had 3 days before I saw my coworker. I was feeling a little more confident with my sewing skills.
The next two days I worked on mask making. I struggled with a lot of errors. I made them too small, inside out (again, seriously I don’t know what my brain is thinking!!!), and some that were just right. I was able to make extra for my hubby to take to his job and hand out. I am getting used to operating the sewing machine again. I am ready to continue to make some more!
I am happy I am getting better. My essential job just became non-essential last night and now I am able to make more masks to donate. I am super excited to be able to help!
We are in this together!