Mask It, or Casket
Ok, so maybe this blog title is a little dramatic. But it gets the point home. It's taken me literally months to wrap my head around the new reality and new habits that this pandemic has brought. That's why this post is in July and not back in March when the news broke. Here's what I know for now:
The following statements should not elicit a political response in my readers. If you find yourself disagreeing, this post is not for you.
Ok, with that out of the way, the point of this blog post is to provide a few mask making resources Kate and I have found.
However, Kate wasn't a fan of the somewhat baggy fit in front. After a bit more research, she found another style called the Olson Mask.
Link to the Olson Mask Pattern:
Meanwhile, I had requests from friends to make them masks. No style was specified - they just wanted them as soon as possible. I had happened to watch a YouTube video from a costumer named Angela Clayton on masks she was making for donation.
The masks that Angela are making are called A. B. Masks, made by a nurse named Jessica. Although a link to the pattern on Instructables is provided in the YouTube video description, the originator of this pattern has updated it and made a website with a free pattern download and step-by-step .gif instructions. Jessica's hobby is quilting, and she created this pattern for fellow nurses to use over N95 masks and ventilators.
The first time I tried this pattern I skipped the step of trimming the mask after basting the two pieces together. It was rather large on my face.
Here's the link to follow to go directly to the mask pattern download:
And if you want step-by-step instructions, visit the website: https://www.nursemade.co/
There is a nose dart as well as side pleats to this pattern. It was ok, but definitely fogged up the glasses if you huffed and puffed a lot. After I got through the orders from friends I set out to improve the pattern a bit by sewing the top and bottom ties together around my ears.
Many patterns I've seen have elastic around the ears but I didn't want that. The mask fits just fine without elastic. It just doesn't fit anyone else. ;)
I still had plenty of fabrics to choose from, and with a slight modification to how the nose pleat is sewn I had reversible pattern masks. The fashionista in me was secretly thrilled.
With this new batch for myself, I knew I needed to look into something that would hold its shape over my nose. I wasn't really interested in putting pockets in this pattern, and Kate had told me pipe cleaners didn't really do the job well.
So, I did something I've never done before. I clicked on an Instagram ad. The company was legit, and American. The price was ok ($0.50 per nose piece) so I took a gamble and bought the straight style from DIY Mask USA. They are small steel strips with rounded ends and holes in them for sewing. You bend into shape. So far they're very sturdy and fairly easy to work with after you've bent them over a marker for the rounded top. I stitched over the middle to keep it from riding up. And, they function as a stop for my glasses too.
The large size of this mask lets me open my mouth fully underneath for yawns, and hides my double chin. ;)
Are masks fun? Not at all. I don't like breathing in warm humid air. Even in the dead of winter when I put the covers over my head to stay warm at night I keep my mouth and nose out. But they're necessary for now.
And just like bras, I'll wear one in public for the safety of others and myself, and save the relaxing for home.
Taylor, in Teal (part 3)
Ta da! This is the trim design Taylor chose! It was secretly my favorite too, but I didn't want to impose all of my design ideas. It was a WHOLE LOT OF HAND STITCHING but since the faire was cancelled for the spring I had time.
It honestly took me a little while to work up the creative energy to get it finished. Pandemics are no joke, even if your local area isn't affected too badly. However, I even had enough trim to do the exposed chemise sleeves and the back where it laces together.
You might be wondering if the bodice laces in the back and the skirt ties in the front, how is it held together? I tried brass rings to lace them together, but it sagged weirdly. I settled on dress hooks (think hooks and eyes, but on steroids) all around. I may need to add more when it's worn.
Until the general health of the public at large clears up this is Schrodinger's dress - both finished and not. I can tell some re-fitting will need to happen with the sleeves, but I won't be able to tell what needs to happen until the final fitting. Good thing I always build in the ability for my dresses to fit through several sizes - I know I've put on a few stress eating pounds.
A message from afar...
Well, darn it. I know it's a pandemic and we all must make sacrifices. But still.
Our beloved bi-annual Great Plains Renaissance Festival was cancelled for the spring due to pandemic concerns. I must admit I was secretly glad not to have to deal with the cockleburrs and sweaty heat in unfamiliar clothes, even if I did enjoy parading around in them.
The hubs and I felt the need to connect with our friends though, especially since we live geographically further away. I suggested a short video to post to our private Facebook group page the weekend of the cancelled fair. But Kate was sheltering with our parents, away from us and away from her usual stash of costumes...
Magically, she came up with something. There's a reason friends who have had garments sewn by Kate call her the "Fairy Katemother."
Ryan and I decided to wear our coordinating Blue Bees outfits. No agonizing decision there; they were in the front of the closet, honestly. Our story for our characters has always been that we hail from the city of "War-drobe" in the land of "Spare-oom." Narnia fans will get this reference pretty quickly!
Thanks to the magic of the internet, Ryan and I were able to record our portion of the video and send it to Kate, who edited it together. Her thrown together costume was explained by saying that she had been vacationing in the Lone Islands.
Anyway, here's our little video message:
And here is Kate's outfit in a still picture. From top to bottom:
The hat is vintage 1960s from our mom. The scarf is borrowed from her as well.
The Chemise and Corset are from an earlier green and orange dress that has since been recycled into other garments.
The overdress is from my 10th wedding anniversary celebration.
The blue skirt is from middle and high school days of volunteering at a living history museum. (1870s)
The walking stick was most recently purchased to go with the blue bees dresses.
Check out our archived projects page for photos of the chemise, corset, and overdress as they originally appeared.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!