Fabric Face Masks – Production Begins

With table runners and other stuff completed, time to turn to fabric face mask production.

I started by pulling fabric from my stash. I have quite a number of “scrap bags” from Keepsake Quilting which just happen to contain 9″ (1/4 yd) coordinated fabric strips – fancy that – I need rectangles that are 9″ x 6″. I cut several strips into 6″ rectangles.

Next, I cut what non-woven fusible interfacing I had on hand into 8.5″ x 5.5″ rectangles and fused them to the back of the fabric. The 1/4″ seam allowances will be less bulky without the interfacing included and because the interfacing is fused to the fabric, it’s going nowhere. I was able to prep 56 pieces of cut fabric. Now I have to go looking for more non-woven fusible interfacing.

Fabric with non-woven fusible interfacing (as a third layer for added filtering)

A friend brought me a metre of unbleached flannel the other evening. I washed it, dried it, and cut it into 9″ x 6″ rectangles. Today I briefly stopped by her place to pick up 4 more metres (the rest of her supply). It’s been washed and is now drying. I also picked up a bunch of twist ties from her.

Flannel rectangles for inside of mask

I have been collecting twist ties from all my friends in the building and have ended up with, would you believe it, almost 140 to use at the top edge so the mask can be pinched to fit the nose.

All that’s left to do is cut the 1/8″ elastic. I need 13″ for each mask, I have nowhere enough at the moment. I ordered a roll via Amazon the other day but it’s not going to arrive quickly enough for this assembly line. I’m going to have to scrounge around the building and touch up some other sewing friends to see if I can come up with more. If all else fails I have the better part of a 100m roll of 3/8″ elastic I can use.

Elastic (as yet uncut), twist ties for fitting over nose, more cut fabric

I’m now ready to start production tomorrow and get as far as my materials will let me. I am aiming for 100 masks. That’s not going to be enough – I have requests for 20+ for family in Toronto; I have 25 friends in the building to outfit; other friends in the city. I haven’t yet contacted the hospital community to find out whether they have a shortage of face masks and could use some. If that turns out to be the case, then I will have to enlist a bunch of other sewing people to pitch in. However, I’m hoping I won’t have to turn this project into a large enterprise.

Tomorrow, I will have to set up a batch of 10 and see how I can organize production so I can arrive at a finished product with the fewest steps. I’ll report on my process.

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