Fabric Mask Making Makes Me Grateful

My boys keep watching me and gently teasing about my “mask factory.” Every morning, for the last week I have started the day by making more fabric masks. I’m well past 50 masks completed now with several local families served. Yesterday, I also shipped out a second order to my sister who works in Buffalo, New York.  She is not on the front lines but an administrator at a local College of Nursing, needing to ensure the safety of her students, many of whom have advanced clinical placements.  If they are not fulfilling those hours now, I am sure the university is planning ways for them to do it in the future. Masks will be needed.


In truth, after making some masks for my immediate family of five out of “old” chambray button-down shirts, I started looking for fabric to make more. Locally, our Joanne Fabric store, and Michaels Craft store was not offering curbside pick up and are closed. We have a Hobby Lobby and Walmart with fabric sections. Hobby Lobby is closed. This left Walmart.  I wasn’t thrilled and it had nothing to do with the fabric options they might offer. It was just the thought of going to a big box store.  It just didn’t seem like a good idea.

So, I looked online. Joanne’s had some offerings and the shipping seemed reasonable. Hancock Fabric, a store that we used to have, also had some nice prints. I ordered from each of them. But, then, I realized it was going to be 1-2 weeks before I received the fabric. Like a small child, I wanted it sooner! I had promised my sister more masks after she received their initial shipment and I wanted to make good on the promise as soon as possible!

I turned to Etsy. As an Etsy shop owner myself, I knew there would be some shops selling fabric.  I was not disappointed! I found two shops, both based in the US, that had some fabulous fabrics!  It was hard to choose, but I did, finally after a couple of days exploring the options.  The fabric offerings are beautiful. It’s been years since I’ve sewn and I was obsessed with looking at all the different options – just in 100% cotton fabric! Of course, the prices are higher than I remembered but I tried to choose with both quality and price in mind.

In the meantime, one of the shops offered National Park panels that were very pretty.  We’ve been to several National Parks:

Rocky Mountain National Park

Badlands National Park

Haleakala Nation Park – x2

Everglades National Park

Smokey Mountain National Park – just me

Grand Canyon National Park – just my husband

Joshua Tree National Park – just me

Many of these parks had fabric panels that were reminiscent of our visits. The colors were earthy and vibrant in some cases.  Since I was enjoying this return to sewing, I got an idea to make a National Park Quilt. The panels, as well as the additional mask fabrics,  arrived yesterday!

So, as I have each morning for the last several, I started out by sewing! My project today was just to finish more masks. But, I am very excited about starting the quilt too!

I feel extraordinarily lucky to have this time to pursue my own projects. Being creative is so much a part of who I am! My sons are all young adults with the youngest a senior in high school. Fortunately, he is self-directed and does his schoolwork independently, followed by creating more art – drawings and paintings. He is driven to succeed and his success will be the result of hard work, not luck. Can you tell I am proud? I am!

Anyway, this is the first year in 15 years I have not had a group of garden club students in the spring. No detailed plans for school garden planting with 450 students, as I did two years ago. No picking up massive amounts of plants and keeping them safe before delivering to the school. No exhaustion after planting days with successive grade levels coming out to receive mini-lessons on plant life cycles and how to plant an annual for six straight hours.  I know if I did not have the mask projects, my writing, my jewelry making, and the anticipation of making a new quilt, I would be sincerely missing students.  I’d be in a funk, sulking, and stressed.

Today,  I feel lucky to be able to pursue my passions. Maybe, lucky is not the right word – I feel grateful I can pursue my passions, help others in need, and be creative all at the same time!

Mask made from an old button-down shirt.



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