#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 87
The idea of a collection of daily words describing how you felt for 30 days of social distancing and isolation feels really meaningful to me and something that I think I’d really appreciate having in 10 years. Think outside the box of what you might typically write!— NaNoWriMo (@NaNoWriMo) March 31, 2020
‘Okay, so…’ I fold the fabric over as demonstrated in the photos. ‘Like this. Like this?’ I pinch the screen on my phone to enlarge the photo. ‘Yes, like this.’
Tongue sticking out of my mouth, I double check the measurements, press the fold, and bring it to the ironing table. I laugh at myself as I pick up the iron I never thought I would use. Back at the dining table, I slide the fabric under the needle, align it as best I can, and begin to sew. Up and down the needle goes, the speed controlled by the pressure of my foot. I go slow, trying to keep a straight line.
I carry on sewing the sides of what is supposed to be a face mask. We have plenty, but while I await for new fabric to arrive, I am trying to use the leftover I have, and this seemed like a good enough project.
Three sides sewed, I turn it inside out, the cute fabric of hedgehogs and foxes revealing itself. I smile at the sight. I go back to my phone screen, reading the next set of instructions. I now need to fold the fabric to create the pleats. With the help of hand sewing needles, I find a pattern of layers that works for me and iron them flat.
I call my partner downstairs to help with the ear attachment. I have no elasticated fabric. I’m using shoe laces instead which means I need to be precise with my fit. I pinch the shoelaces between my fingers to mark where to cut them. ‘Thanks,’ I tell my partner who is already disappearing into the corridor.
I cut and hand stitch the shoe lace and try the mask on. ‘Too long,’ I mutter to myself. I adjust the fit. ‘Too short,’ I grumble. I rip the stitching apart and add a small length of shoe lace to join the cut up pieces together until finally, I have a good fit.
I run upstairs, mask over my face to my partner. ‘Tadam!’
‘It’s a bit big isn’t it.’
‘I know, I know,’ I reply my voice muffled by the layers of fabric. ‘It’s too saggy at the cheeks. Maybe if I do that,’ I say, pressing the fabric down against my face. ‘Just a few stitches there,’ I announce as if I have any idea what I’m doing.
I run back down the stairs to the sewing machine in the living room and carefully stitch the sides where I marked them. The mask is a better fit, my cheeks protected against droplets of virus.
I add an unfolded paper clip for a nose clip and hide it behind layers of white duct tape. It is mostly invisible if people don’t look too close. I take a photo and sent it to my friends and family on WhatsApp, displaying my new mask proudly. It’s much better looking and a much better fit than the first one I sewed by hand.
I check the time before I put my phone to sleep. I have been at the sewing machine for a good few hours. I laugh at myself. Such a simple design and yet, it has taken me most of the afternoon to complete. Baby steps, I remind myself. This is the first project I have ever sewed with a machine.