Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Who Did Not Sew Covid Masks?

Raise your hand!

As most of the home sewists, I have also jumped on the mask sewing bandwagon. Even though, the public/political debate on mask wearing was rather fuzzy in France (in Czech republic, they introduced them immediately with the lockdown mid-March), we went from not wearing masks to masks being recommended and soon compulsory in some areas. Sometime beginning April when the doctors and scientists started saying that it is actually quite a good idea, I started sewing them.

France being France, things have to be official, so while a Grenoble hospital recommended its staff to have some fabric masks sewn from the Craftpassion pattern, the certification association AFNOR has soon released a mask model tested/validated and highly recommended. For most local sewists, the discussion started on: what are you sewing - the CHU Grenoble or the AFNOR model? Once the TV started talking about it, everybody became specialist on which model is the right one (hint: the AFNOR one), on how the sewing line in the middle is not good, how the long should you elastics be and which material to use.

So even though I preferred the CHU Grenoble model, I quickly switched to the AFNOR one so as to avoid any discussions on this topic. Also, the AFNOR model is much quicker to sew and does not waste fabric and in the end, after having worn both of them, it is easier to move and speak with it.

Once I have sewn a few of them for Mr and myself and then around Easter, my town has called for volunteer sewists to help to sew the masks for the whole town population. I thought it was actually a great initiative, as the public discussion was just starting, our mayor decided to advance on that and equip each household with 2 masks. They of course purchased some, but about a half was made by the volunteers. I sewed 150 of them over two week-ends and while I ended up hating the pink stripes in the end, it was interesting to work out a quick sewing method and sew them in batches. I think my PB was around 1 hour and 5 minutes for 10 masks, knowing that both, the fabric and elastics were delivered already cut.

After these two batches I continued to sew some for people who asked: a pharmacy close by, a association, a neighbor, two of my colleagues, Mr's best friend etc.

The good thing is that I used up a lot of scraps, as well as some small pieces of cotton I bought in a distant past and never really knew what to use them for. Since I had quite come choice of fabric, I usually let people choose their favorite and was quite surprised how often the blue daisy cotton of the green one got chosen. Both fabrics I would never use for myself, so I am quite happy to have them used for a good cause.

The lockdown is now coming to its end in France, even though the easing will be slow and gradual. I have been working from home since mid March and am definitely not going back to the office any time soon. First colleagues will be coming back mid May, but I am not on a priority list, and quite far away so as long as I can avoid using the public transportation and going to a crowded office, I will.

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