My 2020 Free Handmade Washable Mask Making Donation Experience
As our world began to shut down I felt more and more the need to have a safe guard in place. I made sure we had reasonable amount of food in our pantry and freezer and decided to make our family some homemade masks in case of emergency. I spent days upon days reading articles and getting so confused with the back and forth and this and that circulating everywhere. I searched tons of DIY fabric masks online. I’m not a pro sewer, but I did have a sewing machine and enough fabric I accumulated and got before the shut down began. So I began to sew and sew and test out the masks I made on my whole family. Once I found a pattern I liked I offered them to my close family. A couple weeks went by and my friend encouraged me to share with others, since I was very hesitant.
I’m not writing this to start a discussion on your opinion of the effectiveness of a masks or what we should or shouldn’t be doing. I do not care to open up a discussion and share my opinion either. I’m writing this to share a personal experience with you all and to have as a detailed memory for myself. I am sharing some personal heart felt feelings and experiences with you all below. My hopes is that you will be able to reconnect and maybe share some similar feelings and thoughts through out this difficult time, knowing that you are not alone. If you make it all the way through this long post I applaud you!
On April 6th 2020 I decided to make a Facebook post offering to make handmade washable masks for others, for completely free. I have to say I’ve definitely had a love/hate thing with these things… thankful I can, but hate that I had to. Below is going to be a collection of my photos I took and my personal Facebook Posts I shared. I’ve been so busy with the mask making. It was depressing enough with the way couponing has gone now this has been thrown into the mix and taken online shopping to minimum as well. I’ve been trying my best to share things online with you all deal wise, but it’s been hard to find them.
On April 3rd I started a Virtual Easter Egg Hunt for our town. I was super nervous to start it because I’ve never done something like that locally besides for small coupon classes. Thankfully, it was a success. Everyone had a blast looking around for eggs in town and many got to win some great prizes offered up by myself and local businesses. Now our town is doing a Virtual Flag Hunt for Memorial Day. It’s absolutely wonderful all the positive things we can come up with even during these hard, strange, new times.
April 11th 2020
I don’t usually say much online because over the years I’ve learned it’s always best to keep to myself and my opinions, etc. But I’ve decided to share….
I’m exhausted. More so then usual… I’m tired of feeling. If you hurt, I hurt, no matter who you are even when I don’t show it. I’ve internalized my feelings my whole life, and it’s catching up to me. So during a time like this.. it’s been extremely hard for me.
I’m not a pro at sewing and every time I do it I can struggle. Weeks ago I started trying to figure out best way to make masks for our immediate family. I wanted to be prepared if anything. I watched YouTube videos and read articles and researched. I made a few masks and shared with some family. Then I contemplated sharing online with others. I wanted to help but nervous what I was making wasn’t good enough. Story of my life. A friend nudged me to just share. So I did. Since then I’ve had a surplus of requests. I’ve officially made over 100 masks and have a list of more to make. I’ve been working non stop basically all my free time. I’ve almost lost a finger a couple times and may need a shoulder replacement when all’s said and done, but it will be worth it.
I’ve had a roller coaster of emotions… like how is this even real right now? I’m super thankful for people coming together to help me with supplies so I can keep creating these masks for those in need free of charge. I truly have a love hate feeling while making these. I’m determined to push myself to make as many as possible so much to a default I’m sure. I know… you need to take care of you so you can help others but I walk that fine line.
During this time I know everyone else is going through crazy emotions too. When you feel like you have no control in life I suggest finding ways to feel in control. For me that was finding ways to stock up on essentials (normal amount) and be prepared, also sewing these masks, starting a community Virtual Easter Egg Hunt and keeping in contact with my family. Together we will get through this crazy time…. hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
If you read this all… I applaud you. Lol. I just felt like sharing would make me feel better but then again I always get super nervous to share. I never know what to say or how to. So this is me sharing. I’m tired, moody, and miss my family. Who isn’t feeling this way right now, am I right?!
I’ll be honest…I’m more open to all my MMTM readers then on my own personal profile. I don’t like to share my own personal feelings. I’m assuming because I’ve been judged my whole life so it’s super hard to be that openly vulnerable now. The only thing that pushed me to share was the thought that it may help someone else feel better, and it appeared it did. So for that I’m glad I pushed out of my comfort and shared.
Boy did I ever run into frustrations with sewing. I had to do a ton of googling and messaging my grandmothers for help. I can’t tell you how many times I broke needles or had my thread pop out and need to re-thread it.
We started out using rubber bands for the ends because that is what I had on hand. Then I had some donate some head bands and they had a nice stretch to them, working great in my opinion. Then we moved on to pantyhose and I think that was my favorite. I definitely went for the frugal use what we have and can find approach and I think it worked wonderfully. I used quart size bags and gallon size bags to put the masks in so that I could have them labeled and put out on my porch for easy pick up. I even bought new scissors and thank goodness I did… what a difference a nice pair can make when cutting fabric!
April 15th, 2020 Facebook Post:
I can’t breathe… ya know that kind you get when you cry so hard you can’t breathe?? Yea… that’s where we are at right now.
This has been the most up and down, craziest, full of emotions, wild few weeks I’ve ever had… probably true for everyone. One minute you feel safe and secure, the next you are panicking and worrying, and another you are so paranoid you are afraid to talk to anyone in person. It’s insanity.
As I’m being messaged about the fact that we all must wear masks in public now… I start getting more messages about making masks and honestly my heart just breaks. I couldn’t keep it in anymore. It breaks for the uncertainty and fear everyone has now. The confusion, the misinformation, the changed … big changes…
I’m being told I should be charging for the masks, and many are. But to be honest deep in my heart I don’t want money. I want to help. During a time when so many have lost so much, and running a website for almost a decade dedicated to helping people be smart with their money, I know just how much people struggle normally. If I can add some sort of peace and comfort with handing out masks I’ve made for free then I’m there… some may not understand, some may. Heck I’ve been working all day for a week now non stop to point I feel like passing out from exhaustion… but I’m dedicated to helping, and as long as I have support of the community supplying me with fabric and other items I will keep making them as fast as I can.
*update* I wanted to clarify that my emotions are not from the surplus of requests for masks, yet the reason behind why they are needed and the feelings I can imagine everyone having right now.
It was suggested I share more, so here I am… sharing some really personal heartfelt feelings I normally would never. You are not alone. Everyone is important. Everyone feels. It’s important right now to be that light in the darkness. It won’t last forever… it can’t.
That was truly a raw and emotional post for me. I NEVER share these types of things you guys. I felt a strong need to share even if I was scared to share my own feelings during that time. I felt like I needed to be honest and let others know. That was the day they announced everyone in our area had to wear a mask in public.
April 17th, 2020 Facebook Post:
I just wanted to take the time to send a HUGE extended THANK YOU to everyone that has been helping me this past week. 🙏🏻
Special thanks to my husband for putting up with my spontaneous, obsessive, give till I can’t anymore personality. He’s helped rubbed my poor shoulders daily, helped cook and clean extra much, and been supportive of me while also knowing how to guide me in my own self care. 🥰
Thanks to my kiddos for doing their own thing while mommy spends all day sewing like a mad women 😆
Big thanks to every person that has donated! For those who has dropped of fabric, thread, needles, rubber bands and anything else for me to use so I can keep giving these masks free to our community members. It’s very appreciated🙂
And thank you for everyone that has reached out to me, checked in on me, and been super supportive of me during this time to dedicate my all to making as many masks as I can. I’m going till I have no supplies left… and while some may think I’m a bit crazy… that’s okay because sometimes you just gotta do what you feel is right thing for you to do. I promise I’m being sure to take care of myself during this time too, thank you 😍
I’ve hit 265 masks made today and I gotta say I’m actually proud of myself for once 🧡
The amount of requests at times felt a little overwhelming. Not due to anyone causing that but myself. I felt a strong need to hurry and get them made asap. I would literally wake up at 7 am (that’s early for me but I couldn’t sleep) and start working on them till 5 pm some days or longer.
April 19th, 2020 Facebook Post:
Talk about feeling silly….
I’ve taken tons of pics of the masks I’ve been making. Idk why. Mostly to be sure the look and fit right. Double checking the way I make them, and worrying if they will fit everyone.
I worry about my stitching, whether the ear pieces will be comfortable enough or too tight, and if they will hold up well enough.
I’m a worrier…an over thinker. If it’s not about one thing it’s another 🙄 this is me.
April 24th, 2020 Facebook Post:
To say I’m drained would be an understatement… but let me share…
Today I worked extra hard. I wanted to complete all my requests for handmade masks. I wanted today to be my last day so I can rest…but I have 12+ more to go and then I can.
People keeping telling me to be sure to take care of myself and rest. I get it, I do. But also, I get the need for many to have masks. I understand many can’t afford to spend tons money on masks for their entire family, or wait a few weeks for them to be delivered. I know how scary right now is for many and having a mask may just help ease that fear…
I’ve made to date today now 539 masks in about two weeks time 😳 I’m darn proud of myself. My hands have blisters, cuts, burns, and my body aches… my hands are sore, my wrists ache and my neck and shoulders are stiff and so sore the muscles are just hot… but it’s been so worth it…
I want everyone to know I did take my time and rest when I could. I still did household chores, vacuuming, dishes, etc. I still had my kids doing school work and tending to them as needed… I still took care of my dogs. I still made meals and even had time to play family games and watch tv. I also had help on various days as I’ve already noted previously.
Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m super ambitious and goal oriented or just plain crazy. Sometimes I do things and don’t think nothing much to it honestly… I saw a group of 40 mask makers made and donated 1,000 masks in two weeks… and that was when I deemed myself just absolutely crazy. Lmao….
I’m drained… I am. Now I have a few more masks to make tomorrow and I’m taking a week (hopefully lol) off to relax and NOT make any masks. Then casually make some if anyone needs more.
My masks may not have perfect straight stitched lines, or may not be perfectly cut… but I can say i put my all into making them. I researched many patterns and ways, best materials to use, and various items to use when don’t have the common items available. I watched countless how to’s and worried whether I was making them well enough and if they would fit everyone properly.
I want everyone to know that anything is possible when you put your mind to it and give it your all.
Thanks, again, to everyone to helped contribute to helping me be able to make these masks for our community members. I will announce when I can start making more, if anyone will still be interested.
I definitely over did it. But, that’s me… that’s what I do. I cannot help myself. When I get on a mission I have a strong desire to achieve my personal goals. I cannot rest until I accomplish them. My body ached…my anxiety was awful…it got so bad where my wrists ached for days and it was hard to move my hand. Yea, yea, yea… I can hear some of you now. But it was so worth it and I’d do it all again. Even now I’m still catching up on allowing my body to rest because that’s just how it is now with my anxiety and issues that come along with that. If you struggle with anxiety issues too, you are not alone. Feel free to join my small, non-judgmental, private support group here online.
April 26th, 2020 Facebook Post:
I was able to donate 8 cases of individual cereal packs, 7 cases of apple juice boxes and 2 boxes of granola bars.
That’s 240 cereals, 252 juices and 120 granola bars for our community backpack program for kids💛🧡
I’m so thankful that I’m at a point in my life where I can do the things I do for others. 🥰
I took the money some insisted on leaving to donate for the masks and turned it into another positive pay it forward kinda thing… Our local community was in need of food for the kids they help out. You too can help if you would like. Get in touch with me and I will point you in the right direction.
To date right now I have handmade over 750 masks and given them out for free to people in my community. I couldn’t have done it without the generosity of others dropping off supplies to me so I could focus all my time and energy on making the masks. I truly appreciate everyone who helped.
I wanted to share this image above I found on Facebook in a community group I was in for masks. I thought it was a great read, and maybe you will too!
Thank you for reading my extremely long and personal post! I wish you all the best of luck during this time. If you are feeling alone, don’t hesitate to reach out! Someone, like myself, is always willing to lend an ear to listen and be there!
Here is a collection of the DIY masks I’ve found:
- FREE no-sew mask patterns
- No Sew Mask with T-shirt
- How to Sew a Mask in Minutes
- No Sew using common household items
- Mask with Pockets Design I used
- Mask made from socks
- Step by Step hand sew mask
- Another sew mask how to
- Another way to sew masks