“Hey Lynn, I’ve seen in your recent post, and in the newsletters, that you have been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic by making masks. Would you share how this is helping with the associated stress? And maybe some tips on how to make the masks?” – Izzy in Milpitas, California
Doing something constructive and taking action always improves my outlook. I’m empowering myself by exercising control in one part of my life. Making colorful fabric masks for family and friends has become my jam, providing me with practical help to cope with stress.
I remember the day I realized the COVID-19 pandemic was exploding in my neighborhood. Watching the television and the constant news updates, I felt completely helpless. The hours and days following that moment were a blur of emotions and worry.
I also struggled to shake the feeling that I was holding my breath, waiting for normal to return to the world. And then I accepted it… the “normal” of our world before wasn’t coming back. This was our new normal… and we could either come together as a collective group or bury our heads in the sand.
I’ve chosen to follow my natural instincts to serve and support, which is why I now spend evenings and weekends making masks. It is an instant “feel good” activity. I got there by sitting down and thinking, “What can I do?” and my first thought was to protect my family and friends. And as a lover of craft, making face masks keeps me busy and allows my creativity to flow, whilst showing my love for those close to me.
The NY Times provided an excellent pattern – a free download. What I like about this pattern is that I can quickly cut the fabric with my quilting tools. Plus, it’s a super-efficient use of fabric – no waste. Sewing is fast and easy. And I can use either grosgrain ribbon ties or elastic.
My improvement on the pattern was to replace the fabric ties. They took forever, whereas the ribbon ties (or elastic) are huge time savers and work just as well or better. The special sauce for my masks is that I make them reversible. It’s a fabulous bonus to match your outfits or mood when wearing them.
- Patterns from the NY Times and John Hopkins Medicine
- 100% Cotton fabric pre-washed and pre-shrunk
- Ties – Elastic or Ribbon
- Self-healing cutting mat
- Rotary cutter
- Non-slip quilter’s ruler
- Bonus supply: set of mat, cutter, and ruler
If you don’t have fabric on hand, go through your closet. You are sure to find some garments that can be repurposed, cut up, and turned into gorgeous masks. Just be sure to pre-wash in hot water and dry with a hot dryer setting. That way you know the material will hold up to wash and wear as masks.
Making the choice to create colorful masks has helped me so much. It has reduced my stress by focusing on an activity that helps others. It’s a natural routine for me now. Imagine if we all channeled our energy into creating the life we know we’re meant to be living, in this forced global pause. What could our new normal look like?
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.