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Carol Perkins: How hard can it be?

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By Carol Perkins

My first thought when considering making masks was, "How hard can it be?" After all, I've been sewing since I was fourteen. Not skilled enough to sew for others, but enough to make most of my clothes back in the day. I tell this to show that I didn't set up my sewing machine on the kitchen table, make a pattern, and cut out fabric for masks without some level of skill. In other words, I asked myself, "How Hard Can It Be?!"

To simplify my endeavor, I made a template according to measurements based on an online video I had watched last week. According to the pro and my memory, I was to cut the fabric 12" by 9" so that is what I did. I made the side closest to the face a different material.

Lining up the back fabric and the front material should have been easy, but it wasn't. I was a little off and had to trim to even up the two layers. I then placed the elastic in the corners as directed and left a two-inch slit at the bottom to turn the mask inside out. The next step was to make the front pleats, so I followed the video again. The problem I noticed right away was that one side of the mask was wider than the other, which made the pleats crooked. I would keep that mask for myself.

When I finished the pleats and the pressing, I tried it on. It was so large that the elastic met in the back. It would fit someone with a head as big as a watermelon. I went back to the video and realized that I had cut the template wrong. It was supposed to have been 9" by 6", so no wonder it was too large. All those I had precut had to be redone, which was a waste of material. When I began again, I was on a roll only to discover when I turned the next mask inside out, I had sewed the wrong sides together. The right side of the fabric was on the inside. I threw the mask on the table and went to visit my mother!

An hour later, I calmed myself. Surely if I could make a prom dress, I could make a mask. If I could make curtains and cover pillows, I could make a mask. I came up with a system, one step at a time, and finished three masks in an hour. The "normal" person should be able to whip out a dozen by then. By the time I finish the three dozen I plan to make, the quarantine will be over. (I'm not complaining!)

Guy had witnessed my struggle, so when he came to see what I was doing, he looked for a minute and said, "Why didn't you get some pretty material?" I replied, "You mean like beige?"

I have a deep respect for the ladies who have cranked out dozens and dozens of masks for so many people because the process is harder than it looks. At least, it was for me. One redeeming part of my endeavor is that the masks are free. That's the only way I will get rid of them!

Follow Susan and Carol-Unscripted on 99.1 the Hoss in Edmonton on Tuesdays from 10amCT to 11amCT and replay on Sundays from 4pmCT to 5pmCT. Listen to Carol's podcast at for entertaining stories and a replay of Susan and Carol-Unscripted.

This story was posted on 2020-04-17 13:36:02
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