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Apr. 09 2020

Mask maker, mask maker…

By Dyana Neal | Posted in Host Blogs | 4 Comments

You’re probably seeing a lot of people wearing masks these days. Some are using paper ones, others are improvising with bandanas or ski masks, and those of us who sew are rejoicing because we finally have a legitimate use for all that scrap fabric that’s been driving our spouses crazy for years!

Last week, Jonathan and Kati asked me to make a couple of masks for each of them and I was happy to oblige. They kindly sent me the New York Times’ mask-making tutorial and I found it quite easy to use. So far, I’ve made a total of 16 masks for colleagues, my husband and myself, and friends.


I cut out a number of 9.5″ by 6.5″ rectangles of fabric, using a print for one layer and a solid color for the other. Since I had quite a stash of bias tape, I used that for the ties, stitching each piece so it wouldn’t flop open when the mask is worn.

The balloon print fabric originally came to me as gift wrap, and guess what it contained? A vintage sewing machine! Once friends find out you sew, they have a tendency to offer or just give you cool old machines. The newer models may have a lot of computerized bells and whistles, but I love the “action” of their elders and the fact that they’re made of metal, not plastic. I now own 6, dating from the early 1920’s to about 1990. There’s a reason many sewing machines that are over 100 years old are still in use – they’re little Sherman tanks! The sort of “stained glass” print is African cotton that I got in New York a couple of years ago – most of it became a sundress – and the purple, William Morris-esque one is from my current project, yet another 50’s style dress.

Sewing is one of the things keeping me (somewhat) sane in the present circumstances; another is writing the occasional virus-related song parody. Here’s today’s effort, sung to the tune of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” from “Fiddler on the Roof”:

Mask maker, mask maker,

Make me a mask

Cut up some cloth

Get to the task

Mask maker, mask maker

Thread your machine

And sew me a perfect mask

Mask maker, mask maker

I cannot sew

Help a friend out

So I can go

Off to the grocery store and to get gas

Wearing your awesome mask!

Your fabric

Is kind of loud, but

It’s free, so

What do I care

If I’ve got birthday balloon print

All over my face and some strangers stare?

Mask maker, mask maker

Make me a mask

One day, we’ll all

Get our lives back

Til then, stay healthy, be safe, and be smart

And make me a matchless mask!

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Dyana is WBJC's midday host. Her full bio can be read here.

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