In solidarity we find strength.
Our world has been turned upside down. Covid-19, the almost invisible pathogen that brought us mighty humans to our knees, and taught us a lesson in humanity. Brought out the best and worst in Singaporeans and others around the world. Shown us hidden leaders, and doubtful ones. Tomorrow will never be the same again.
Didn't really understand what is freedom until the Circuit Breaker. Compared to those who had lost someone, my world has been relatively peaceful so far. The same cannot be said of my handmade business. Like many crafters around the world, we find our business plunge amid the need for staying alive and healthy.
Though I've always owned a sewing machine, it was usually used for mending, rarely for creating. This unusual Covid-19 situation pushed me to try making fabric masks for myself. With Pinterest pictures and YouTube videos, how hard can it be right? Haha, the first one took me one whole day!! A bit crooked, a bit uneven, needed some hand-stitched mending, but if u don't look too closely, not too bad lor.
I applauded the initiatives to make kids sized masks and masks for the needy and lower income group. Initially, I wasn't moved to help out, because I knew my skills will not pass muster.
When the foreign workers started getting the virus, I finally felt I should lend a hand. I think the FW won't mind a less than perfect product. Seeing a FB post by a fellow crafter asking for volunteers, and is not particular about meeting a quota, sort of sealed the deal. Took me 3 days to make 28 masks (measuring, cutting, folding, ironing, marking, stitching, trimming).
Yay, I made a difference, and can say that I earned part of the money given to us in the budget 2020.
A week later, as life would have it, I made the move to contact other mask-making projects. Despite the vast number of people involved, it seems that more masks are needed, and people who are not so skilled are also helping out. So once again, I embark on another sewing journey.
My achievement thus far:
- 2 seamless masks (size M, blue floral)
- 2 fitted mask (size L, blue floral)
- 28 pleated rectangle masks (size L, brown)
- 54 fitted masks (sizes L & M, pink floral)
- 50 pleated rectangle masks (size L, grey)
- 45 fitted masks (size XL, green floral)
- 45 fitted masks (size L, M & S, red-white)
- 7 fitted masks (size L, brocade fabric)
- window masks (size Adult, donated fabric)
I missed going for my weekly voluntary sessions at their Bedok branch.
With the centres closed because of the Circuit Breaker, SunDac staff turned to engaging the clients online. Such socialising may not be ideal for the special needs clientele, but at least they are being monitored and given simple tasks to do to combat boredom.
I was honoured to be invited to join in the 30 seconds challenge for social inclusion, started by the social service sector. Made 2 videos, one of myself tying a Clover knot without tools, another of myself sewing fabric masks. Well, they liked the knot video better.
To celebrate National Day 2020, SunDac decided to create a video of clients and staff (and one volunteer -- me) doing simple actions to the song 'Stand Up for Singapore'. Thoroughly enjoyed myself!
Mask design experiments
Sewing fabric masks -1
Safe distancing on public transport
Around my HDB estate
Greenery during Circuit Breaker
Covid-19 (handmade likes)
Sewing fabric masks -2
Sewing fabric masks -3
National Day themed masks
I sewed these simple fabric mask not only for National Day, but also as my well-wishes to some special people. The pattern on the fabric reminds me of fireworks, which has always been my favourite part of the celebrations.
Of course, most of the things I make would always have knots as an element. When the sewing of fabric masks were first brought up around the world in early March 2020, one of the first things I thought of was how to add decorative knots. The mask has to be washable, the knots must be distinctive but small and light, and I must avoid sewing (poking holes) on the surface. Mission impossible? Never give up.
Took me a while, but I'm very happy with the results: personalised masks with the initials of your name in Morse code. Takes between 1.5 - 2 hours per mask. I hope you enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoy making them. Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy, everyone!
The general idea is to use a water-resistant outer layer, a non-woven filter as middle layer, and absorbent cotton as inner layer. However, the ability to breathe properly when wearing the mask is just as important. As mask-wearing becomes the new norm, aesthetic considerations are added into the picture.
The filter insert that is included is a piece of normal household cleaning dry wipe, to be replaced with your own choice of filter.
Fabric masks are meant to protect the people around you, not as a barrier against incoming pathogens. The idea is to keep your germs to yourself.
The fabric masks I sewed have a filter pocket. I generally use non-woven household cleaning dry wipes as filter, as they are inexpensive and easily available. You could consider to purchase commercial filters. There have been many studies on filter materials so you might want to do research and decide what's best for you.
Fabric masks should be washed after every use. I would soap my wet hands, rub the outer and inner layers, rinse and squeeze off excess water. Every week or so, I would also put my fabric masks in laundry nets and wash them with my other clothes.
To prolong the life of the elastic, clip your mask on the fabric on either the left or right side. Dry the mask under the sun whenever possible.