Thursday, March 26, 2020

I'm Strapped

A post went up on our community FaceBook page that one of the residents in my new community is making face masks for medical personnel. One of her friends is a nurse and made the request, so Jacky made a few masks for her. Requests popped up almost as fast as the virus has spread in New York! Jacky put out a plea on FaceBook, and on Thursday she reported that over 300 masks had been made by people in our community!

While people were busy sewing, a problem arose. Jacky ran out of elastic and the elastic she ordered was backordered. She asked if I could make some straps. Ick! I thought of the challenge of sewing and turning small tubes of fabric. It certainly was something I could do, but not something I really cared to do... but in the spirit of helping I wandered into my sewing room. Then, it hit me! My Singer Featherweight machines come with a bias binding presser foot.


It is intended to apply bias binding to a raw edge of fabric, but I wondered if it could turn and sew a strip of fabric, without applying it to anything else. The answers was, "Yes!"
I also wondered if it would work with something other than fabric cut on the bias (which is another pain!) and again, the answer was, "Yes!"

Within a few minutes it was working! Sure, there were a lot of goofs and a bit of experimenting with how to hold the fabric, and what sort of fabric to use... but, ta da!!! I had straps!


The presser foot takes the strip, folds the bottom edge in and turns the upper edge on top of it. The machine stitches it all in place. I found that I could use a glue stick and glue one piece to another, making a long chain with the fabric strips, and sew them all as one long strip, then cut them at the glued joints.


I made a video! 
I thought it might be helpful for people to see how it's done, 
knowing that a picture is worth a thousand words!


I took my straps to Jacky's house, leaving them on her front porch, and she incorporated them into masks.


Jackie's nurse friends sent her a hearty thanks, and a picture to show how grateful they are. This particular group is using the fabric masks on top of the regulation N-95 masks, allowing them to change the fabric mask for each patient. This lets them use the N-95 mask for multiple patients, trying to hang on to their dwindling supply.


14 comments:

  1. Way to go! I have also heard that the straps are better because they can be autoclaved. And I just saw a nurse who said her ears were sore from masks with elastic so she sewed a button on her headband near her ears and attached her mask that way:)

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    1. I saw the button solution. Genius! I heard through the grapevine that tie straps are better than elastic, but I couldn't find anything online to support it. Glad to hear another person with the same opinion. Stay safe up there!

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  2. This is a great project and the masks even look pretty.

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    1. Some folks have purchased really cute fabric. I've just used what I have on hand, and I guess making straps out of ugly fabric is a good use of that fabric!

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  3. What a great idea! I have a friend who is making the fabric masks, I'm going to send her this post as she ran out of elastic too.

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    1. Share with whomever you would like! If they have questions, they can email me

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  4. How wonderful to find something you can do to help! All I can do is stay home out of the way and not becoming a patient for the already busy and stressed medical community. That and pray for everyone.

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    1. Thanks for doing your part, and I certainly hope neither of us, nor our family members become patients. This certainly could be ugly!

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  5. how long a strap does each mask need,please

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    1. Each mask needs 4 straps, each about 15 inches in length.

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  6. This is awesome, Cindy! And inspiring! Thank you for making a difference.

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  8. This is all Greek to me, but how I love what you are doing, what you and your friend have accomplished. I hope someone on FB sends your video out into the larger world. Love it!

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