About a month ago we started hearing mixed reviews about fabric masks and Covid-19. When I started hearing about this, I was extremely conflicted, EXTREMELY!!!! Phee Fabrics has stocked Art Gallery Fabrics for about a year, we have hosted sew alongs using it and we have all praised the quality of the fabric. Before I would agree to make any masks I wanted to make sure I was doing the best possible thing and I knew a bandana was NOT the answer.
I was comparing fabrics and repeatedly I keep hearing “where can I get the cheapest fabric?”, “these are just for donation”, “I’m just going to use what’s in my stash”, “Joann’s is sold out”, “I can’t find solids”( BTW, Phee is fully stocked in solids), etc. and I feel the need to speak up and explain why I chose AGF.
Did you know that the average thread count for quilting cottons is sixty?!?! That’s right! 60! Which means even with 3 layers, it is still thinner than the Art Gallery 205 thread count. The masks I decided to make have three layers, including a pocket to add a filter. Art Gallery is OEKO TEK certified. What does that mean? It means that it’s safe to breathe in, safe against your skin, safe for the planet. It also has the LOWEST shrinkage in the industry, only 1 -3%.
Knowing all this, I decided that I needed to do something to help. There was so much controversy about selling masks vs. donations, like you couldn’t do both or we have a right to judge someone when we don’t know their circumstances, but here’s the thing. Like many of us, we sew for a variety of reasons. Stress relief, income, we enjoy it, the list goes on and on. Batch sewing takes a toll on us, our bodies, our mind, it takes time away from our families, it puts a lot of wear and tear on our machines (some breaking), constant needle changes, broken irons and lets not even discuss the amount of empty spools that we have gone through.
So I started sewing masks. I found myself sewing from 7 am til 8-9 pm with very few breaks. If I stopped I felt guilty. I was getting messages like ” I can come over right now to pick some up”, ” I really need one today”. People who don’t sew don’t know what goes into it, the love we put into our items, the mental and physical exhaustion that we feel.
I feel like I need to tell you something. You are amazing! You are doing a good job! You deserve a break! You are allowed to binge watch whatever show or movie or want to decompress (yes, Carole Baskin did it). You deserve that long bath! It is perfectly ok to stop batch sewing masks to spend some time with your family. It is ok to stop mask sewing because you just want to sew something else, sew something for yourself.
During my mask making frenzy, my son outgrew his pants. I decided to take a day to make him a pair of shorts. I let him choose the pattern and fabrics. I used my Art Gallery cotton in Patina Green, a fat quarter from the Her & History Bundle and a tank top in Cream Rayon Spandex. After I finished them, guess what happened? I felt refreshed, balanced, back to being me. Now, I will continue to sew masks and surgical caps but I know that it’s ok to sew something else too.
I can’t wait to see your creations, thank you to every person who donated to our Pay it Forward program and supporting my small business.