It’s all about the ears – Damn you Marie Kondo

Our governor recommended we wear face masks. There are lots of tutorials available. I saw one made from socks. None of them worked for the materials I had on hand. I didn’t try the sock one.

A long time ago I did a lot of sewing. I had all sorts of fabric and notions. Leftover fabrics from projects long done. Bits and pieces. Buttons, zippers, thread, interfacing and yes, shoulder pads. (Maybe I should try 2 shoulder pads sewed together with an elastic band!)

During one of my “Marie Kondo” episodes, I threw out all the fabric except what I could use for catnip toys. (That’s the extent of my sewing these days.) That limits it to tee shirt material and thin cotton. Then with a stroke of genius, I cut it all up into small pieces (for the catnip bags) and tossed the rest.

What I have is not the right size. The beloved husband offered a few of his old “work tees.” I diligently cut around paint splashes and some mysterious (grease, blood, other body fluids?) stains and was able to come up with enough for “the pattern.”

I have elastic, which is not available now. My first prototype was not successful. The tee shirt material was too thick for two layers making the pleats bulky. Because of topstitching, there wasn’t the “give” you expect in tee material.

The bigger problem was that the elastic wasn’t long enough to comfortably go around the ears. It barely got around the ears at all. When the beloved husband put it on, he looked like Dumbo with his ears perpendicular to his face. Nope, not going to work.

Back to the drawing board. Wider mask, thinner material and longer elastic. The second one fit. I reworked the first one, cutting off the elastic that didn’t work and put in cord elastic. That’s what I’m using.

There are many no sew versions around. In a pinch I can do one of those quickly but I would only use men’s handkerchiefs or thin fabric because you layer it several times.

Here is my takeaway. The fabric can’t be thick or you will suffocate. Try to do an ear measurement first or add string or shoelaces that you can tie in the back of your head. (There is also a surgical remedy for your big ears.) Have a soothing drink when you do this (I’m thinking a margarita!). Be prepared because your cats are going to get all judgy and laugh hysterically when you try it on. So will your spouse. As soon as you get it on, your nose will start to itch. Really itch! This isn’t a good look on anyone and my sympathies to the health care professionals who have to wear these all day.

I’m blaming this on Marie. The tossed out fabric could have brought me joy.

86 thoughts on “It’s all about the ears – Damn you Marie Kondo

  1. As face masks go, I think yours are some of the most attractive I’ve seen. A friend gave me one she had sewn herself and I feel like I am suffocating when I put it on. And my glasses keep steaming up. I feel so bad for the store clerks who have to keep them on for hours on end!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a friend who is always saving things “just in case” She hasn’t had to shop for food since this thing started and estimates she won’t need to for another 2 weeks. I ran out of Clorox wipes after a week (I use them every time I enter and leave the apartment building as both a barrier and a disinfectant to surfaces. ) She had several packages and gave me one. Her niece ran out of toilet paper last week and couldn’t find any. She was able to save the day. I used to accuse her of hoarding. But honestly – the case arrived and she’s all set up. Marie Kondo and my self are NOT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since I have 4 cats I always buy Clorox wipes in a three pack at the warehouse store. Fortunately, I was stocked up. I gave one to my brother. I try not to “overstock” and only buy multiples of things I use regularly. Living in an apartment building does require more vigilance than in a single home where no one else is touching stuff. Stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great job! I also got rid of fabric earlier last year but what I’m saddest about is the yards of elastic I gave away. Fortunately, I still have enough cotton but was only able to make a few masks before the little elastic I had left ran out. I guess next I’ll try making ties instead… which might work better anyway for my pinhead.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kitties to the rescue! A few years ago I bought a face mask for cleaning out the cat litter boxes. I used it for a while but then gave up… good thing I saved it. Made with two different kinds of fabric inside and out, has a wire across the top to pinch over the nose and the elastic goes all around the head… the top elastic over the ears, bottom under the ears… so if you made one like that you wouldn’t have to worry about measuring the distance to your ears. The thing is washable and dries overnight. Who knew it would be fashionable??

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can not sew. I’ve tried. Not my thing, but I watched a video on how to take a handkerchief and fold it with hairbands. My hairbands for my thin hair would just go over my thumb, so I picked up some bigger ones. Not big enough. The bands and or the handkerchief. I’m back to either just not wearing one or tying a bandanna around my face in a triangle like the wild west.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good job on the masks, the picture made me smile! Save the picture , it could be one for the history books! Can you imagine History classes studying about this pandemic years from now. What will they say?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed! My grandfather died in 1918 in the Spanish flu epidemic. Unfortunately I have no pictures of him at all. I’ve seen that some people wore masks back then but not as widespread as now. This will be one of the times you always remember.

      Like

      • Sorry about your grandfather. I been reading more about that lately for I was curious as to how it compares ro this pandemic.
        Yes, we certainly won’t forget this time. There was a quote going around that said “This is the version of our parents “I walked in 2 feet of snow uphill to get to school” story that our children can tell their children.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Even in the face of adversity, you are hilarious, Kate. I am very impressed with your masks. You and Danbo wear them well. I have a new inexpensive sewing machine and absolutely no fabric whatsoever. Gave it all away to a quilter when we moved. If we come to the point of being required to wear a mask, I’ll just stay home.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I admire anyone (and everyone) who can sew.
    Other than a very brief stint in Home Ec class, I have never sewn in my life.
    Not even buttons back on. Pathetic, I know.
    Luckily, we had some face masks left over from the big purchase we did in China during SARS. The stash has definitely dwindled over the years, but we still have enough to get us through any public appearances that we need to make (which are very, very few). 😀
    PS – I’d blame Marie too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I got rid of a lot of fabric. Lots of chintz (wouldn’t that look lovely as a face mask?). Some plaids. Most of it was for home decor projects so some was probably too thick but there was good stuff too.

      Like

  9. You did well on your masks Kate, and a client sent me this today from the New York Times. It is also a T-shirt and no elastic or ties needed and shows how to draw the pattern, probably similar to what pattern you made as you went along. Kind of cool. I’m like you, I used to sew all the time. The sewing machine console is under a lot of small banker’s boxes filled with holiday decor including a stack of front door wreaths – sad, as I never even put up the Easter wreath this year. But I couldn’t get near it if I wanted to … a retirement project for me. 🙂 Have a look at this if you need another one (long link but it worked as I sent it to myself at home):

    Like

  10. Most people are wearing masks here too. I decided to try making one the other day. I cut up one of my pillow cases and instead of elastic I crocheted a chain that I sew into each end for my ears. I’ll give it a try this week when I go grocery shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great job, Kate. We did those foldable ones with handkerchiefs. They do make our ears look like dumbo. They say you can’t be able to blow out a match through the material, so it took us some time to get it thick enough. But that also means we suffocate.

    So, I’d like to place my order for two face masks. I’ll send my address to you via email. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Apart from not being able to find elastic (grr…panic buyers/hoarders), it’s not very comfortable either even if you have enough. My ears hurt like crazy for several minutes after I return home from a masked dog walk. I’m thinking of using some fat quarters to make a couple of masks but plan to use bias tape and tie the mask on. Hopefully I can make something more comfortable to wear than the one I bought. Now if I could figure out a way to keep them from fogging up my glasses. 🤓

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Impressed with your sewing and scrounging for fabric. It’s weird I saw more people wearing masks last week then this week. Probably not a good thing indicating people are getting tired of it all..more car traffic, too even though so much is closed.
    We grabbed some masks in Jan, and wear them if around people or on dog walks – because now everyone is out walking and walking kids and dogs – never used to be so much foot traffic!
    But the darn things are hot!!! I had to stop wearing the serious one and switched to the “pleated nurse one” for dog walks. It’s over 90F here and I started getting heat rash across my cheek bones. UGH.
    One thing, with a narrow face, the elastic is too big, so I criss cross the elastic over ears, then crisscross each side around my pony tail. Good snug fit achieved…and I look really great with a wide brim cloth sun hat and mask with my eyes barely showing…yeah, just great…but so far so good. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a narrow face too. Just not comfortable no matter what you do. We were out this a.m. and more traffic than I’ve been in a while but then again, I don’t usually go out after 9 a.m. At least we are in the 60s. Makes walking and wearing protection more comfortable (if there is such a thing!).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think we are the only people wearing masks in the neighborhood now…they all probably think we have coronavirus!
        People are still distancing most places. Parks are reopening and probably the beaches this weekend…more places to walk and spread out is good! (Paw waves to Mollie)

        Liked by 1 person

  14. The nose-itching is all too real. I have a tough time with the mask because it fogs up my glasses so much. Especially when I’m walking uphill. So if the kid and dog and I are walking through a park, I have to wear contacts and a visor with the mask, or I can’t see.

    When I walk early in the morning and fast, the dog and I are able to stay far away from everyone and I ditch the mask. Which is invariably when someone who has never walked before tries to get close and ask directions.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We have not been told to wear masks yet. I don’t think I own any elastic. I think yours look quite professional. It is surprising how many odds and ends I have needed since I can’t just pop to the shops. I am sure we will hoard every thing after this like our grandparents who survived two world wars.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I knew you were perfecting them. I think you have it! We have two masks coming, don’t think they will arrive anytime soon. Not too worried because I think they are going to be the thing to wear for quite awhile. I cut up one of SSNS tees and folded it over, put it over my nose and mouth and tied it in the back… done. I might not be able to breathe and it’s going to be hot in hot Florida but it will get me in the grocery store and out.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I hope you meant this line – “There is also a surgical remedy for your big ears” to be funny because I sure LOL’d. Cats looked at me funny, too.

    Kudos for building the masks. I’m picking up two today, made by a quilter who is raising funds for the food bank. After reading your post, and I better prepared for what’s to come in the wearing department.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I wore my mask for the first time yesterday during my 3 hour jaunt at the grocery store, and it was hot and claustrophobic! I remember now why I didn’t wear one during the H1N1 epidemic. My neighbour sewed it for me as she has all kinds of material, but it’s a little too big for my narrow face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For the pattern I had, my elastic was too wide which is why it didn’t fit around the ears. I wish we would have had the dust masks to work with but we didn’t. They are formed so the fabric isn’t against you mouth making me feel like it’s taped shut.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think my friend forgot my face was so thin. I might have some dust or hospital masks, which I did NOT throw out when cleaning out my mothers house. I also kept a big box of disposable gloves from after her hip surgery, which have come in handy at the grocery store. They were handing them out there yesterday, but they were all large sizes. Marie Kondo be dammed!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I always keep disposable gloves on hand and luckily we went to our local restaurant wholesale store (where we buy them) and got 4 boxes each in January. Yes, they have come in handy and I don’t have to worry about running out. At least not yet.

          Liked by 2 people

  19. Yes, I was always a bit lukewarm about MK and now her advice is coming back to bite us all in the butt. Waste not, want not, my mother said. If I’d followed her advice we’d still have our masks that I tossed out because they didn’t give me joy. 🙄

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I’ m trying one more pattern today. None are especially comfortable. The men’s hanky no-sew is the best but it is HOT. I haven’t tried the no-sew tee shirt one suggested by the CDC where you cut out a piece and the ends go over your ears. Haven’t figured out how many layers of fabric are really over your face. I only have 1/4 inch elastic but it will work. And shoestrings for the ones you tie on. I did buy them especially for that purpose. While elastic was all gone at Walmart, shoestrings were available.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen that one but I gave up looking after I came up with something. I cut one out of a summer nightgown with a pretty print but haven’t made it yet. It has to be enough of a barrier but you should be able to breathe. Not sure the husband will want to wear a flowery nightgown one even if it’s more comfy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • My DMV photo isn’t bad. About 10 to 15 years ago they upgraded the cameras locally and it’s not like they used to be. I used to look like someone who just fell off the turnip truck.

      Like

  21. Well good for you figuring out how to use your available “materials” to craft a couple of masks. I searched the official sewing box here and found NOTHING I could use – and I can’t sew worth a bean anyway. Fortunately our mask order arrived AND a kind neighbor gave us a couple of medical grade masks too. Reminds me of my old “bank robber days” – oops – maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that???????

    Hugs, Pam

    Liked by 2 people

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s