Craft Stash JUSTIFIED!: Surviving the Pandemic as Artists and Crafters

So here we are. Are you all ok?

These are hard times.

Many are struggling financially, many are struggling emotionally and most of us are feeling trapped and stir-crazy.

I know I am. I am very privileged to not worry about having enough to eat or a place to stay. But I am still very stressed.

I miss my students. I miss my workout friends. Cosplay husband is at half salary. I worry about my high-risk friends and family.  I fight migraines every day. (This is not in order of importance).

So much I can’t do anything about. What can I do though? MAKE MASKS.

I sew! I’m a crafter! And what’s more, I HAVE A FABRIC STASH.

I, like my mother before me, like so many of us who costume, craft, and sew, have a hard time throwing out ANY supplies.

Especially if you cosplay! You never know what you might need or be able to use!

As I’ve shared here before, Kiogenic (cosplay daughter) and I started cosplaying as a financially-strapped single Mom and daughter. Thrift shops were our friend, and we reused EVERYTHING.

The shotgun shells for Yang’s Gauntlets here? Wine corks that Kiogenic painted red. (I drank the wine).

So yes, over time, the arts and crafts room turned into, well, a disaster area of a dump of all the things that “we might have a use for.”


Yeah. It was a disaster. But also an opportunity. I wanted to make masks,  and luckily, one of the sf/fantasy academics I follow on twitter had posted a great pattern and tutorial. All credit and love to CZ Edwards fro this great pattern! You can print directly onto printer paper and then there are step-by-step instructions, even for beginners. There is a simple double-sided mask with interfacing (or an extra layer of cotton) and an additional pattern if you want to make a pocket for inserting an additional filter (folks are using coffee filters, kleenex, etc.)

If the above pattern seems daunting, the CDC has a less complex (but arguably less effective) pattern and set of instructions here. 

It was exactly what I needed to make masks for myself, my family, and an increasing number of friends who want to keep themselves and others safe.

But first Kiogenic and I had to clean up the arts and crafts room. And we did (which turned out to be necessary anyway- Kiogenic is pursuing an art degree and ended up having to complete her  advanced painting class at home)

The artist at work

All best practices, as described by reputable sources, indicate that tightly woven cotton (quilting cotton) is your best bet for mask material.  The tight weave does as good a job as possible in providing a filter but still makes it possible to breathe. The room more organized, I found a LOT of cotton, saved from previous projects, and took the advice to hold it up to the light to see how much light penetrated. This is an easy way of picking the pieces with the tightest weave. Since I am leaving the house only rarely (grocery shopping for us, my parents and in-laws) I was grateful to have the stash of fabric AND a stash of interfacing! My pack-rat sewing/crafting habits were VINDICATED!

The room cleared out, we now had room for Kiogenic to paint AND for me to sew.

I made masks for me, cosplay husband and Kiogenic, as well as for our folks. Then, when former students and other friends asked if I could make them masks, I, of course, said yes (I still had PLENTY of fabric). Small problem: I was out of interfacing. Here, I was saved by my mother, who- though she has not sewn regularly for a decade, came through with her stash. I called, on the off chance she had interfacing. She didn’t think so, but she would “check” and call me back.

She had a bit.

Something like 15 yards.

And so, not only was my fabric stash justified, so was that of my Mom! We win!

So the next time someone gives you trouble about your fabric, or craft stash, tell them that it is just prepping for disaster, being ready for (if not the apocalypse) then at least big emergencies. If you keep things that can be useful, then you can help protect yourself, your loved ones, and others in the community.

Stay safe, friends. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Care about others and WEAR A MASK!