Jealous of your friends’ trendy DIY face masks? It’s not too late to make your own! Here are 26 simple steps from someone who has recently been through the experience.
1. Take out blunt, rusty scissors last used to cut plastic wrapping off raw chicken, because all the proper fabric scissors in the country have now been bought up by better-prepared people.
2. Pick up old T-shirt from bedroom carpet. Cotton is very absorbent – as demonstrated by the T-shirt’s sweat stains and musty odour – so this will be the inner layer of fabric, closest to your mouth and nose.
3. The outer layer should be a water-resistant cotton-polyester blend. Hunt through drawers for gym shorts you haven’t worn all winter.
4. For the middle ‘‘filter’’ layer, locate re-useable green shopping bag bought during April’s panic-buying spree. Cut around rotting vegetable stains.
5. Stack all three layers, and cut fabric into 25 centimetre squares. Blunt scissors should create a jagged edge impossible to fold straight later.
6. Attempt to fold over 1 centimetre of fabric edge and realise mistake made at previous step.
7. Contemplate starting afresh with new piece of fabric but forge on regardless.
8. Rummage through hallway cupboard for sewing machine received from distant aunt as wedding present in 1997. Set up on table, plug in, sit down. Do not check settings or do practice run beforehand.
9. Hold lopsided, jagged-edged square of fabric beneath the needle-thingy, press foot to pedal-thingy and watch everything get jammed into the slot-thingy.
10. Keep pressing foot on the assumption it will eventually fix itself until machine emits high-pitched whine and needle snaps.
11. Swear loudly.
12. Rescue crumpled friction-burnt fabric from jaws of blasted contraption and stomp to hallway cupboard in search of hand sewing kit.
13. Sit down in huff. Hand sew until blood from thumb prick stains left edge of fabric 1 centimetre in width.
14. Hold up finished mask triumphantly, then see it doesn’t have ear loops.
15. Realise national elastic stockpile also bought up by better-prepared people and now only option is cutting shoelaces off least-favourite pair of runners.
16. Find runners, cut off laces and staple to fabric. Feel giddy with own cleverness.
17. Place mask on face, ignoring staples scratching top of ears near cheek.
18. Take selfie and post on Facebook prematurely.
19. Walk to front door.
20. Metres from freedom, gag at stench of own breath, now greatly concentrated.
21. Yank off mask for desperate gulp of fresh air.
22. Pull so hard staples rip through fabric at corners, undoing badly sewn seams.
23. Watch entire afternoon’s hard work flutter to the floor, beyond repair.
24. Slump shoulders.
25. Accept defeat.
26. Return to couch and decide to do your patriotic duty by staying inside. Probably forever.
First published in The Age.