Give a person a mask and they’ll wear it for a day, teach a person to mask and…uh.

Our writer Go Hatori has been at a loss recently after using up his last surgical mask amid the growing coronavirus confusion. Every day he went to his local 100-yen store Daiso in the faint hope a new shipment would come in…actually, he used to go to Daiso every day before this too, but now it was a much more somber affair.

Then, one day Daiso gave Go something much better than a mass-produced face mask – they gave him the means to make his own.

Hanging on a rack were free copies of detailed instructions on how to sew a reusable cloth mask and some fabric to buy and do it with. There were also instructions on making a paper towel mask, but that seemed too flimsy for Go’s liking, so he opted for the sturdier cloth version.

The instructions were for a two-cloth layered mask, so he picked up two different colors to make it reversible and some elastic. In total it cost him only 300 yen (US$2.80), and had he not already had thread at home he could have gotten that too for an extra 100 yen, still making his mask considerably cheaper than the current market prices.

The hardest part, measuring out the dimensions of the mask, was conveniently taken care of by the paper, so Go got to work drafting out a cardboard pattern. When finished, he realized that the paper itself was already to scale, so all he had to do was cut that out instead.

An experienced seamster probably would have noticed that more quickly, but Go was hardly that. The closest thing to sewing he usually does is eating spicy noodles.

Since he already had his cardboard pattern ready, he used that to cut out four pieces of cloth in the desired shape and size.

Then he got out his sewing machine.

Considering he hadn’t touched a sewing machine since home ec class in junior high, Go was rather impressed with how well he remembered how to load one up and use it.

He stitched along all the paths indicated on the instruction sheet in the order that they specified.

Just a few more loose ends to tie up and then the insertion of the rubber bands.

When the dust settled Go’s very own handmade mask was complete! And it was kind of… What’s the opposite of “seamless?” Seamful?

But it fit well and provided him with a level of coverage against other people’s spit and snot that he could be comfortable with.

The white thread that he had lying around the house didn’t really blend with the black fabric at all, but in a way that helped to give it a stylishly ironic and intentionally slapdash look.

Had the thread been black, it just would have looked like Go tried to make a perfect mask and failed, which he of course did.

But more importantly it was made by his own hands, and that earned this face mask a special place in his heart.

Now, Go was officially off the surgical mask grid and no longer had to worry about getting into brawls while trying to buy some. Even better, he learned that he could kind of sew. All in all, it was another one of Go’s days brightened by the 100 yen store.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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