May has come and gone – another of the weirder months of my life. In May, I really began to get comfortable with the new normal of social distancing. I am an extroverted introvert, and although I can hold my own and have a great time in a crowd, at the core of things I’d choose to stay home almost every time. As social distancing rules persisted in light of COVID-19, I really fell into a groove that I was happy with. I work with an immunosuppressed patient population, so my days consisted of work and home and little in between, in order to minimize both the risk to my patients and my family. My husband covered our grocery runs every week or two, which allowed my daughter and I to never have to get out in public. I developed a weekly meal-planning practice to help us avoid unplanned grocery trips. My no-outings lifestyle made it really easy for me to only wear scrubs and sweats, so in an effort to feel more like myself, and participate in Me-Made May, I also developed a weekly outfit-planning practice. Despite closures of my gyms, I came up with an exercise routine centered around running three times a week in preparation for my first 5k. At the start of the year, I set a goal of running a 5k in 2020 (I’ve NEVER been a runner!) and started training for this just days before the COVID-19 pandemic really began to rear its head in my area. The stay at home orders made this a great time to commit to this as I was able to complete runs in my neighborhood! Obviously, in-person 5ks remain cancelled for the time being, but I participated in a Virtual 5k and more than met my goal of a less than 10 min/mile pace by setting a personal record of 8:57 min/mile!
Despite these new practices and routines (that I am hoping that I can continue to incorporate in my life moving forward!), May was odd. My motivation in the sewing room was minimal to none. My husband and I painted and moved some rooms around in our house, leaving my sewing space disassembled and inaccessible fora a week or so. The little time I did spend in my sewing area was mostly dedicated to re-building and re-decorating my fresh, new sewing room and sewing facial masks for my husband to wear when he ran our family errands. However, I did get one garment sewn using my chosen fabric for May #MonthlyMakeMyStash2020!! And honestly, if I only got to sew one thing, I’m definitely happy that it was this.
The main body of this Phoenix Top is sewn up in a crepe rayon from IndieSew. I have a little stash of IndieSew fabrics left from when the shop was open, and I vacillate between feeling super motivated to sew and wear them and wanting to hide them and save them forever, now that IndieSew is no more. This one finally made it off the shelf, thanks to my Monthly Make My Stash plans (you can read more on that HERE!) I knew that it would make a super lovely Phoenix Blouse, and as I cleaned up my fabric shelves to prepare to move my sewing space from one room to another, I found this awesome green rayon remnant that was sent to me as a little surprise gift with an order from Cottoneer. It was small, so I’d never been quite sure what to do with it, but it turned out to be just enough for my yoke pieces here. And what a pretty match!
This is not my first Phoenix Blouse – I made another last summer in some beautiful coordinating cotton lawns from Fibers to Fabric. I loved the silhouette, and thought it would be incredibly comfy in this more flowy and drapey fabric. I was totally right, this thing is secret pajamas. I have no problem coming home and changing into this instead of a frumpy tee and pj shorts after a day at work! Another bonus is the breezy breathability of this fabric – even though it is pushing 100℉ here in DFW, I’m more than comfortable wearing this outside.
So I was lucky enough that my little rayon remnant matched up so nicely with my main fabric, but as I hunted through some old fabrics, I found some fat quarters that I’d purchased 10ish years ago when I made and sold hairbows in college. This green print was so similar to my yoke fabric, so now I can be one of those fancy people who matches her mask to her outfit.
I didn’t have the capacity or time to mass-produce masks over the past couple of months, but I did end up sewing masks for my husband, my daughter, and myself to use when we needed to leave the house. The first couple that I made were just layers of scrap fabric that I’d had leftover from previous projects, but my more recent masks have also included a layer of filter fabric gifted to me by Filti, a company based in my childhood home state of Oklahoma that pivoted from HVAC filter production into filter fabric media production when the need arose this year. Recommendations state that any face covering is preferred to none at this time, but the perk of Filti’s material is that it can filter germs similar to an N95 mask quality. Essentially, this means that while a standard mask would primarily prevent you from spreading germs to others, a mask that includes Filti material can also prevent germs from getting to you. Here’s how Filti stacks up against common household materials:
- Polyester Dress Shirt: 2.50%
- Cotton Shirt: 9.30%
- Polyester/Cotton Sewing Fabric: 10.40%
- Microfiber Dish Towel: 14.50%
- Filti Face Mask Material: 95.00%
The material is reusable and washable (though the efficacy of the fabric will decrease over time and with washes). It can be sewn in as a permanent layer in your masks, or if you prefer, you can cut individual pieces to be inserted into masks with pockets – this is what I’ve done! When I wash our masks, I remove the filter and replace it with another. My biggest concern was that the filter media would be noticeable when wearing our masks, making it hotter or harder to breathe, but neither my husband nor myself have noticed this to be an issue. To be fair, he’s worn his much more than I have as I’m still primarily at work and home, but he’s also the bigger complainer so I trust his word! If you’re interested in adding a filter media to your masks, you can find this material for sale here!
Filti was kind enough to send me a pretty good sized cut of this filter material to try out, and I have plenty leftover to cover masks for my family and many more. Although I am not sewing masks right now, I do want to offer up some of my leftover fabric to anyone who is actively out participating in Black Lives Matter protests. My heart and my support goes out to anyone protesting for rights that shouldn’t be in question and oppression that shouldn’t exist, and if you would like a cut of this to slip into your mask pockets as a filter layer to help you feel protected from Coronavirus while using your voice, PLEASE get in contact – I’d love to mail some your way!
Top: handmade by me
Pattern: Hey June Handmade – Phoenix Blouse
Fabric: IndieSew – Bouquet White Crepe Rayon (unfortunately, IndieSew is closed now and I miss that shop SO much!)
Yoke Fabric: Cottoneer – gifted Rayon Remnant
Brother XR9500PRW Sewing Machine
Brother 1034D Overlocker
Thanks for reading my thoughts on this pattern! All words and opinions expressed throughout this post are my own, as always. Links provided throughout this post may be affiliate links – if you choose to purchase any products through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This simply helps me justify the costs of my sewing habit and the time it takes to share it with you!! Happy Sewing!
- XX Elizabeth