By Dhruv Jagan
When I came out of my room, I saw that somebody had dropped something off at our front porch. It looked like a sewing machine and I asked my mom what it was? She confirmed that it was indeed a sewing machine! I asked her “What do you need this for?” “Are you going to start stitching clothes?” She replied “No.” She told me she got the machine to stitch masks. “Why do you need to stitch them, mom?” “Can’t we just buy them?” She told me that during this COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world is falling short of masks and the N-95 masks available are essential for medical professionals. But, people who are helping the senior citizens or the newborns and new moms don't need N-95 masks. “They do need to protect themselves to reduce the spread of the virus, by wearing a mask”, she replied. So, she decided to help these people by stitching and donating homemade masks. She said it is very satisfying to help care for the people who are caring for others. I found it was a very noble deed, so I decided to help her in any way possible.
The project of making of masks started in my living room. As soon as she started preparing to use the machine, she got freaked out! She realized that the machine was not a simple mechanical needle-thread instrument that she was used to. It had multi-functional stitching pattern electronics and bobbin set-up. Knowing my mom, I knew she was going to figure it out sooner than later, and she did. I helped her cut the clothes. The clothes were supposed to be 2 15x7 inches rectangle pieces that would be stitched together inside out from 3 sides. I also helped with manually putting the thread through the needle every time because my mom has refused to accept that she now needs reading glasses. Everything was going smoothly until the thread was over and she had no idea where to get it from because the thread was out of stock everywhere, even online. You guessed it. She was stressed out like there was no tomorrow. But again, she never fails to amaze me. She remembered that once upon a time, my grandma had tucked a few needles and thread reels in her suitcase while coming back from India. My mom got the thread and we continued our journey of stitching.
This time, she broke the needle!! Here we go again! Bruh!! How?!?!?! Now what? She wanted to move forward, so she decided to stitch them by hand. My dad, feeling very bad for her, decided to ask around via the messaging system. Late in the night, he got a response from his student that her mother had universal needles. “Thank goodness” he said and picked it up late in the night from his student’s mailbox. Then, my parents found out how to replace the needle watching YouTube videos. We were back on track again for stitching masks. I told my mom “You are a very perseverant person.” We finally finished the mask and it was very interesting watching my mom stitch the masks and take care of my 2-year-old sister who also wanted to help ALL THE TIME! I continued helping my mom thread the needle. She finally finished making 95 masks within a couple of weeks!! I was so amazed at her hard work and her determination, especially when she was going through a lot of training process and teaching her brand-new online course at WPI. I ended up stitching my own mask as well for my recycle Science school project and so did my brother.
So, making of masks is a huge amount of “Stress for Satisfaction!”It was all worth it!!