The Unmasking: A Special Gift For Mask Makers

the unmaskingMaking progress on making masks.

I’ve now made about two dozen masks. I’ve figured out how to streamline the process, working on a few each morning before I start writing.  I’m almost out of interfacing, but I’ll never be out of fabric. I’ve been adding to my fabric stash for years, buying fabric on sale and bargain tables sometimes, and others just grabbing a bit of this or that I can’t live without. I also save scraps. Lots of those, just the right size for masks. I even managed to find elastic.

Many of you are making masks, too. I’m so proud of you when I read how many you’ve made and where you’ve sent them. I knew I hung out with a lot of good people, so I’m not surprised. But I am in awe.

A gift for hard working mask makers.

Of course sewing is my hobby, but writing is my profession. Sometimes they can come together.

As a thank you to everyone who’s making and giving masks away, I’d like to give back a bit. If you comment here this week and include a photo of a mask you’ve made and given away–or many masks you’ve made–then I’ll send you a code to download one of my very first novels, The Unmasking, which was published by Harlequin in 1985 and updated just a bit when I received my rights back. The Unmasking was one of my first books to be published, a romance about second chances. And yes, the heroine is a mask maker!

***Unfortunately right after I published this, I discovered you can’t post photos in comments here, a sad state of affairs. Instead pop over to my Facebook Page and post your photo there.  Or you can send it to me at emilie at (use @ and no spaces. I wrote it that way to fool spambots.)

So comment here, post the photo there or send it to me, and same result. Sorry about the two-steps. Technology can be a bear.

To me this seems like exactly the right book to read right now. It’s an escape into the world of professional mask making in New Orleans, where masks are a big part of the local culture. It was written back when masks were made and worn for fun and not to avoid germs.

The book takes place in pre-Katrina New Orleans, and I fondly remember taking a real mask maker to lunch as part of my research. Who knew I’d be making dozens of a very different kind of mask years later?

So what are you waiting for?

  • Comment.
  • Show us a photo on my FB page or in an email to me of one or more of your beautiful masks.
  • In return I will send you a code from Book Funnel to download The Unmasking on your e-Reader, tablet, or computer to enjoy. Book Funnel is the perfect tool for authors to send readers books, and they will help you through the process.  I promise it’s not a bit difficult to use.

Nothing to it, right? Nothing except the thrill of helping others, working with fabric, and finally settling in with a good book after a job well done.

Disclaimer: I’m an Amazon Associate and if you click on one of my Amazon links and buy, I may receive an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny royalty.



  1. Kathy on April 8, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    I made 33 masks this past weekend! I’m quilter so I had plenty of fabric, but I had get creative with elastic since the only store we have in town that sells it was completely sold out!

    • Emilie Richards on April 8, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      Great job! Thanks for posting the photo on my FB page, too.

    • Delores on April 9, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      I’ll try leaving a photo on your Facebook page. I’ve finished 180 and have a couple dozen started. I’ve enjoyed working with cute/pretty fabrics. It’s so hard for me to go into the fabric store and NOT come out with some fabric I just couldn’t resist! Hopefully, I have elastic on the way but still have enough for about fifty more. Fabric supply—pretty endless!

  2. Jean Defrances on April 8, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    I’ve made masks for friends and neighbors. One went to my mail lady (fabric had envelopes with hearts).

    • Emilie Richards on April 8, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      I know they have all been so appreciated. Love the envelopes.

    • monica massanyi on April 8, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      I’ve mafe 120 masks so far. Makes me feel like I’m doing something piditive.

  3. Joan Garland on April 8, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    I hope you can open this. I’ve made a few face masks, gave to neighbors who are elderly and mailed several to my granddaughter and her roomies in New Jersey. I have a lot of your “Older” books but not “The Unmasking.” I’d love to read it. thanks so much
    Joan G

    • Emilie Richards on April 8, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you, your masks are beautiful!

      • Lenora Shoemaker on April 8, 2020 at 6:08 pm

        I have made 25 so far, will start on batch #3 tonight since my husband is off the rest of the week. I also have no idea how to post a picture here so hopefully this works.

      • Rosemary Geisler on April 9, 2020 at 1:11 am

        I too am a quilter. That means that I have a large stash of fabric. I have made 20 masks that I have sent to family and friends. I just made a unicorn mask for one of my grand daughters. I mailed them today. I have a picture on my phone , but I don’t know how to put it in my post.

  4. Joni Everson on April 8, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    I have no clue how to post a picture here!
    I made 18 for nurses
    Now I’m making a different type for co workers & friends
    My brother called last night & his family is in need of masks- his daughter in Indiana has a new baby & I was asked to make Him one – it’s so cute I was in tears thinking a new baby has to have a mask!!

    • Emilie Richards on April 8, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      18! That’s fantastic.

    • Carol Lippe on April 12, 2020 at 5:59 pm

      My first masks were for my friend who is an ER nurse and then masks for her hospital, my family, friends, and neighbors. So far, about 150. So happy to have a way to help!

  5. Helen Tester on April 8, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    I have made 51 masks so far and they have either been handed out in person, picked up, delivered or mailed out. The requests from friends and family keep coming in. I tried to drag a photo into the comment but it didn’t work. How can I post a picture?

    • Emilie Richards on April 9, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      So sorry, Helen. I was sure this was foolproof, but it appears without some special dispensation from the WordPress gods, that can’t be done. So if you send me an email (address in the updated version of this blog) and attach a photo or drag one to it, that will be perfect. You can also post on my FB page.

  6. Eileen on April 8, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    I can’t sew, but a local ER doc sent out a request for face shields. Very easy to make — I used overhead transparency sheets, self-adhesive weather stripping, and elastic. My husband and I made 238 until our elastic supply ran out.

  7. Nanette Lillie on April 8, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    So far I’ve completed roughly 50 masks…most going to a homeless shelter I work with for the clients and staff. Some for friends and family. I’ll post a photo on your Facebook page.

  8. Kathleen Donkus on April 8, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    I have sewn 27 masks so far for hospice, LTC facility and hospital in FL. Such fun using my “stash” of fabric in hopes of bringing a smile to someone’s face when they wear it and see it. I have posted a picture on Facebook.

  9. Eileen on April 9, 2020 at 7:04 am

    With the help of my husband, I made 238 face shields for our local health care providers. I don’t sew, so this was a project I could do. Transparencies, self-adhesive foam weather stripping, elastic, and staples. They are quick to make, too.

  10. Thea McCurry on April 9, 2020 at 7:15 am

    I’ve been making a few each day, after assembling over 50 kits. I have a hard time with repetition so just cannot get through that whole pile all at once. My neighbors appreciate them. No idea how to put a pic here, tho.
    Staying healthy.

  11. Kathleen Donkus on April 9, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    (My comment from last night didn’t seem to work)

    I have made 27 so far for hospice, LTC facility and hospital in FL. Fun to use all different types of fabric in hopes of bringing smiles to wearers and viewers…

    • Emilie Richards on April 9, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      No, it’s just that the first time someone comments, I have to approve it. And I shut down my computer after 5. But they’re both here now. And I just emailed you.

  12. Linda Brown on April 9, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    When the sewing shop that I work for (in normal pre-Covid times) ran out of elastic early in the mask making push, I was “assigned” the creation of making miles of mask ties using my serger and the belt loop binder. So far I have made just a few full masks, but I have cut 20 yards of 1 inch strips and made it into ties. I will head over to the Facebook page and post a picture of my effort.

    • Emilie Richards on April 9, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      That’s a wonderful way to be of service. Looking forward to the photo.

  13. Paulina Warren on April 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    I have made 60+ masks for members of our congregation. Several of us are working on them. We get cut fabric and elastic dropped at our doors (no contact) and we return the finished masks to the door of the coordinator. I tried to post a photo of a batch of them on your Facebook page. I do not know if I was successful!

  14. Cathy Norton on April 9, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    I have two completed, 18 more cut out and in various stages of completion with requests for 10 more. That may be as far as my elastic will go. Any after that will have to have ties.

  15. Adelyn Grudier on April 9, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    I feel like such a slouch in that I only made one mask for myself. I do not like repetitive sewing and if I’ve made two of something I become bored and more bored. Lots of gals in my apt. complex are taking up the slack for me so I don’t feel so bad.
    My mask is really ugly and boring but so be it. For more filter-ability I inserted strips of machine embroidery stabilizer ( strips) and I think it must be making it pretty sturdy because I keep on steaming up my glasses. It will be such a blessing when this is all over and if we are all still here. Imagine, it has been 102 years since we had such an equalizing virus thin the ranks. I wasn’t here for the first go-round but I remember the parental unit talking about it. No one of my relatives died then so I hope the good luck continues.

    • Emilie Richards on April 10, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      So here’s how I vary the otherwise boring parts? I use different fabrics, and I listen to Becoming by Michelle Obama, which is an outstanding audiobook, read by our former First Lady herself. Between Mrs. Obama and choosing fabric, I have fun. Your mask is great, and I know you give your beautiful sewing talent to others in multiple ways.

  16. Judith Smith-Valley on April 10, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Attached is a picture of me trying on my first mask. I enjoyed using a variety of bright fabric from my stash. (Found a package of black elastic in there too.) Loved your comments about your fabric. Once again your talents of description come blazing through. We appreciate your recognition of all the quilters and sewists helping with this important support. Just last week it was suggested here in Maine that we all use masks when we need to go out. Our local Joann Fabric and Northern Lights Hospital is collecting. Much love to you and Proman. Stay safe and wash your hands.

    • Emilie Richards on April 10, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Much love back to you and yours. It’s such a pleasure to hear from you here. (If my hands get any cleaner the skin will fall off. May we all be able to say that in these trying times.)

  17. Jeanmarie Shingleton on April 10, 2020 at 10:23 am

    I started making a couple for my children who are shopping for us, then they wanted more…. Then my husband works in an essential industry so he needed some. Then I realized a co-worker has a compromised son, so her family needed some too. I think, in then end, I’ll be at about 50. And then I’ll also be out of elastic, so until we find more, that will be it for me and I’ll move on to doing other things, while I’m also working at home.

    • Emilie Richards on April 10, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      That’s a lot. You’ve discovered what I have. If you make them, they’ll find homes. Good for you.

  18. Cheryl Dorr on April 11, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I am in the process of making 40 masks for co-workers and frontline workers. Hope to make more if needed after that. Thanks so much to everyone giving there gift of love and sewing!

  19. Wanda on April 11, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    I have made 12 and have about twenty to add ties to today. I have another pike cut snd ready to go.

    • Carol Santos on April 16, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      I’ve made about 50 masks and am working on another 25. So many volunteers need them.

  20. Pamela Feinberg on April 17, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Haven’t made nearly as many as all you wonderful people, but I just started. I made one for my husband and myself and anyone else who needs one. Now that I have made several I can make them faster. Hard to find supplies, such as elastic, so I came across some hair ties at CVS and they work great.
    I am so proud of the world today how they are stepping up and helping each other. Now if we can keep it up when this all is behind us.

Leave a Comment