Update, Monday, October 18th, 2021: Dear Lil' Devas
Rosie here :-)
In October, 2020, my sewing machines and I moved out of the compact basement studio in downtown Toronto where I had been working alone since the beginning of Covid and into a bright and beautiful workshop on the main street of the small town of Madoc, Ontario!
Today, a little more than a year since this move, I am pleased to say that after 17 years of managing our team of Dear Lil' Devas seamstresses who have all also flourished in unexpected ways during Covid, I am fully content in the solitude of this beautiful place, fostering my love for designing and stitching up your orders. Covid compelled this lifestyle change, and for that I am so thankful.
The good vibes that have infused your Dear Lil' Devas garments and accessories since 2003 are very much alive and well here!!!
Rosie's Bright and Beautiful Workshop in Madoc, Ontario:
The machines are arranged in a sort of cockpit (the rolling captain's chair accesses each as needed) and are bathed in natural light from the big front window. I've run a long clothesline (I adore clothelines), from the front to the back of the shop where the brightly coloured freshly washed fabric panels that are to become your garments hang. This is possible because the ceiling is about 12 feet high - plenty of space to shake out the fabric panels without hitting my knuckles on the ceiling, yippee! Although coming into the workshop is by appointment only (please email me at email@example.com), when I'm out and about - to the post office, the bakery, etc, the people of Madoc are very welcoming. Many remember my grandfather who for decades puttered away in the back of his hardware store that used to be across the street from my place here (I like to think that I take after him). He and my grandmother left behind them a legacy of kindness that it is now my privilege to continue.
Update Tuesday, May 5th, 2020: Dear Lil' Devas
A lot has happened in the last month! It became apparent that there were many community members in need of cloth masks, especially so that the disposable masks could be saved for the caregivers. Since March 24th, five batches of the bamboo masks have been completed, and I want to thank everyone who has ordered, it has been so busy (understatement). Extras have been made with each batch to give away to community members in need. What a month April was! Onward into May we go, sending you ALL much love, Rosie.
Update Thursday, April 2nd, 2020: Dear Lil' Devas
I now see, thanks to Anne Fortin, retired midwife and community health advocate, that the masks that I talked about on Monday (below), that we were not going to sell are actually needed primarily in our communities, so have decided to make them available to everyone here: COMMUNITY SOLIDARITY MASKS with Laundry Bag
We are still making them to give to care givers, and the price of the Community Solidarity Masks reflects that to help us continue to donate. Thank you everyone.
Also, I've made the pattern simpler so that anyone with a sewing machine can make themselves at home and will publish the pattern on the page above in the next few days.
Update Monday, March 30th, 2020: Dear Lil' Devas
SNUG AROUND the PERIPHERY of the FACE - Wash Hot Reusable Masks
Dear Lil' Devas is making and donating masks to caregivers who are working in homecare settings and longterm care facilities. These people are quite alone and often not well remunerated for the work they do. It is important to let them know they are appreciated and loved by the rest of us. If you know of someone working in that environment and in need of reusable masks, please let them know to email firstname.lastname@example.org
DLD's masks are different than the surgical washable cotton masks that hospitals are asking people to make at home.
Perhaps the snugness is overkill - I truly hope so. I hope that it will never ever come to the point when N95 masks are not available, but at a crisis point DLD's masks could not only be used as a surgical mask, but also as a snug around the periphery of the face (this is key) holder for a filter.
- tightly knit, yet soft against the skin fabric (stretch but without spandex or elastic so can be washed hot many many times)
- could snugly hold a make-shift filter in place; see what could be used as a filter
The snug masks cannot be easily made by domestic sewing machines (knit fabrics slip around and stretch out, very frustrating on a domestic machine).
If you have industrial (singleneedle and overlock) machines, and want to also make these snug fitting masks, email me and I'll send you the pattern and instructions. It's not that they are that complicated, but there are a few important fiddly time-consuming points to figure out, such as the direction of the stretch and allowing for shrinkage that could save you time.
Individuals who are practicing physical distancing (PLEASE DO THAT FOLKS - the measures that are being taken in the hospitals will be wasted if we don't protect our communities!!!!) have expressed that they want to buy masks from DLD for themselves and their families. We are not selling these, our priority is donating them to the caregivers mentioned above.
And finally, DLD hopes to keep up this donation structure for our masks. It doesn't feel ethical to think of charging individual caregivers for something that is protecting all of us.
To do this, Dear Lil' Devas needs to keep selling our other items. Two of our items can be washed hot. I'm thinking of our loved ones who are being cared for in the long-term care facilities who we can't see for a while.
The Warm..est Pants men | women are easy to put on (or have put on if your loved one needs help with that), minimizing the time of contact with the caregiver. They are cozy and warm and can go into the washing facilities that the home provides without getting ruined.
Update Friday, March 20th, 2020: Dear Lil' Devas
This week we made some huge changes. Because of the very real necessity for physical distancing in order to keep those that we love safe (that is people we know, AND people we don't know), we are now staying home. I (Rosie) was able to bring materials to my small home studio and as of Wednesday, the 18th, I am continuing to make orders that come in, whether they are to be sent when ready, or whether you would like to wait until we collectively emerge from COVID-19.
I will update you here again soon.
Sunday, March 15th, 2020:
PLEASE, reach out to your elderly and immunocompromised community members in any way that you safely can. Many are feeling really frightened and isolated. They need to know they are appreciated and loved and that we absolutely DO care that this illness is for the elderly and immunocompromised especially, a very real risk.
Hi - Rosie here, and welcome to Dear Lil' Devas! I personally feel the message above to be the most important one at the moment, so I squeezed it in here when you were expecting to read about our cleanliness measures :-), those are below.
If ever there was a workspace that HAS TO BE CLEANED frequently, it is ours. The reason for that is because we switch between working with dark-coloured and light-coloured fabrics, and especially WHITE. Not cleaning causes great waste and that causes us to lose money, so if ever there was an incentive ;-) ! .... That is actually a joke, it is not so much the money we worry about, but how sad we feel when a garment is created, only to realize during the ironing process that there is a stain, and even the smallest stain causes that garment to be unavailable to send to you.
Before white fabric can even be taken out of its packaging, our entire studio has to be cleaned/sanitized from power on/off and light switches to getting the vacuum into every nook and cranny. This is because the smallest particle of dust (and all the natural fibres that we work with cause dust and fluff) can leave a mark on a white or light-coloured garment. Mix a piece of black fluff with a bit of oil (which our machines need), and you've got a royal stain which means... a ruined garment!!!!
So, please be assured that anything you receive from Dear Lil' Devas comes from a frequently sanitized workspace (specifically, a deep clean at least once a day and frequent wipe-downs). We wash our hands probably at least once an hour and we often wear dust masks while working because the tiny fibres generated by the fabric we work with are not the greatest to inhale.
But these things we did already before the current situation.
There are a couple of other points that should be made to assure you that you're safe ordering from DLD.
1) We make all of our items from start to finish here at our studio - and the whole garment from start to finish is made by one person only. Cutting/Stitching/Ironing/Folding. The only of all of our items that we do not make ourselves are the new hemp shirts.
Raw materials come in (and we pray that will continue!!!) and entire garments go out.
2) All of our woven textiles (not knits) are prewashed and shrunk in our high efficiency machines before we cut the garment from the fabric.
3) The only other thing that I can think of that might cause you to worry is that we ship our items to you in empty cereal boxes that are donated by our neighbours and that I turn inside out so that the blank cardboard inside is on the outside so that they can be addressed. Right now we are using cereal boxes that have been donated at least 6 months ago, (fortunately we have a good stock of those). No new cereal boxes are being brought into the studio currently; when we receive them, they're parked in an isolated place for future use. (If you're one of the lovely souls who donates them to us, please don't stop - we will still need them as long as we are able to still get our other raw materials to continue doing our work with).
All of our love to you - please try not to be too freaked out right now! I must admit though, I'm a bit freaked out financially because I think that although we purchase our supplies of raw materials from local vendors, the availability of supplies is still likely to be severely interrupted. Sadly, without materials, we cannot produce the garments that generate income, and with no income, we cannot afford to pay the general day-to-day costs of running Dear Lil' Devas. Oh dear. Well, let's see. :-) Big virtual hugs everyone - truly!!!