The smiley face in the center was cut from a piece of flannel which was used for the mask lining. The flannel (requested by the CDC), was also difficult to obtain. You had to settle for whatever was available...smiley face, elephants, ballerinas, dinosaurs, and other children's PJs fabric. The head of Housing here, managed to get a couple of bolts of white flannel for us. The stores eventually did get solid flannels.
The emblems in the centers to the right and left of the smiley are the Malden Housing Authority logo. I thought it was fitting because all these masks were made for the residents and staff of all Malden Housing.
The map of Malden on the end panels are representative of masks that the Mayor starting passing out, and provided these for us too. However, this was months into the pandemic, when we had been wearing our one mask for several months.
The patriotic flags fabric around the center of the 4th panel was very popular. People had often requested that one, or asked me to make it for pay. There was a lot of patriotic fabric around, but not all of it was suitable for face masks because the images were too large. We ended up looking for red/white/blue fabric, such as panel 3, 3rd fabric down, and the fabric around the smiley, and panel 4, 3rd one down.
The top fabric on panel 4 was a Red Cross fabric (from the World War). This was used for all of the Home Health Aides and the Homemakers. They couldn't wait to get their masks, since they had to enter many apartments all day long.
The Sugar Skulls (Panel 2, first one and around the center), were popular among the younger tenants, as were the purples (Panel 2, fabric 5 and 6).
Fabric for men was also another roadblock. A lot of the fabric had been donated by quilters in the neighborhood, and most fabric had flowers on them. We did manage to obtain some black with light streaks on it (Panel 2, first one), another with wings that resembled Eagles (Panel 1, 5th fabric), solid gold with hello written all over it in many languages (Panel 1, around the center), the measuring tape fabric (Panel 4, 2nd one), and the most popular one was the cracked blue (Center Panel, 6th fabric).
Another one that was requested most often was the puzzle fabric (Panel 4, 4th fabric). These were people who spent time around autistic kids (and wanted to show support for Autism).
Mickey and Minnie (Center, fabric 2), were somewhat large for a face mask. The fabric had to be cut just so, to get them on there, and fabric was wasted, but people liked it.
I'm sure you all recall the pressure of staying safe when this all first began. Seems funny to remember it and feel a little safer today.