As you most likely have heard, face masks are in huge demand right now, as we experience this COVID-19 pandemic. There is a BIG movement going on with crafters making and donating homemade masks. Forbes even wrote an article calling all people who sew to help with the face mask shortage.
However, before you go crazy and start mass-producing a bunch of masks, I think it’s important that you get informed on the mask-wearing facts. I know there is A LOT controversy over their effectiveness and use, but from my research here are a few resources that I think are reliable.
This HUFFPOST article is loaded with links to who should and should not wear a mask, how effective homemade masks are and they even recommend some mask patterns. The World Health Organization has some good videos showing when to use a mask and other tips to protect against the coronavirus.
The purpose of this post is not to educate about the COVID-19 virus, but to show you how easy it is to make a simplified face mask for yourself, your family or serve the community by making and donating them, if you choose.
I encourage you to be informed. Call your local hospitals, healthcare facilities, and see what their needs are. If they are taking homemade masks and could use them, by all means, get out your sewing machines and your fabric stash and get your little sewing fingers moving!!!!!
I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of different styles and patterns of masks out there and most of them call for elastic. If you’ve tried to buy elastic lately, you’ll find that most stores are out of stock. NO WORRIES! You can make this face mask without elastic using an upcycled t-shirt!
This face mask has
- No Elastic
- A Filter Pocket
- Wire Nose Clamp
- Upcycled T-Shirt Ties
Material and Items Needed
- SCISSORS/ROTARY CUTTER (OPTIONAL)
- PINS/CLIPS (OPTIONAL)
- SEWING MACHINE
- CRAFT PIPE CLEANERS/ or BAG TWIST TIES, (If using PIPE CLEANERS, cut to 4 inches).
- UPCYCLED T-SHIRT/ OR KNIT FABRIC
- PRINTABLE CUTTING GUIDE AND PLEAT GUIDE
YOU CAN GET THE FULL PRINTABLE TUTORIAL AND PATTERN HERE.
If you do not sew and would like to purchase a face mask already made, I have them in my Etsy shop HERE.
If you don’t have any knit fabric or T-shirts to make ties with, I found a great resource where you can purchase this stuff already made. It’s called “FARMYARN”. This yarn is made from recycled lycra fabric that is REALLY stretchy and durable. It’s like elastic and can be used in so many ways ie: FACE MASKS! You can read more about it and buy it HERE.
1- Cutting Out Face Mask
ADULT: Fabric 14 1/2 inches x 8 inches (36.8 cm x 20.3 cm).
TEEN: Fabric 13 3/4 inches x 7 inches
CHILD: Fabric 13 inches x 6 inches
2- Cutting Out Ties
The beauty of knit fabric, is that it doesn’t fray, and when pulled it will curl. You may be asking why do we want it to curl? When it curls it creates a little tube, like an enclosed tie, but you don’t have to sew it to keep it that way like you would a woven fabric.
Cut two strips either crosswise or lengthwise 1 inch wide. (2.5) cm
Cutting along the bottom of a t-shirt, the fabric will curl and expose the wrong side of the fabric. (Which doesn’t matter if using a plain color, preference only). But if you want the right side of the fabric exposed, cut the shirt lengthwise as shown in the diagram above.
Pull the strips to stretch and curl the fabric.
Cut ties to 15 inches (38.1) cm
3- Finish the edges of the short sides of the mask piece using a serger or zigzag stitch.
4- Place the right sides together of the SHORT ENDS of the mask piece.
ADULT: Measure 1 ½ inches from both sides and mark with a pin.
TEEN: Measure 1 inch from edges
CHILD: Measure 3/4 inch from edges.
5- Using a straight stitch, sew from the edge to the pin.
Backstitch. Sew the other end the same way.
6- Open up seam and press.
7- Topstitch along both sides of the seam.
(It’s easiest to keep the wrong side out and sew inside the tube you just made).
8- Place seam 1/2 inch from the top fold
9- Sewing the Face mask ties
Take the ties and place the ends in the corners of the mask, making sure they butt up against the fold. Allow the ends to stick out a bit to make sure you are catching them in the seam. Pin or clamp in place. Pull the tie ends out of the hole to keep them out of your way.
I love these little fabric clamps, but pins work just fine.
Sew down the sides of the mask, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.
10- Turn inside out.
Poke out the corners and press.
11- Mark and sew pleats
Lay the pleat guide along the edge of the mask and place pins in to mark folding points. There should be 6 pins on each side, as indicated in the photo above.
Fold the top pin down to meet the second pin. Clip fold in place using the fabric pins or pin in place. Continue this process until all three pleats have been formed.
If you are making a lot of these masks after a while you won’t need to measure and pin, you’ll be able to just eyeball it.
Repeat this on the other side. Press pleats in place.
12-Top stitch along the side edges of the mask.
First pass sew close 1/4 inch from the edge, and the second pass sew close to the edge.
13- Wire Nose Clamp
Take the pipe cleaner or wire that you are using and insert it through the hole in the back of the mask. Align it at the TOP of the mask and center. Make sure it is against the folded edge of the mask.
Sew along the top edge at 1/2 inch seam allowance to create a casing for the wire.
Sew along the bottom edge as well to reinforce and stabilize the mask.
There you have it.
Keep in mind that these masks MAY not prevent us from contracting Covid-19, but they can act as a physical reminder for us to keep our hands away from our face, and when it comes down to it, they may be better than nothing as a protective barrier.
If you think that a handmade mask cannot be used, think again. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a place for them — in times of crisis, like the one we are in right now. On the CDC page: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks, they explain that as a last resort, a homemade mask is acceptable.
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Take care my dear friends! We are all in this together!
Sending love to all of you!
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