This is a blog post on how to make a face mask at home. In the current climate as a sewer one can’t help doing what one can in this climate. Be it from using a 3 D printer to make visors or even helping out in your community to cook food. There is now a global shortage of surgical face masks and so is the N95 respirator. Moreover, these masks are single-use and to be used only for healthcare workers. It is a great controversial debate about to wear face masks or not. I am no expert so I leave you to make your own decision about wearing a face mask.
Here is a statement from Etsy currently to its sellers to respond to the current climate. This is seen after a statement released in the US from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about wearing a homemade face mask to the general public. There are also now tons of Youtube videos on how to make your own with and without a sewing machine. How to use a bandanna or scarf. In this post, I am using a sewing machine to make one as it gives a stronger result. It is possible to hand sew but it won’t be as strong it will take longer to make.
A great advantage over a homemade face mask to single-use mask is that you can wash it a 60 degrees wash every time after you use it.
How to make face mask
This mask will fit an adult. For children sizes, it will need to be resized to fit their faces. Here is a link to material choices to make a homemade face mask. In it said choice of fabric is the most important aspect of all in making a homemade mask effective. Fabrics that are tightly woven (higher thread count than 180) as far more effective. In this example like quilter’s cotton, tea towel but not linen or t-shirt material. If using simple cotton add a layer of flannel. Non-natural fibres like polyester as good as well.
For a face mask pattern, here is link on from an article from the New York Times. This article is downloadable as well. I have adapted the pattern as I sew-along. While the pattern is good there are many variations to making a face mask I found. This down to mainly the choice of fabric and your sewing machine. My sewing machine wouldn’t cope with sewing thick folded fabrics. I broke two needles while just sewing my first face mask. I also made one with a pocket so that I can add an extra layer or two to the face mask. This can be like a layer of kitchen towel.
Different types of mask ties
For face mask ties one can use elastic tapes or ties but that is being to be hard to come by. It takes longer to make ties but it’s an option when one is allergic to latex and the shops run out of elastic. For the mask strap, the length would be 18 inches (45 cm) and the width would be 1 1/4 inches (3-4 cm). The width would depend on how easy one feels to make it into a turned strip. The narrower it is the harder it is to make it neat and tidy all round.
To sew I use the measurement provided 9.5 inches (24 cm) X 6.5 inches (16.5 cm). The long section cut on the straight grain. If the fabric is thick I would pleat it first. 2-3 pleats then sew and overlock all around leaving a gap to turn it inside out. Also, do sew in the strings or elastics. Turn it inside out and topstitch it.
Wearing a face mask it is not the most comfortable of all if you are not use it. As I said before this blog post is written in my opinion and it is not based on any scientific judgments.
To make a face mask with an opening
To make a face mask with an opening is to first of all cut extra about 1-2 inches (3-4 cm) for the front-facing piece. This is the length of the mask. So in this pattern, it is 9 and a half inches you will have to add 1-2 inches to the front piece. only the front piece. This to make a nice opening that doesn’t show in the front or top. Finish off the seam allowance for both front and back opening pieces before joining the pieces together. Fold over and overlap at the same time to make a flap. Like how it’s done on the top picture. Sew at the sides to reinforce the opening with a zig-zag stitch or a straight stitch will just be fine.