The Blind Lady Custom Blinds

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Why wear a Mask?

Why Make Masks?

I wear a mask for you to be safe?

Will you wear a mask   

for me to be Safe?

The CDC has just suggested that if we both observe social distancing and wear a mask we can help stop Covid-19 from spreading. 

Assume you are a carrier of this virus and wear a mask to protect the ones you ❤️ love ❤️ and your neighbors. These masks are not medical-grade masks and must be used in combination with other CDC recommendations, such as social distancing.

Happy Sewing

Making masks is a way to feel connected to your family and friends.  In a time when circumstances make us feel helpless, sewing and distributing masks can both contribute to the  greater good and help you feel that you are more in more control of circumstances that surround us today.


Email me with questions about mask making at:

[email protected]

Photo:  Jane Hamilton, Designer and Owner of The Blind Lady Custom Blinds and Drapery, at her sewing machine.

The Materials 

100% tightly woven cotton works the best.

I use a patterned fabric for the outside of the mask and a plain fabric for the inside of the mask.  This way it is easier for the wearer to identify the inside of the mask from the outside.  Plus if possible if everyone in the household has their own fabric pattern it’s easier to find your own mask.


Pre-wash Fabric and dry in dryer.  

This will pre-shrink the cotton so that when you wash your mask it should not shrink.


Materials:

  • Two pieces of fabric measuring 9” x 10”
  • Elastic 1/4” measures 30” total                  or two elastic headbands
  • Optional middle layer of hepa shop-vaccum cleaner bag, cut one per mask.

Tips

Use a #16  Needle.  You will  need this to move through all the layers of fabric without breaking your needle.


Don't be a speed-demon on your machine when you are stitching.  Slower and steady will help keep your stitches even and you will be less likely to snap the thread or break a needle.


Remember at each start and end of sewing to reverse the stitch to keep our seams in place for longer wear and a more quality mask. You do not want your mask to fall apart.


For the mask elastic I use elastic headbands.  One I cut in half at the heat fusion-then cut the hard part of the fusion off the mask.  For the bottom elastic I use another head band, but cut 2" off the piece.  This helps the bottom of the mask be more secure.   The 2" piece of elastic can be used in the last step and applied on the dart for a very nice fit around the chin.

The Pattern

 Cut two of these.

 One in patterned fabric and one in lining fabric. 

If you don’t have lining fabric use the same fabric for both sides.   

Optional: one hepa vacuum bag piece

Put the fabric together

  • Put right sides of the fabric together (these are the fabric sides that you want to show when the mask is worn
  • Optional step: add the hepa vacuum bag fabric.  Add the “heavy” side of the fabric to the back side of your mask face fabric.

Stitch top and bottom of mask

Seam allowance is 1/2”

Stitch the bottom of the mask 

Stitch the top of mask leaving a 2” to 3” opening in the middle of the mask 

Prepare to sew the sides:

Insert the elastic

Open up the mask at the sides and between the layers put the elastic at the top of the mask on the both sides and the bottom.  

15” piece at top.

13” piece at the bottom

Pin next to the elastic, not thru the elastic and fabric. You will have a piece of elastic pinned to each corner.

Sew the sides

Using a 1/2” seam allowance sew the sides. As you pass through the top and bottom of the seam and as you stitch over the elastic move more slowly so you get a nice stitch and do not break your thread or needle.    

Clip the corners


Turn the mask inside out

Bring the fabric through the pocket that you left open once top of the mask.  

Press the mask

Use a steam iron to press the mask out.  It looks better and is easier to work with in the final steps. 

Create the pocket for your wire 

Sew across the top of the mask with a 3/4” seam 

Put the pleats in the mask:

1) follow the pattern and the fold lines as shown above.  Or use measuring tool to find the  fold lines.   

2) starting from the bottom, measure 2” .  This is your fold line at the 5” mark on the pattern.   Bring this fold down to 1” from the bottom (the 6” fold to here line.) Pin the fold on each side.

3) Bring the middle fold line (which is at the 3” line on the pattern) to the 4” line(fold to here) Pin the fold on each side.

4) bring the top fold line(which is at the 1” line on the pattern) to the 2” “fold to here” line. P  fold on each side.

Picture #4 shows tool I use to measure my pleats.

Cut the wire for the top of the Mask

This wire will give your mask the ability to conform to the wearer’s face giving a more secure fit as it contours above the wearer’s nose.


I have used: 

  • Jewelry making wire-6” piece
  • Pipe cleaners-fold in half, twist the two wires together to form one piece
  • possible other items are floral wire

Insert the wire

Once inserted move the wire close to the bottom seam of the pocket. Once sewn and the pocket is closed you will move the wire back to the top; gently pushing through the fabrics with your fingers 

Sew the sides and top

  • Start at the left side, starting at the bottom sewing over the folds at about 3/4”
  • Stitch across the top to seal the pocket up.  Only stitch very close to the edge of the fabric.
  • Stitch the right side of the mask over the folds of fabric at about 3/4”

Shows stitching

Observe the difference in the side stitch verses the top stitch.

This is what you should have at this stage


Making the dart at the mask’s bottom

This dart will assist in getting a very nice fit at the bottom of the mask

  • Fold the mask in half
  • Sew from the bottom of the mask to the side creating a triangle
  • Remember to reverse stitch 

Here is the sewn dart


Add Elastic to the bottom of the mask  

This step gives a super nice fit at the bottom 

  • Cut a 2” piece of elastic
  • Center the elastic at the bottom of the mask, over the dart 
  • mark 1” on each side of the elastic 
  • Sew the elastic by putting the end on the mark, reverse stitch it in place.  As you sew the elastic on place pull on it until it stretches to the next mark.  At the end reverse stitch to keep in in place.

This is what it looks like

This is sloppy in this picture, but it is effective

Finished Mask

The wearer can slip the mask over their head.  Then adjust the wire at the top of the mask to their face.  The bottom elastic helps keep the mask more fitted under the chin.


Note this is not a medical mask.  Please observe prudent safe behavior during the pandemic.  This mask is just one of the many ingredients in the recipe to keep us all safe.



Care

  • Hand wash or machine wash. (I use the gentle cycle
  • Air Dry. Placing in the sun is great because of the UV rays.  Covid-19 does not like UV rays.
  • As an experiment I have thrown my mask in the dryer.  It did ok.  
  • DO NOT PUT YOUR MASK IN THE MICROWAVE.

Meet Florence Wells Kellett

Meet my Grandmother, Florence Wells Kellett, born on New Year’s Day 1901.  When I was at the age of five she started to teach me to sew.   The first thing I made was a flannel night gown for my Penny Brite doll.  Here’s an ensemble I made for Barbie when I was about 10.  The electric sheers were Grandma Kellett’s and when she was unable to sew any longer she gave them to me.  These sheers are being utilized in the masks I make today.


I imagine that during the war-effort, back in her day she was planting a Victory Garden and doing her part for “the boys.”  That’s how I feel when I am making masks.  She would be proud of all of us.