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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finished Mask-Elastic bands worn behind the Head
Many of the masks you see are made with the elastic worn behind the ears. This mask has the elastic worn around the head. This was done to create a very secure mask that will not accidentally fall from your face and to have a long-wearing comfortable fit. (Initially I tried the elastic on the ears and I couldn’t get the fit I was looking for and I understand this also can become uncomfortable very fast). The wire at the top pocket molds to the contour of your face and the darted elastic bottom fits the face tightly, but is comfortably.
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:
- Follow the pattern and the fold lines as shown above. Or use measuring tool to find the fold lines.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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″
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
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 it in place.
- Two pieces of fabric measuring 9″ x 10″
- Elastic 1/4″ measures 30″ total or two elastic headbands
- Optional middle layer of HEPA shop-vacuum cleaner bag, cut one per mask.
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.
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. Once 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.
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
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. This mask is just one of the many ingredients in the recipe to keep us all safe.
Note this is not a medical mask. Please observe prudent safe behavior during the pandemic.
- 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.