Sew Your Own Face Masks

Would it be surprising if face masks became a fashion statement after COVID-19? Okay, maybe this isn't the hottest accessory, but you can undoubtedly have a face mask that is cute and functional. Use patterns for yourself, black for the minimalists in your family, and fun fabrics for the kids with their favorite characters on them! Keep in mind that many fabric supply shops are shipping straight to home, but you can quite possibly get away with using up some of your fabric stash for this project! 

As a quick note, a face mask will not fully protect you from catching COVID-19, but it can help you keep your germs to yourself. Whenever you cough or sneeze, small respiratory droplets fly out. 

Usually, we all do our best to cover our faces when this happens, but it doesn't stop the occasional rogue droplet from getting out there and reaching other people. Face masks are excellent ways to prevent the spread of anything you could have, including COVID-19, the flu, or even a cold! It's a great way to protect those around you when you are sick without putting a strain on the high-demand for face masks in the healthcare community.

Many health care facilities are even taking face mask donations, so encourage you to call your local hospital if you are wanting to make some donations. 

Gather Your Materials:

To get started you’ll need:

A note, it is essential that you have 100% tightly woven cotton, other fabrics will not catch as much if you sneeze or cough. If you can see through your cotton, then it is not woven tightly enough. You also don’t need to include any “filler” as there’s nothing readily available that is also medical grade. 

However, if you do not have cotton, the next best thing is muslin fabric, as it will keep out larger particles.

Pin 

Pin one strip of elastic at 1/2-inch from the top of the short side of the cotton square. Pin that same elastic strip at 1/2-inch from the bottom of the same side. 

Then, repeat with the other piece of elastic on the other side of the mask.  

You can cover the elastic, but it's not necessary. To do so, you can make a casing, and you would complete that before you pinned the elastic into place.

Once both elastic strips are pinned into place against the right side of the fabric, if you're using a pattern, you would pin the other piece of fabric over it. Right sides should face each other.

Sew and Turn

Sew and give for a 5/8-inch seam allowance all the way around, backstitching over the elastic parts. 

Leave only a 2-inch hole in the bottom to turn the project. Clip the corners so that it doesn’t bunch uncomfortably. 

When turning your fabric, use a pencil, or turner to get the corners as flat as possible. Press the entire mask flat.

Make Your Pleats

This project is excellent for learning pleats! 

First, fold in half and press. 

Second, fold the bottom up to the halfway crease and press. 

Third, fold from the top down to the halfway crease and press.

Set your mask, so you see the front, take your seam ruler against the top-most fold line and give it a 1/2-inch tuck. Pin that, and then do the same with the other three lines.

Topstitch across the whole mask, this will close the opening you left for turning and hold your pleats in place. 

Now your mask is ready to go! 

You can wash it with a color-safe bleach such as Clorox2 or any other alternative.  

Contact Your Local Hospitals to Determine Their Need

Because of the high demand for N95 face masks, many doctor’s offices, retirement homes, and hospitals will accept cloth face masks. Contact the local offices in your area to determine if they will or can accept donations. Typically you don’t need to worry about sanitizing them beforehand as they will have a procedure in place for this at their facility. 

We are all in this together, and if you are able, this is a great way to help out your community and do something good to combat COVID-19.

If you have any questions on the materials needed to make face masks, please contact GoldStar Tool, and we would be happy to help.