There are so many mask tutorials online right now and after testing many of them, I came up with my own pattern. For me, this one works best. For you, it might now. This is why I like it: It doesn’t hurt my ears, it can be modified to each person, it hugs the nose tightly and can be worn easily with glasses, I can wear it under a hat or helmet, and I have found (with my very modest sewing experience) it’s pretty easy to make.
Disclaimer #1: I’m not a sewing expert or medical expert. I am an author/illustrator who, for fun, sews in my free time. I took this challenge as a way to make masks for my fiance and I, my doctors’ office I go to regularly, and our loved ones.
Why am I posting this online as I am not a professional, you ask? Well… Colorado, like many states, is requiring everyone to have a mask when they go in public and having tested out many of the mask designs online via my own sewing machine and materials, I found this design that I thought I should share.
Disclaimer #2: This mask cannot replace the efficiency or medical superiority of medical masks or N-95 masks. I am not claiming it does, nor do I suggest it even slightly does.
Before you start, I recommend using old cotton T-Shirts or old pajamas to cut up instead of going out to buy new fabric. However, if you need to buy new fabric, buy the items on the list that you don’t have at your local indie fabric store (aka not JoAnn’s fabrics or Amazon). Other than my initial sewing kit from Ikea, I buy all of my sewing stuff at Fancy Tiger Crafts – a local indie awesome store in Denver, Colorado (which ships if you want to support them too).
You will need
- One 9-inch by 15-inch piece of tightly woven cotton or linen fabric
- One 2-inch or 1.5-inch wide by a 50-60 inch piece of fabric
- One loop turner
- One pair of fabric scissors
- One ruler or another way to measure fabric (I use my old ruler for straight lines…)
- One iron
- One set of thread snipper doo-dads
- Thin-ish steel wire (or pipecleaners)
- Wire cutters
- Pliers (mine were in the same unit, they flip inside out)
- A pencil
MAKING THE FACE MASK
1. In any piece of tightly woven cotton or linen fabric, cut an 9-inch by 15-inch rectangular piece. The fabric I’m using is from scrap from a top I made for my sister.
2. Then eyeball about a quarter of an inch fold and press it along the long (15-inch) side of the fabric. If you are using fabric that has a back and front, this fold would be onto the backside so that the only part of the pattern showing is in the tiny part ironed down. You can choose to measure and pin this, but I was trying to make as many masks as possible, so I did not measure OR pin this (wow such good sewing advice…).
3. Fold the fabric in half, with the backside facing out. Stitch a straight line down where the ends of the two edgest touch together, sewing the fabric together into one.
4. Take the tube you’ve created and flatten it into a square so that the line you just sewed is in the middle of the piece (not on one side) and iron down the seam so that the seam now lies flat, spread like a butterfly.
5. Take this to your sewing machine and if you have the ability to do a zigzag stitch with your machine, zig-zag the seam flat. If you have a straight line sewing machine, run two lines down on either side of the hem. This might feel awkward to do if you are a beginner, go slowly and make sure you are holding the fabric flat and make sure it’s not catching on any part of the fabric behind it by using your hands to guide the seam through the machine.
6. Flip the mask inside out and press flat. It should look like a square with a seam on 1 side of it in the middle and the other side is blank. The hems are facing inwards.
7. Sew two about quarter-inch (your choice on how thick you want the tubes to be) line on each side of the square, parallel to the middle stitch. Be sure to backstitch the top and bottom of each of these seams. Close up the bottom (you decide which end is the bottom) of the middle pocket with a zig-zag or straight stitch. Be sure not to go over the two side tubes that the strap will run through, only sew up until the tubes on each side.
OPTIONAL STEP: Take another piece of smaller fabric and tuck it into the pocket and secure it right in the center with two stitches for extra security right over the nose/mouth area.
8. On the open side, place a straight stitch about a 1/4 of an inch into the open part of the pocket on the edge of the hem. Be sure not to go over the two side tubes that the strap will run through, same as the bottom stitch you previously did.
9. Now get your wire and cutters. Cut a piece of wire that will fit into the top part of the open hem. Using pliers, bend the edges so they are rounded and not sharp. Place the wire into the pocket. Sew up the pocket with a zig zag (or straight) stitch close to the end of the pocket so that the wire is now sewn in – this will be the part that goes over the nose and can bend to be modified to the nose shape. NOTE: pipecleaners are also great for this!
10. You’ve made the mask part of the mask!
Making The STrap
1. You can totally avoid this step if you have any type of ribbon that would work here. I, however, don’t have ribbon and I have a loop turner and some fabric I got at an estate sale… therefore, I am going with what I have.
2. You will need one piece of fabric that measures at a long 50-inch to 60-inches (you could do 30-40 inches for a smaller face) that is cut at a flat at 2 inches or 1.5 inches wide. You can choose between 1.5 inches for a smaller strap, which works well with thinner fabric, or a 2 inches, for a wider strap, which can work better with thicker or less pliable fabric.
3. Start by ironing the fabric in half, pattern side inwards.
4. Using a straight stitch, stitch the end of one of the top/bottom sides and the length of the fabric all the way down on the side where the two pieces of fabric are open. Hug the edge of the two ends that are touching. You can pin this together to keep the fabric held together if you’d like… I did not because I’m reckless. Don’t be reckless.
5. Using your loop turner, or pencil, or whatever you have that will flip a strap so the pattern side is out… flip the strap right side out! Then finish off the open end on the sewing machine.
6. You have a strap!
7. Now with the top of the mask (nose metal is the top), enter your loop turner through the bottom of one side and hook it onto the strap end of one of the sides of the straps and pull the strap through. Then go to the other side and repeat. You should have the two free ends at the bottom of the mask.
Wearing The Mask
To wear the mask, slip the loop over your head and place the metal on your nose bridge and fold it so it hugs your nose well. This works well and is comfortable under glasses! Then scrutch the sides up until it hugs the side of your face well and covers your chin. Tie at the base of neck. Reposition straps according to comfort!
Please keep 6 feet away from everyone near you during this COVID-19 time and don’t be reckless with your health or the health of others.
Go stay safe and continue socially distancing!