Covid-19 life is in full swing with the WHO and CDC now recommending wearing cloth face masks in public as of April 3rd, 2020. Medical and N95 Masks are in short supply reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. With so little known about the virus, staying safe and masking up is a worthwhile practice. With this in mind, here’s a how-to make your own face mask tutorial.
Test data shows that the best choices for DIY masks are: Cotton t-shirts, pillowcases, and any cotton materials.
- Cotton fabric filters approximately 50% of 0.2 micron particles, similar in size to the coronavirus.
- Easy breathability of cotton (not unlike surgical masks) makes them comfortable enough to wear for several hours.
Doubling the layers of material for your DIY mask gives a very small increase in filtration effectiveness, but makes the mask much more difficult to breathe through.
What you need to make DIY masks with household materials (instructions and demo by Carol Sutton):
- 6″ x 9″ Pieces of cotton fabric (2x)
- A 6″ x 9″ Piece of Non Woven Fabric – Optional
- 18″ Long strings for the ties (Shoe strings, ribbon, yarn, etc.) (Soft so won’t chafe neck or face) (4x)
- Needle + thread + pins
- Sewing machine – Optional
Step 1: Cut Fabric, Non-Woven Layer and Ties
Cut both layers of fabric to 6″ x 9″, plus layer of non-woven interfacing. Also cut 4 ties that are 18″ long.
Two slices of a cotton tee shirt work too, non-woven interfacing is optional.
For a more contoured face shaped mask like the one Anna is wearing above, you can also create a rounded peak on the top of the rectangle.
This size guide below helps fit your face – Remember to double the horizontal measurement as diagram shows mask folded in half:
Step 2: Layer
Layer fabric and ties and stack on top of one another in this order:
- (Bottom) Fabric Piece 1 (Good Side Facing Up)
- Fabric Piece 2 (Good Side Facing Down)
- Ties (Pointing Inward)
- (Top) Non-Woven Fabric
Step 3: Pin Layers
a) Pin ties at each corner about 1/2 inch from fabric borders with ends flush with the edge of the fabric layer 1 (Face 18″ of the 4 ties inward so they collect in the middle of the sandwich.)
b) Fold over top two layers (layers 3 & 4) and sandwich the ties between the first layer and layers 3 & 4 )
c) Add the final layer of pins sandwiching everything together
Step 4: Sew Edge Together
Sew around edge, 3/8″ from edge while leaving a 3″ opening at the top, making sure to remove the pins as you sew. This sews the ties in between the fabric layers. It is through this opening you’ll pull your sandwich inside out revealing the two good sides of your fabric and four ties.
Step 5: Trim Corners
Trim off corners carefully. Don’t cut through stitching. This is for when you will turn it inside out.
Step 6: Trim Non-Woven
Trim non-woven off top layer of fabric in order to make edges less bulky.
Step 7: Turn Inside-out and iron.
Turn your sandwich inside out between the fabric layers 1 & 2 (Not the non-woven side- it will be concealed inside along with the butts of your ties.)
Step 8: Make Pleats
Pleats are when you fold areas of your fabric over itself. This creates a contour to your face. Pin and on the top on either side of your nose and at each horizontal end. Now sew again all around the mask 1/8″ from edge.
Method by Carol Sutton