No trend forecast could have ever predicted that the most in-demand accessory for Spring/Summer 2020, for both men and women, across the world and across generations, would be a face mask. Unfortunately, the demand for it was perpetuated by a global crisis. As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, there are things that we all can do, in our own communities, to help flatten that curve.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether one should wear a face mask or not during the few times a week that we can go out of our homes, to purchase essentials or to go for a walk, even while, of course, still practicing social distancing. Just remember that these days, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry. Wearing a mask won’t only serve as protection for yourself but regardless of whether you have symptoms or not, it can also protect others from you. Ultimately, it’s one of the simple things that we can all do to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus, as well as other diseases.
Of course, medical grade masks, especially the N95 masks, must be reserved and sent to medical frontliners, as well as the many other frontliners in our communities. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear any mask. You can make your own cloth face mask for personal use, and maybe even make a few for your family and friends. While it may not be medical grade, it will still serve as a barrier and a form of protection.
We’re sharing with you instructions on how to make your own cloth face mask, using a pattern created by ashevillejm at Instructables.
The first thing you’ll need is cloth. Non-woven and spunbond textiles work best for protection. However, a study by smartairfilters.com shows that 100% cotton t-shirts or pillowcases are the best alternatives to medical-grade masks, in terms of both protection and comfort. You need to remember that you don’t just want your mask to effectively block microbial particles. You also need it to be comfortable and provide adequate breathability so that you’re actually able to wear it for longer periods of time. So, no need to go out and buy any fabric. You can use what you have available at home. You may want to use a printed fabric so you’ll be able to tell the front from the backside of your mask, and more importantly, which is the clean side when you wear it. Now, before anything else, wash the fabric to ensure that it’s actually clean and germ-free before you make it into a mask.
Follow these step by step directions to create your DIY face mask:
- To get started, print the pattern in actual size on 22 x 28 cm paper and then cut out the pattern shape.
- You may want to uses 2 different printed fabrics, 1 for the outer layer and 1 for the lining layer of your mask. Fold your fabrics with the right sides together.
- Pin the pattern onto your folded fabric. Cut the fabric following the pattern. Cut 4 pieces for the outer layer (2) and the lining layer (2).
- With the right sides of your outer layer and lining layer still folded together, sew their center curves, about 5 mm from the edge or along where the dashed lines on the pattern appear, to attach the pieces together. You’ll now have 1 piece for your outer layer and 1 piece for your lining layer.
- Pin the right sides of your outer layer and lining layer together.
- Sew all the way around the edge, at about 7 mm from the edge or again, along with where the dashed lines on the pattern appear. Leave an open 4 cm gap at the bottom edge. Turn the fabric right side out, through the open gap.
- Iron the mask so that it lays flat and will be easier to complete.
- Create the channel to place the wire that will sit along with your nose when wearing the mask. Sew 1,5 cm down from the top edge of the mask and 5 cm from each side of the center seam.
- Slide the wire through the channel. If you don’t have a wire, you can straighten out a paper clip as a substitute. The wire should be approximately 7,5 cm long.
- Stitch the ends of the channel so the wire won’t slip out or move when the mask is washed.
- Topstitch 3-4 mm around the entire mask and close the turning hole that you had left open. Be mindful of the wire placement and stitch above it when you sew along the nose area.
- Lay the mask flat on a table with the lining side up, facing you.
- Fold 2,5 cm of the right and left side of the mask toward the center. Pin the folds and sew to create the channels where the elastics for your ears will fit.
- Slip an elastic string, approximately 40 cm long, through the channel on each side of the mask. Tie the ends of the elastic strings into loops, with enough space to fit the mask on your face by tucking the loops behind your ears. You can adjust the knots as needed.
- The mask should fit snugly, without fear of it falling or slipping off your face but also without pulling on your ears too tightly.