Do you want to make a face mask but don’t know how? Rest assured that you’re in the right place so keep reading…
Most people will be faced with two issues. Pretty much all of the tutorials and how-to videos on face masks start with the premise that you have a sewing machine! Granted, 50 years ago, most homes had one…but today? My guess is fewer than 1 in 10 people have one. If you live in a city, where space is at a premium, I’ll bet the number is closer to 1 out of 100. Remember, I’m not talking about that decorative relic with the foot treadle and retro vibe from Grandma. I’m talking about a working sewing machine. One with needles, bobbins and a power cord that you can find.
Which leads us to the second issue. Is it even possible to make a face mask somewhat fashionable? I’m not talking designer, luxury-goods level, just something that expresses our individuality, while providing a basic level of protection.
It’s with these two premises in mind, that I decided to pen this post.
Yes, you can make a fashionable, hand sewn face mask. First, you’ll need to decide what fabric to use. Think out of the box. Anything goes. Do you have a t-shirt that has seen better days? What about a scarf that you haven’t been able to donate, even though it’s full of pulls and has some holes? You’ll need a piece that’s about 15″ x 10″ when all is said and sewn.
I’ve been making quite a few out of bedding (sheets and pillow cases) and donating them to the elderly in my community as well as to the National Guard through this website which matches “sewers” to people and places that need masks. I figure it’s a simple way of using my skill to help others.
Back to the task at hand…Here are the simple steps to making fashionable and hand sewn face masks:
- Make the pattern
- Mark and Cut the Pieces
- Sew the Face Mask Fabric
- Iron Open the Seams
- Pleat the Face Mask
- Sew the Sides
- Insert Nose Guard and Ribbons
1.Make the Pattern
You’ll need to make 2 pattern pieces. I used a file folder with a heavier paper weight since I planned on reusing the pattern. You can use gift wrapping paper, newspaper or just tape together two sheets of printer paper.
The first pattern piece that you need to make is a rectangle that measures 15″ x 7.5″.
The next pattern piece is an Isosceles Trapezoid meaning the top is longer than the bottom while the left and right sides are the same length. Make this pattern piece with a length of 3.5″ along the top and 3.25″ at the bottom. The height on the left and the right sides is 2.5″. Just look at the picture if you don’t remember your Geometry.
The last piece is a small rectangle measuring 1.75″ x 0.75″ and is simply something that I use to mark how far to sew. You don’t really need this piece but it can be a helpful guide.
2.Mark & Cut the Fabric
You’ll want to place the pattern pieces on the t-shirt, scarf or other fabric that you’ve selected. Ideally pin the pieces in place so that you can trace the pattern. Chalk works wonders to mark the pattern on the fabric; pen is an option if you make small light marks. Pencil is a last resort because the graphite can be harder to remove. Of course, I used pencil throughout this process but learn from my mistakes!
Trace one large rectangle and 2 trapezoids. Remove the patterns before you cut the 3 pieces. I mention this because it’s highly probably that you’ll cut part of the pattern off, which might be a problem the next time around. Once you’ve finish cutting, you should have 3 pieces of fabric:
3. Sew the Fabric
Now, it’s time to put needle to thread! Use a back stitch. Not sure what this is? Check out this tutorial. It’s a strong hand stitch that is compared to what a sewing machine can produce. When sewing I recommend drawing a dotted line so you have a guide and end up with a straight line. It might take a tad longer but most of us have TONS of time right now.
Take the rectangle and fold it so it makes a square approximately 7.5″ x 7.5″. Pin the top edge on the left and the right sides. You’ll want to sew 3/4″ down from the top edge. Sew a line that is between 1.5″ to 1.75″ long. Repeat on the other side. You’ll now have the pocket where you can eventually insert a paper coffee filter or a tissue.
4. Iron the Fabric
Test the iron on a piece of fabric to make sure you have the correct setting. You’ll want the iron hot enough to create a crease but not so hot that it scorches the fabric. Think of the I Love Lucy episode when Ricky burns the shirts and tries to convince everyone that it’s a new style of applique.
When you’re ironing at this point, the fabric is still inside out. Look at the picture below to see how to iron open the seam that you just created. Then, turn the piece right side out. Align the fabric piece so that the seam is about 3/4″ from the top and the opening is facing you. Iron the entire piece. An iron with light steam can ensure a delightful crease. Yes, I really wrote “delightful crease.”