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Sew Your Own Face Mask

In these uncertain times, more people are turning to face masks to help stop the spread of Covid 19. So the medical staff can get theirs, it's time to think outside the box and let's face it, we all have a little extra time on our hands. 

I've made a quick and easy tutorial to guide you through making your own. These are pretty basic and you won't need much in the way of sewing skills to make one.

 

What do you need?

  • A basic sewing machine - With backwards and forward stich 
  • Cotton fabric scraps 
  • Elastic - Thinner is better as it is more comfortable 
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Scissors 
  • Tape measure 
  • Iron

Step One 

sewing fabric and scissors

 

Cut your fabric into 6x9 inch rectangles. You can either use the same fabric or two different kinds. These can be worn both ways and are washable, so they are environmentally friendly and cheap. Win, win. 

Step 2 

fabric and elastic

 

Cut 2x 7 inch strips of elastic then pin to the right side of one piece of fabric, around 1/3 in from the edge. (Please see photo above) 

Don't worry if the elastic looks a little stretched, once the project is finished you will have plenty of room for it to fit nicely over your ears. 

Step 3

pinned fabric

Place your other bit of fabric on top of the one with the pinned elastic. Your right sides should be together with the elastic in the middle, with no elastic poking out. Almost like an elastic sandwich - Yum! 

Now pin all the way around the edge. 

Step 4 

sewn fabric with gap

Sew around the edge using your sewing machine. Make sure you go back and forth over the elastic so that it super strong, that way it won't get pulled out easily . You also need to leave a gap in your sewing along the long length of around 2 inches. You need this gap so you can turn in through in the next step. 

ironed fabric

Step 5

Turn the fabric through the hole and poke the corners so they are nice and pointy. Your elastic should now be sitting proudly on the outside. Next you need to iron the fabric so its nice and flat on both sides. (Don't be tempted to skip this as it will make the next stage more tricky) 

I always make sure to turn any seam allowance from the hole inwards so the edge is straight and smooth. 

Step 6

pleated fabric

 

Pop three or four pleats along the width of the fabric (this should be nice and easy because you ironed it flat) and pin into place. Your mask is now really starting to take shape. It doesn't really matter if you have three or four pleats as long as they a equal in size. 

Step 7

Fabric face mask

 

Now you need to pop back to the sewing machine and sew around the edge. Sewing close to the edge will allow you to catch the 'pull through' hole on the way past it. Then you won't need to hand sew it.

You now have a stylish face mask that is handy not only for fighting against germs but for dusty environments and working outside in the cold. 

To wear you just guide the elastic over your ears and fan out the pleats so the fabric covers your chin and nose. Once you wash it I'd recommend ironing the pleats back in to help keep the shape. 

Pile of fabric masks

 

A quick disclaimer: A homemade mask is not considered medical grade and may not be as effective as using a medical grade disposable mask. However, it does still beat leaving your nose and mouth exposed and it looks nicer too. If it makes you feel more secure in these uncertain times then why not.

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