Hi all! I wanted to do a quick blog post on my experience in making face masks for my local hospital. At this time many medical supplies are in short supply for our healthcare workers. I wanted to do my part, however small, to help. Check with your local hospital. They most likely need masks and would be thrilled with the donation. My hospital has set up a drop box out side where we can drop a bag full of masks. I’m sure you’ll find your hospital is doing the same. So…. the following is my adventure in making my first masks!
I actually have a large collection of fat eighths. Turns out the 9 x 22″ size is perfect to cut the pieces needed for the mask. You need a 7 1/2 x 15″ piece of fabric for the mask and two 2 x 6″ pieces for binding (the video says 7″ but I found 6″ long is enough). I recommend cutting as I show below:
I recommend making the first cut where I show above so you have a 9 x 15″ piece and a 7 x 9″ piece. then you can cut the pieces needed and have left over fabric in case you need to make fabric ties.
The following is some of the photos of me constructing the masks. I was chain sewing where I could. Be sure not to skip the step of serging or zig-zag stitching on the short sides of the fabric (as you will see in the YouTube video posted below). This will keep the finished mask from having fraying threads.
Here’s photos of other steps in my construction process:
I found that having a tool to thread the elastic into each side of the mast is great. If you don’t have one, you can use a safety pin attached to one end to feed it through (see tool below).
If you can not find elastic for the ear holders, make 4 fabric ties from the leftover fabric and attach to the 4 corners of the mask so it can be tied around the person’s head. I have not made one with ties so you will have to find a measurement for the length of the ties by using your head as a model… use a mask that you will NOT be donating for your experimenting as you do not want to donate a mask that has been near your face.
Here’s one of my finished masks:
So if you want to partake in the mask making for your local hospital, here is the YouTube video that was recommended to me. I like this one because there is a pocket in it for a filter if the healthcare worker finds that necessary and there is also a bit of wire (a twist tie can be used) to shape the mask around the nose for more protection.
Whether you use this design, another tutorial you find on the internet or you are able to create your own pattern. Making these masks and helping your community at this time will give you a sense that you are helping …. even just a little bit.
Until next time, happy stitching!
Gail Brickles says
I found another pattern on pinterest and I and also doing my part. I have a lot of fabric and I love to so. Thanks to you for your help too.
Pat Wedman says
Sewing Granny says
April 03, 2020 9:09 pm
I am 86 yrs. old and making masks for our local hospice and anyone who needs one. This a wonderful way to use many years of sewing supplies and vintage material.
Way to go! I’ve set aside at least 2 days a week in my studio devoted to making masks. I’ve donated quite a few to our health care facility. Now I’m making some for family and close friends since it’s recommended to wear them outside of the house at this time. Once I get those done, I’ll continue to make them for the health center.
I too am making masks to donate to local hospitals. Like Pat, I have been sewing since I was 13 and collect materials I like when I see them or keep all unused materials. In addition I was once an event planner an have mucho decorating items which allowed me to make nearly 200+ masks and keeps my sanity. I turned 70 this month and delivered masks on my birthday. It feels great that I can help!
This is great, now I can do my bit. Thank you
I am so confused about all the different info on what makes an effective mask. Most mask only keep you from touching your face so much. The one I made with interfacing kept the moisture too much. How bad is that?
The mask is mostly meant to keep you from spreading germs to others. In the masks I made, there is a pocket to insert a filter although not sure of it’s effectiveness. It’s recommended to wash your mask after every use because your breath will create condensation. My masks are just made of a double fold of cotton fabric. I read where Batiks are the best as they have the tightest weave of 100% cottons.
Yes, I include a pocket with filters for family and friends plus a nose guard from pipe cleaners! Our hospital didn’t request filters. The best filters I find are the poly propylene grocery bags. That is what is in N95 filters. Make sure the bag is unused and, inform all to remove the filter prior to washing. Tip, not all grocery bags are polypropylene. I read you can use vacuum filters that are polypropylene only. I checked mine and found they cost $20 for 2 bags so I didn’t use them. friends are happy to provide bags for a mask. We will beat this virus!!!
Patricia Hamilton says
What are the measurements you use to get your pleats so uniform?
Hi! The pattern did not give any specifics there. I have just been using my judgement as I do the 3 folds. I turn it over a few times to make sure it looks even on both sides. Not sure if there are any other mask making patterns that give measurements.
I got a kick out of variously Pinterest entries from other countries about masks. There is a very serious one from Germany with lots of measurements and marking of where to put folds. Then a real perky one from Korean young lady saying, oh, just put the folds however you like! It takes too much time to do measuring if you are trying to make a lot.
That’s funny! Yeah, I went to “eye balling” it for the right measurements because I want to produce as many masks as I can.
Becky Barnes says
There’s a pattern on the hobby lobby website that has pleat measurements
Starting at bottom of mask. Do this on both sides!
Measure up 1.5. “.( Pin to mark)
Pin again at 2”….3”…..3.5”….4.5”…..and 5”
Bring pin 1.5” up to the 2” pin , and pin fold in place
Bring 3” pin up to 3.5” pin, and pin in place
Bring 4.5” pin up to 5” pin and pin in place.
You are now ready to sew your pleats perfectly!
3 x 1/2″ folds, pointed down.
What size seams are you using?
Hi! I’m using 1/4″ seams.
Did I miss it somewhere or how long do you cut the 1/4″ elastic that you tied in a knot? Good idea.
I cut my elastic 9 1/2″ long. I have modified the pattern by having elastic on the top of the mask going from one side to the other and then having ties on the bottom. I cut two strips of binding 1 1/2 x 17″ for each side. As I am binding the sides of the mask, I stitch the end of the elastic at the top, bind the side and then the remaining length of the binding becomes the tie at the bottom. I will do an updated blog post on my modifications most likely this weekend.
This U-tube video and instructions, by far , has been the best I’ve come across. Thank you!!!
Thanks! Glad to be able to help get the info out.
Can you please give sizing for children? My community now requires masks and there may be occasions where children may unfortunately need to wear masks. I bought some fun fabric to make masks for my 3 and 5 year old grandchildren. This is such a lovely pattern. If you could give the cutting size, I think I can adapt pattern. I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you.
I have not made any masks for kids so have not needed those measurements. I did however find this tutorial where she is making masks for small children:
See if this will help you.