During the COVID-19 pandemic, all essential businesses require folks to wear a protective mask when entering. So, since we’re all bored in the house, I started making masks for friends and family as a way to feel useful during these times of isolation.
This is an easy and simple tutorial so you can make them at home too! If you don’t have access to fabric, you can use old pillowcases or bed sheets. Please make sure all linens are clean and fresh before sewing.
All photos taken by Melissa Joy
Materials you’ll need:
- A ruler
- Scissors or a roller cutter
- An iron and ironing board
- Safety pin
- Wire (optional)
I found my template via Google search. But after making my first mask, it was child-size in fit, so using it as a trace I made it larger. I did this without really thinking about the measurements, so they come to some silly lengths.
Once you’ve cut out your template, lay it down on your fabric. Make sure your fabric is backside facing out. Now cut!
You’ll need to cut four pieces all together: two for the inner layer and two for the outer layer. Once all four pieces have been cut, lay them evenly and pin them together.
Sew your pieces together.
Cut away the excess trim. Be careful not to cut too closely to your stitching or the fabric may pull out of the stitching.
Here’s what they should look like stitched:
*Wire optional: I don’t put the wire in my masks because I think it’s uncomfortable, but everyone is different. You can use twisty ties for bread-bags or 4 inches of thin wire sandwiched between some masking tape. Fold the wire in half and match that to the center point of the stitch of your outer layer. Do this on the back side of the outer layer which should already be on the outside.
Or you can also use a little bit of hot glue to put it in place. A dab in the middle and on the ends. Don’t glue it all way across. Use sparingly if you glue, you don’t it want to be too thick because it will stiffen the fabric.
Take your inner layer and flip it inside out so that the front of the fabric is out. Use your finger to define the stitch line. Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect, we’ll get to that later.
Now take your inner layer and sandwich it between your outer layer. Don’t invert your outer layer for this part! Sandwiching your pieces like this with the fronts sides of both layers touching.
Open it like a book, align the edges, and pin them in place. Make sure to align the points where you stitched the outer layer and the inner layer.
I like to make one pin a different color as a reminder to leave one end open and not stitch it all the way around so we can turn the fabric right side out. Now stitch that bad boy together!
Once your mask is completed stitched together, you’ll want to trim the edges again. At the corners cut on a diagonal. This is so when you flip it right side out, the corners will lay better and not be all chunky. Remember: don’t get too close to the thread you just stitched, or it could fray!
Here’s what it looks like flipped right side out:
You’ll want to use your finger again to press the edges, making sure the seams are clean and flat. Once you’ve flattened it as much as you can by hand, we’re going to iron to get it super flat and uniform. I like to iron the sides first and then the curved parts. This ensures all the pieces are laying as flat as possible and to avoid any puckering.
Take the end you left open and fold it inside about a quarter inch and iron it down to keep it from unfolding.
Now, we’re going to give the entire mask a top stitch. This top stitch will close your open end and make sure your mask layers don’t separate when washed. It also gives it a cleaner look overall.
Fold over your sides a ½ inch, pin and stitch. I like to go up one way, rotate it still on the track and stitch back down to the start point. This is to make it secure.
You’re almost done! All that’s left now are the strings to attach to your face mask.
I measure about 70 inches of string. Attach the safety pin to one end of the string. Alternatively, you can also use two pieces of elastic to go around your ears about 10 inches each.
Starting from the top curve of the mask (the larger curve) feed the pin into the side. Scrunch the fabric and pull, until the pin comes out the other end.
Pull the string about half its length then go from the bottom curve through the side, scrunching and pulling until it comes out the top end.
Knot both ends of the string so they can be accidentally pulled through the mask ends.
Congrats! You have created your DIY face mask.
Ta-dah! You did it! You’ve made your very own face mask! Hand wash with warm water and detergent after each use and hang dry or wash with delicates. I put mine in a mesh bag to keep the string from tangling.
Featured image credit: Melissa Joy/Geek Gals