I recently dug some scrap fabric out of my trailer and had a thought about making a couple fabric masks for myself in light of everything that is going on. Knowing there is a serious PPE shortage out there I extended the offer to my social media and was overwhelmed by how many people wanted to get one as well. I only have materials to make a limited number of masks (and also don’t have a ton of extra time) but I managed to assemble 64 fabric masks! I thought I would put together a quick tutorial for anyone who wants to make their own at home.
Making a mask is fairly straightforward and it doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy at all to provide an adequate cover for your mouth and nose. I used an image from Purl Soho as reference and took a look at what materials I had on hand to make something work. In the end I put together a simple two-layer mask with fabric scraps and using a roll of white ribbon to finish the edges and provide ties (I had no elastic), which was super easy with access to sewing machines. If you don’t have a machine a bandana style face covering requires no sewing, or you could sew by hand with needle and thread if you were really determined.
I started by cutting out a pair of pieces in a cotton fabric and a matching pair in a cotton liner fabric. Sew the two front pieces together (with the pattern sides facing each other) along the curved edge and then do the same for the liner. This is the centre seam at the front of the mask. Now you have two pieces that fit into each other with the centre seams aligned and patterns facing out to form the mask. I serged around all edges so they were nicely trimmed and secured, but it was a bonus step that you can skip if you don’t have access to a serger. I then stitched a couple folds on the sides of the mask to make the fit better. The rest is just sewing the ribbon over the edges to make the ties.
These masks are washable and reusable. The ties can be tied to create loops that hook over your ears, or by tying them behind the head and neck. Any extra length can just be snipped off. I’m no expert at sewing masks, and never did I imagine I would be making PPE for a pandemic, but these seem to fit fairly comfortably and I’m happy to help however I can!