Author’s edit 5.13.20: I want to give an update about the “controversy”. I have listened to scientists and have also spoken to folks in infection control who have all made themselves clear about masks. They now ALL believe that the public wearing them is the best route to limiting this virus. While they would not want hospitals to be forced to wear cloth, the public wearing masks of any kind keeps as many droplets contained as possible.I wear a mask for you, and you wear one to protect me. Every day we learn more and this is no longer controversial. I want to make that clear. It is a minor inconvenience that we all need to endure because, frankly, it’s all of us versus this virus. And the virus is virulent. (Yes, I know it’s alliterative.) Here’s an article for reference. I’m now convinced this simple change in behavior can save a lot of lives.
I’ve been asked to share my mask pattern with you and it’s so simple, you won’t believe it.
But first, I want to talk a little about cloth masks.
- Don’t wear a cloth mask for more than 2 hours. Change to a fresh one.
- If it gets wet for any reason, even from your own breath, you need to change it.
- Put them directly into a washing machine and wash in hot water with soap or bleach.
That’s the end of my Public Service Announcement. Knowing that, if you are on this blog, you are likely someone who sews, and anyone who sews can make masks out of their stash. I did not have elastic on hand for some of the patterns I’d seen, and then I ran across this video of German women making masks. They are using what appears to be a layer of muslin, another fabric, and then the ties appear to be cotton.
I made my masks out of white fabric so that anyone using them could bleach them. Please pre-wash your fabric before you start to assemble. I’m sure any color would be fine.
I start by cutting 8 inches along WOF (so 8 x 44). Then I make four cuts of 2 inches WOF.
Trim the 8 inch fabric to 8 x 15. You should end up with 2 pieces of 8 x 15 which will make 2 masks. You’ll use 2 ties (2 x 44 each) for each mask.
Fold the 8 inch fabric in half right sides together and sew with a quarter inch seam. Turn it right side out and press with the seam at the bottom.
Start adding pleats that are approximately 1/2 inch deep. Fold it over and press. You do not have to measure, You do not have to be precise. Just keep them basically even, and you’re good. You’re making 3 pleats.
Press all three pleats down nice and secure. Then I run them under a 1/8 inch seam just to hold them in place.
I use an edgestitch foot for this, (my favorite!) and move the needle as far to the left as I can. Remember, you’re making two masks at a time with these instructions, so you’ll make 4 seams, on the short pleated sides only.
Next we’re making the ties. Take a 2 inch strip and press it with both long sides folded into the center. I usually do one side, and then the other.
Then fold down about half an inch from the top and give it a press.
Then you give the tie one more fold in the middle and press it really well. I usually use steam at this point. Next find the center of the tie…remember, it is approximately 44 inches long, so somewhere around 22 inches. This does not have to be precise. Just fold it in half and find the center. Put the center in the middle of the short side of one of your masks and wrap the tie around it. (See pic.) I use 3 clips for each side–like a binding.
Start at the very end of the tie, and sew across the top of the tie and then down along the side. Again, I use an edgestitch foot. This time with the needle moved all the way to the right. This secures the tie and attaches it to the mask. Do this on both sides and you’re done.
Again, the pieces we just cut will make 2 masks. If you’re like me, you have tons of yardage lying around that was meant for a quilt a long time ago, or that was on sale. I heated up some water for tea and Iiterally had a mask completed and my tea was still warm enough to drink.
Please keep in mind the precautions I set forth in the beginning. We are all truly in uncharted territory.
I am *almost* a senior…not quite. But you might be.
Here’s a good breakdown of hours for grocery stores.
The best advice we can all take right now is this:
- Stay home.
- Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. If you don’t remember the last time you did it, wash your hands.
- Social distance. This is not a joke. Assume everyone is spreading the virus and stay away from them.
- Clean commonly used surfaces regularly with disinfectant wipes or bleach water.
- Don’t touch your face. Just don’t. (This is hard.)
As of this writing, we’re looking at another month or more of this isolating behavior. This is our new norm and we need to recognize that we are not alone. The entire world is battling this and it is our job to give the scientists, epidemiologists, doctors and nurses time and money and supplies to help us, and find a vaccine or cure. If my biggest hardship is staying at home and sewing, I am truly lucky.
I am also sending food via local restaurants to hospitals for the workers. This has the double effect of sending business to local restaurants and giving a gift to those on the frontlines.
I have no words of wisdom here. But with all my heart I am praying that you and your loved ones, and me and mine, will all be well.