Summer is brewing here in Texas and I’m ready to wear shorts! Today is our official last day of school! And that means….We will have a HIGH SCHOOLER next year. Ahhh. Lucy (in the middle below) graduated from Middle School this week. Owen grew about three inches during this quarantine (and his voice dropped a whole octave…which I guess makes sense since he’s TWELVE?!). And Clara just finished 2nd grade. Tear. It’s safe to say that those baby legs are gone and growing up.
In a weird way this quarantine time has reminded me a lot of when the kids were little—of this snapshot in time. I think it’s the slower pace of our schedule, and the fact that we’re not driving to 20 activities or play dates/hang outs. I really love having no commitments, and instead to have the schedule back on my terms (so I can get all those good sewing projects and brownie making sessions in? You betcha). I know the world is starting to open back up again, and that has some goodness and complications to it. But I kind of wish we could stay a little more insular as a family, just tinkering away at projects and reading books. And sewing a quilt?? (check out my quilting journey on instagram)
This time has totally energized me to sew more and do things I haven’t done in a while. I guess I’ve realized how easily I can get lost in my work, and how much I enjoy that. And now I’m totally rambling. Who am I kidding?? I totally need to be around people…for the sake of my family. I think they’re sick of me! And I’m dying to go out on a real date again to the movie theater. Casey and I try to do that often (in our normal life) and I’m totally missing it. Some day life will resume.
So….have you been sewing too??? It seems to be the Covid hobby.
I’ve always wanted to have a video that explains exactly how to print and use PDF patterns, which is how you access patterns from my shop (and other free ones on my site). All my patterns print to Standard US Letter size, or A4 size paper, and then you piece them together. Bam, what? It’s easy to do. We’ll walk through the simple steps together.
Print it, share it with friends, pass it around. Or save the pattern image below to your phone.
THIS STYLE SECURES BEHIND THE HEAD. Feedback I’ve received from many healthcare workers is that elastic behind the ears is causing ear fatigue…..and also limits the sizing flexibility. It would be a shame to make masks for donation with a limited size range. ANSWER: Make masks with ties! Lots of sizing options! And very comfy.
IS A FABRIC FACE MASK EFFECTIVE? A homemade face mask is not a replacement for medical PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Wearing a homemade face mask does not protect you from COVID-19. But it can help your germs from spreading to others, since you or I can be asymptomatic. But a homemade mask is not the same as medical PPE. Be informed and follow what our health professionals are recommending.
WHEN MAKING MASKS: Use clean, cotton fabric that is tightly woven on both sides, and sew on a clean work surface. Wash your hands before sewing. Do not make masks if you are feeling sick.
IF YOU WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC: • When you get to your car, take the mask off. It works best to untie from your neck first, and pull the mask up and over your head, then place the mask in a bag. You may use a fabric bag or pillowcase for this, so when you get home you can wash everything together. If you wore gloves to the store, pull those off from the inside out and place them in the bag also. • When you get home, WASH your hands for 20 seconds. • Wash the mask in a washing machine. Throw away the gloves (if they are disposable). • Disinfect your car by wiping down the things you touched, your steering wheel, keys, phone, credit card, doorknob to the house when you came in.
DO YOU HAVE KID’S SIZES? Yes! There is a size chart on the 1-page pattern, or see the image below!
MASK SECURING BEHIND THE HEAD vs AROUND THE EARS Healthcare workers, grocery store workers, and those who wear a mask for extended periods of time have ear fatigue from elastic behind their ears. If you are making a mask for personal use, then ear elastic is fine. If you are making a mask to donate, I recommend fabric ties. They are more comfortable and fit a wider range of sizes.
DON’T HAVE ELASTIC? – TIES ARE BETTER! Elastic has been hard to find…so make a mask with ties! I prefer using knit fabric because most knits don’t fray at the edges, and most people have an old T-shirt or worn-out pair of leggings laying around. If you don’t have knit fabrics, make the ties from other fabrics! Knits just stretch well and make for a variety of sizing. And they hold up better after washing and drying. Watch how I make knit ties in my video.
KNIT FABRIC NOT ROLLING UP? If your knit fabric is not rolling up into a tube, that’s okay! You can still use it for ties! The best kind of knits that will roll up have a bit of spandex in them. Just look at the raw edge of the fabric. If it’s already rolling up a bit, then it’s going to work (watch me cut up a pair of leggings here). Still not sure if it’s a good knit? Cut a piece off and try tugging on it. Try using a stretchy soft t-shirt (not the cheap “free t-shirt” stuff you might have from an event). Or use a pair of worn out leggings (the Cat and Jack ones from Target work GREAT). Watch more in my detailed video here.
WHAT IF DON’T HAVE KNIT FABRIC? You can make ties out of cotton fabric too! Check out my easy BIAS TAPE video here. And if you don’t have a little bias tape maker, no worries! Just fold it over by hand. Or use quilt binding, or make faux “bias tape” by cutting a 2 inch wide strip, pressing the sides over a 1/2 inch, and then fold the whole thing in half and press together. It will not be true bias tape (and won’t “stretch” as much) but will work.
WHY DO YOU SEW PLEATS? The pleats allow the mask to expand and shape around your face.
CAN THIS GO OVER AN N95 MASK? Yes, this mask style works very well over an N95 mask (or similar grade).
CAN YOU ADD A BENDABLE NOSE PIECE? Yes. To make the mask mold around your nose better, you may insert a pipe cleaner, floral wire, twist tie, or small piece of flat bendable metal to the top inside of the mask before forming the pleats. Topstitch next to it to hold it in place. OR, you may sew a small piece of bias tape to the outside of the mask — insert the metal piece into the bias tape instead so that it can be removed before washing.
—more FAQs below the photos—-
CAN YOU INSERT A FILTER? Yes. This mask is designed with an opening at the bottom edge, so an additional piece/layer of filtering material can be inserted. Ideally, after each use you would wash the fabric mask, dispose of the filter, and insert a new filter for the next use.
HOW DO YOU FINISH OFF THE OPENING? I am just doing a quick topstitch on the two opening areas. It’s not polished, but it works. I do this when the mask is flat, before pleating.
WHAT DO I USE FOR A FILTER? In a medical setting, a paper-like fabric called “surgical drape” works well. It is papery on one side, and has a slight plastic film on the other side. It’s lightweight enough to breath through, but adds a barrier to help keep moisture from coming in or out of the mask. I’m not sure if this fabric is available currently online, in light of the pandemic. People have mentioned “shop towels” to use for a filter layer or non-woven interfacing. If you are using interfacing, I would NOT fuse it to the fabric, but just cut it to be inserted as the disposable filter between washings. Some even just use an additional layer of fabric in lieu of another option. Please Note: I have not tried all these options. This is just info I have heard from others.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A FILTER TO GO IN THE MASK? Cut a piece that is about 7 x 4 inches (for the adult size mask in this pattern). Fold it in half lengthwise, and trim the ends so they angle and curve in (very approximate)–see my photo below. Basically, make it look like the shape of the mask when it’s open.
HOW DO YOU WASH THE MASK? Wash the mask in a washing machine, and then dry. If you have worn your mask to the grocery store, I would take the take the mask off when you get to your car. Place it in a bag, so you are not spreading germs into your car. When you arrive home, wash the mask. Here’s a great idea for a bag…
SHOULD I PLACE THE MASK IN A FABRIC BAG? To make washing easy, one option is to place the mask in the fabric bag or pillowcase after wearing it, and throw the whole bag in the washing machine. I have a video for making a simple drawstring bag here.
FABRIC BAG FOR SCRUBS You can use a fabric bag or pillowcase to place scrubs and other worn items in, before entering the car or a home. Throw the whole bag and included items in the washing machine together. I have a video for making a simple drawstring bag here.
CAN I MAKE HEADBANDS WITH BUTTONS FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS? (to help secure masks with elastic around the ears, for ear fatigue?) Yes. I have a simple knit fabric headband video here.
WHERE DO I SEND MASKS? I’ve opened up a Virtual Bulletin Board to help connect makers with those needing a mask. You can find that on my Instagram post here. I recommend making masks for family, friends, grocery store workers, postal workers, and asking around in your community to see who is in need. Call a local hospital, ask friends who work in the medical community. And search online. There are tons of groups who have organized ways to give masks. Please check with a donation center before sewing large quantities of masks, to confirm they will accept your style of mask. They may have specifics about the style of mask they prefer.
SHOULD I ADDED A PRINTED LIST OF INFO, WHEN GIVING MASKS TO OTHERS? That’s a helpful idea. It’s easy to type up a small piece of paper with “mask info” to give along with a mask (rather than having to text or email that info to each person). You can write in your own words, but some topics I’ve included in my printable: • Please wash this mask before using it • To put the mask on… • To take the mask off… • How to wash the mask • Links to the research articles on homemade masks. You can refer to my info at the beginning of this post.
I WANT TO MAKE A MASK WITH ELASTIC BEHIND THE HEAD? WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT INFO? I first made my masks with elastic behind the head, and you can definitely do that. As elastic became scarce for most people, I switched to using fabric ties, which is why all my info here is pointed at that method. I actually prefer ties now, to elastic. If you would like to use elastic behind the head, I used these sizes (the elastics are two different lengths for the Top and Bottom elastics. Just play with the sizes till they fit you just right): 14- Adults: Top Elastic – 13 inches, Bottom Elastic – 11 inches 9-13 years: Top Elastic – 11 inches, Bottom Elastic – 9 inches * 5-8 years: Top Elastic – 10 inches, Bottom Elastic – 8 inches * Toddler: Top Elastic – 10 inches, Bottom Elastic – 8 inches * I have not tried all these elastic lengths out on the child sizes, so please play with them till they fit your child correctly. If you have made these sizes, please let me know and I will updated this info. Thanks!
This is a Mask with Elastic behind the head:
DISCLAIMERS I am not a medical expert. These are not meant to replace real medical supplies nor the N95 masks that are used in medical settings. I have read that doctors and other medical staff need extra supplies and masks. They’ve said that fabric masks can be used over the top of an N95 mask, so that N95 masks can be worn for a longer period of time. Or these masks can be used in situations where a simple surgical mask is typically worn, to reserve other masks for COVID-19 medical staff.
Be safe and healthy, friends!
WARNING: This is an educational tutorial only. This tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom is intended to be used for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used to create a medical or similar device. This tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom is not intended, nor has it been tested, to reduce or eliminate the transmission of any respiratory or airborne pathogen, allergen, or any type of particle or droplet, and on that basis, should not be used for any such purpose. Dana Made, Inc., MADEEVERYDAY.com and Dana Willard make no warranties express or implied, that this tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom is intended, or is suitable for use to reduce or eliminate the transmission of any respiratory or airborne pathogen, allergen, or any type of particle or droplet. Any user of this tutorial, design, or any product created therefrom for anything other than educational purposes assumes the risk of serious injury or death. For information on how to reduce the transmission of pathogens, please consult a qualified and competent health care professional.