DIY Face Mask for Uncertain Times

DIY Face Mask for Uncertain Times

Apr 01, 2020Ann Steeves

I don't think I need to tell you, it's pretty farking scary out there these days. The CDC is considering telling people to wear face masks  whenever outdoors, so there are a slew of how-tos for making them. Can you stand one more? Because ready or not...

The Pattern

There are lots of free patterns available on the internet. I got mine from Instructables. I like theirs because they have child, average, and large sized versions to download.

The Materials

CDC put out guidelines for DIY masks, in which they recommend using two layers of heavyweight cotton tee-shirting fabric. I used Beefy Italian Cotton Lycra Jersey in Vanilla, which appears to have sold out overnight. I have the same cotton in other colors. But you don't need to buy fabric from me to make this. If you have a tightly knitted tee shirt (Hanes Beefy Tees are similar in weight and tightness), you can cut into that.

I don't like elastic ear loops. They are uncomfortable, and they won't withstand many washings. Instead, I use cotton twill tape ties. They will stand up better to wear, and you can adjust them more easily.

The How-To

Cut four ties, each 18-20 inches.

Cut 4 mask pieces.

Sew each pair of mask pieces along the convex edge, using a ¼ inch seam. I used my serger to do this. The convex edge is the center front.

Press the seam to one side. Repeat for the other pair of mask pieces.

Pin the ties to the side edges of one mask piece, ¼ inch below the top edge and ¼ inch above the bottom edge. Baste in place.

With right sides together, sew mask pieces along all four sides, leaving an opening at the bottom and making sure to keep the ties free. 

Turn the mask right side out, and using a narrow zigzag stitch, sew the opening at the bottom edge closed. 

To wear, tie the upper ties at the back of your crown, and the lower ties behind your neck.

I made another one for my husband, who wears glasses full time. To get it to fit him a bit better, I encased a quadrupled, braided strand of floral wire in a rectangle of fabric, and sewed that along the top at the center front.

He can adjust it so it fits more comfortably under his glasses without flaring.

Now, these aren't perfect, and they won't do the same job as an N95 mask, but in these times, every bit helps, so I hope this helps you.

Stay safe, stay well, and happy sewing.

More articles