"While homemade masks are not as effective as surgical masks or N95 masks, they are absolutely helpful in this time with the major shortage going on," Dr. Shawn Nasseri said. "They help keep the area clean and clear, so it is better than wearing nothing."
You can make a homemade mask regardless of whether you're able to sew. Many items you have around the house can filter air particles and might reduce your exposure to the virus. Nasseri said layers are key to making an effective mask. It's also important that the mask forms a snug seal over the mouth and nose so that particles can't get in through gaps. "Masks with a silky outer layer (if possible), middle layer of a thick, tightly woven material like nylon or cotton, and then a comfortable cotton on the inside are ideal," he said.
What fabric should I use?
The best fabric for homemade masks is a tightly woven, 100% cotton fabric. Things like denim, bed sheets, and heavyweight shirts are all good options. Avoid knit fabrics (e.g. jersey T-shirts) because they create holes when they stretch, which the virus could get through. Make sure to prewash fabrics using hot water to kill germs and to pre-shrink the material… On top of a sewing machine and fabric, you'll need a nonwoven filter fabric to help block out particles and a metal piece (like a paper clip) to make it fit snugly around the nose.
Amanda Perna's step-by-step guide
Please click the link below for video tutorial from Amanda Perna, fashion designer and Project Runway alum:
Here is Amanda's step-by-step guide to sewing medical face masks, including a template you can print at home:
- Print pattern
- Cut pattern out
- Use pattern to cut 2 cotton fabric pieces
- Use pattern to cut 2 interfacing pieces (MUST be nonwoven)
- Place cut fabric with front sides together
- Place both layers of the interfacing together on top of fabric (on the back side of fabric)
- Sew top 9” seam (2.5-3 stitch length is best) with ¼” seam allowance
- Flip open with front side of fabric up
- Press seam flat to one side
- Insert metal piece along seam between the 2 pieces of fabric
- Stitch ½” rectangle that is indicated at top of pattern (with wrong sides together) to secure metal piece
- Flip back to right sides together, stitch bottom 9” seam
- Flip back to right side out and press bottom seam
- Use pattern to help mark pleats. Pleat the 3 pleats all in the same direction, put a pin to keep them in place
- Cut binding tape at 36” per side
- Find the centre point of the binding and the centre point of the mask and pin the binding on the mask with the mask sandwiched between the binding
- Sew binding
- Repeat on the other side of the mask
- Press pleats
- Finally, pat yourself on the back, because you are making a difference!
Another method for 2 different styles of face mask with pattern from Treasurie that are easier:
Fu Face Mask Pattern
- Step 1: Join centre seam Join the curved seam that is centre of our mask by placing the good sides together and sewing them in place. Repeat this step for both the outer (main) fabric, and the inner (lining) fabric.
- Step 2 (optional): Press the centre seam This step has no functional value, it will only make your mask look better. So if you’re not too bothered about that, feel free to skip it. Press the seam allowance on the centre seam open so the seam lies nice and flat. As this is a curved seam, it won’t lay flat. But you can approach it with your iron from one side, then do the second half from the other side. Alternatively, you can use a tailor’s hem or cushion to press. Repeat this step for both the outer (main) fabric, and the inner (lining) fabric.
- Step 3: Sew the outer to the inner fabric and attach ribbons
Now we will sew the inner (lining) fabric to the outer (main) fabric, and attach the ribbons all in one step.
- Place your lining fabric down with the good side up.
- Then, place two ribbons on the corners of one side (right in our example) so that they peak out just a bit from the mask, but the ribbon extends inwards.
- Now place the main fabric on top of this with the good side town. You should now have both layers of your mask on top of each other with good sides together and two ribbons sandwiched between them
- Pin through ribbons and layers to keep them in place
- Now do the same on the other side
As you get some practice, you will find you don’t need to pin this and can just insert the ribbons as you approach a corner. Now sew around the mask, making sure to leave one side open so we can turn the mask inside-out later. Be careful not to catch any of the ribbons in the seam apart from where you want them to. Either guide them through the opening you leave on one side, or bunch them up in between the masks of your layer to keep them out of the way.
- Step 4: Turn the mask inside-out Actually, your mask is inside-out now, so turning it inside out will mean we get it outside-out, or regular. Just reach in through the side your left open and carefully pull the mask through to turn it.
- Step 5 (optional): Press the mask This step has little functional value, it will only make your mask look better. So if you’re not too bothered about that, feel free to skip it. Now that the mask is as it should be, it’s time to press it. Before doing so, make sure to fold the seam allowance of the side we left open inwards, so that we press it flat as if it was sewn.
- Step 6: Close open side of the mask and edge-stitch around the edge Now it’s time to close the side of our mask the we left open to turn it inside out. We are not merely going to close the opening, but also edge-stitch around the entire mask to give our mask some extra stability, and keep the lining at the back. Make sure the open side is folded neatly inside, then edge-stitch around the entire mask.
- Step 7: Wear your mask or make a bunch
That’s it, you’re done! You can now wear your mask.
Even better, make a bunch so you can give others masks too!